Document Conversion Service doesn't map column data – Part I

(For the purposes of this post, I’ll use Pages with a capital P to mean items in SharePoint of a Page content type, or a child content type of Page. I’ll also refer to all content types in italics)

One of our customers wants to author their Pages in SharePoint in Word. Sounds like a case for the Document Conversion Service – author the content in Word, and then convert the Document to a Page. There is a catch though – they’re wanting to capture some meta-data about the document too, such as business unit, review date, department that ‘owns’ the page, etc.. What would the Document Conversion Service do with this information? I didn’t remember seeing any way of setting up mappings between fields. Would the metadata be copied if both the Document and Page content types shared the same site column?

To find out, I did a bit of testing. Much of what I did was actually stuff like creating a new Page layout, and then customizing it. There are better articles about this that my notes, but I’ll include all the steps. (I do assume that you have the document conversion service running and enabled on your site collection though.) I did the following:

I created a new Site Column – I called it AWBText. It was just a text column.

I created a new Document content type which used that new column. I called this content type the ConvertableDocument content type:

The new Document Content Type

I then created a new Page content type. I called this the ConvertableDocumentPage content type:

Creating a new Page Content type

I made sure that that also used the AWBText column – and the out-of-box ‘Page Content’ column. This column will hold the content of the converted document. You should probably add another column for holding the style information, but I didn’t bother (‘cos I didn’t need it for the test). You could create your own, but I chose just to use the same ones as the Article Page content type – after all, the data (page content) is still the same, and this is why different content types can share the same columns.

The new Page content Type

So, now I’ve got my two content types I’m going to test with, and they both share the AWBText column. However, the ConvertableDocumentPage content type needs a page layout to, well, define how the ConvertableDocumentPage‘s content will be displayed. I cracked open SharePoint Designer, opened my site, and created a page layout:

Create a Page Layout - Step 1Create a Page Layout - Step 2

This gives you a page layout to put your content controls into. We’ve only got a couple:

Page Content Controls

I created a page layout. Here’s the code and how it looked in SharePoint designer:

New Page Layout - CodeNew Page Layout - Design

As you can see, I’m displaying my AWBText field at the top, with the converted content from our converted ConvertableDocument below. Both fields also have labels. I published and approved the layout.

Next, I set up a template Word document – I went to the ConvertableDocument content type’s advanced settings, and edited the template.

Content Type - Advanced Settings

I then just saved the template without making any changes – I’ve found that you need to do this to get the Document information panel to work correctly.

Next up, I set up the document conversion through ConvertableDocument content type’s settings:

Manage Document Conversions - Step 1Manage Document Conversions - Step 2

Then the complex form of the conversion setup:

Manage Document Conversions - Step 3

Take a moment to look at that form. I’ve defined that I want to convert my ConvertableDocument to a page layout of ConvertableDocumentPageLayout – which implies a content type of ConvertablePageLayout. I’m putting the content of the converted content into the Page Content column, and removing any styles (because, as mentioned above, I don’t have a suitable column to put the style information into). Note that there are no settings for other data mappings – no columns of the document to columns of the page mapping.

I saved these settings, added my ConvertableDocument type to a Document Library, and added my ConvertableDocumentPage type to the ‘Pages Library’. Then I created an example document. Note the Document Information Panel at the top shows my AWBText column (and the Title column), and I’ve put in some text.

Example document for Document conversion

I saved this, and in the document library I chose to convert the document to a web page:

Convert a Document - Step 1Convert a Document - Step 2

This resulted in a page that looked like:

Converted Document - No AWBText value

And the document library looked like:

Converted Document in document library - No AWBText value

So, as we can see, the AWBText column has not been copied across, even though it is the same column. During the configuration process, there was no option to configure mapping of fields. It looks like the Document Conversion Service doesn’t map column data. In Part II, I’ll look at some options.

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Document Conversion Service doesn't map column data – Part I

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