Summit 7 Team Blogs

I Missed Lunch for a Hidden Feature?

So, I’m no developer by heart, and by trade I wouldn’t say I had a strong desire for it either, but I have my moments of brilliance.  Then there are times when I run into something with SharePoint that truly makes me wonder about my life, but for the most part I’m content with bending it under my control.  I’m very tempted to jump on a soap box and tell you why I think hidden features are bad, but the truth is that they are good when used correctly.   What I discovered in the process of this was: “Don’t start something you think is simple right before lunch, if you are remotely passionate about finishing what you start”. Though I don’t completely understand every use case for hidden features, I was not expecting a hidden feature to take so much of my lunch time.  Keep reading to find out what happened...

Was my problem really SharePoint?

I was working on a SharePoint farm building out a Content Type Hub as I’ve always done; and it’s usually as easy as:

  • Create new site collection using a managed path
  • Create new site using the blank site template
  • Activate the content type hub syndication feature in the site collection features list
  • Create my site columns and content types as needed


I’ve done this plenty of times before so this definitely started out routine.  It was 11:05am and I thought, let me get one site column published and I’ll finish the rest when I get back.  So I created the Site Collection, and used PowerShell to connect it to a separate Content Database.  Then I enabled the Site Collection Feature for the Content Type Hub.  When I went to create a new site column based on a managed term, I got this nice error from SharePoint: “The Required feature is not enabled for this column type.



My personal snickers moment

Grumpy Cat - Eat a SnickersWhy? Really? Since When? Okay I may have been acting melodramatic, but that’s the feeling I get when SharePoint does something unexpected.  After all, I was aiming to create a single site column to give myself a head start for when I returned from lunch and it was now 11:18am.  What I have discovered from working with SharePoint Admins over the years is that it’s really important to understand some foundational things about SharePoint when working with it.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the infamous stories of people spending hours on end, searching through blogs and forums for a really simple answer.  This is one of those moments, where to an unfamiliar user searching may be the only option.  But when there isn’t much out there on errors like this, it can be even more frustrating.  For this error the solution was rather simple.  You may be thinking you can fix it by going to Site Actions > Site Settings > Site Collection Features, but what feature am I really looking for?  There are lots of them, but none listed in SP2010 will activate site columns or the taxonomy settings for a column.  Arrgghh… the joys of SharePoint right?  Hopefully the next section brings all of this into perspective for you and shows how I really lost my lunch.

The reason for the problem

One of the foundational factors of SharePoint is that things are done for a reason, like building blocks.  Yea, that’s pretty obvious, but let’s apply that to this scenario which has now crept into my lunch time.  I know that when using a Blank Site Template in SharePoint, SharePoint will not activate or provision the standard features that I expect to see when using a Team Site or Wiki Site.  This is perfectly normal and to be expected because each site template does something unique and requires different features be activated.  So with that in mind, I digress from my need of a snickers (click here if you didn’t get the reference) even though it was going on 11:25am.  I still didn’t have the feature enabled, nor the site column created, and my stomach seemed to be touching my back.  So what was really causing my feature to not be enabled?

The first clue I will offer is that I used a Blank Site Template.  Whenever I used a Team Site Template, I don’t get that error.  So checking for the differences between the two would be a good way to ensure I had the right features enabled.  I could have scratched the Site Collection and started over, but that would be the easy way out.  I quickly opened up Google to find the list of features dealing with metadata columns and discovered that the message is displayed because, “the hidden feature TaxonomyFieldAdded is not activated for site collections created from the Blank Site template.”  Well it wasn’t exactly written that way, but I wish everything was explained somewhat simpler in regards to SharePoint.

My long awaited resolution

I opened SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, and typed in the following command to enable my much needed feature.  Within 10 seconds the feature was enabled on the site collection and I was good to go.  After confirming that it provisioned the correct attribute so I could create a site column with a metadata term, I figured why not write this up since it was now 11:40am and my lunch was basically over.  I had some crackers which would have to do for today, and now I have this blog that would hopefully save someone else from that dilemma. Sad I know, but in case you were wondering, here is the command I used:

"Enable-SPFeature -Id TaxonomyFieldAdded -url (SiteUrl)"


Once you run that command, go back to your Site Column page and hit F5 or refresh and it should show the Managed Metadata Service as below.

My Hidden Tip

For anyone not wanting to use PowerShell to build a Content Type Hub, start off with the Team Site template as a basis for the Content Type Hub.  If you are using Office 365, PowerShell functionality is greatly limited there, so the Team Template may be a good approach.  This will give you the necessary features you need for the Content Type Hub without having to do any editing or enabling via PowerShell.  If you feel you do not need certain features automatically enabled with the Team Site Template, simply delete or disable them from the Site Collection Feature List.


My conclusion and thought for the day

    1. Be smart about how you work.  If you know you need to take a break, take it.  You’re no good burned out.
      1. Use the right templates, features and functionality whenever possible in SharePoint.  It will save you a lot of time and effort redoing things later on.
        1. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.  If you don’t have anyone around, email me or better yet reply to this blog.  I don’t know all the answers, but I’m good and finding them.

Below are links to two listings for site features, should you need anything else enabled from SharePoint:


Thanks for reading this and leave a comment below about your experiences with hidden features.


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