Anyone that is familiar with SharePoint would have come across this error and it can be a painful process trying to determine where the content type is being used. Most articles I have come across highlight several areas that you need to check.

  1. Document libraries / Lists (as a managed content type).
  2. Individual files using the content type.
  3. Running workflows that are based on the content type.
  4. Workflow tasks
  5. Recycle bin (you need to empty your recycle bin).

That is all well and good, but it becomes an extremely tedious task when you have several large document libraries with thousands of items.


SharePoint Manager to the rescue. You can download the program at:

It basically gives you a tree view of every item in SharePoint and allows you to drill down to the properties of individual items.

Here, you can see where a content type is being used:

  1. Run SharePoint Manager 2010
  2. Drill down to the site where your content type was created.
  3. Select your content type, expand Usages.
  4. You should now see all the locations where your content type is being used.