SharePoint 2010 Web Parts and Malformed Reusable Content Error in Event Viewer

On my last SharePoint 2010 project (building a public-facing website) I saw that the event log was getting deluged with errors with an Event ID 5548 from the Web Content Management source in the Publishing task category. The detailed event message was:

Event ID 5548
A malformed reusable content HTML fragment was found: A placeholder was found within the HTML Content but there is no ID Section header at the beginning of the HTML.

Although the site was up and running and there was no noticeable impact on the end user, these events were disturbing. Perhaps they indicated something deeper was wrong with the structure of solution?

Deciding to dig into this a little deeper, I was able to trace what was triggering the event by using the brilliant ULS Viewer. By following the logs I was able to narrow down that this was occurring only on a specific page of the site and which elements seemed to be causing the problem.

The root cause turned out to be a couple of web parts added in rich text fields. (The web parts were a Content Query Web Part and a Summary Links Web Part – however I think this could have been caused by any web parts). The web parts were functioning as expected and displaying the correct content and so there was nothing** to necessarily indicate that they were causing me a problem. However by simply exporting/ deleting and then re-importing the web part the errors in the event log disappeared!

**That being said I have seen some pretty strange behaviour with web parts added to rich text fields. Unlike SharePoint 2007 web parts now no longer need be added explicitly to a predefined web part zone and can be added into a rich text field amongst regular rich text. This seems to work absolutely fine the majority of times but on a few occasions I’ve seen behaviour such as the web part chrome (border) and toolbar being displayed when not set to display, and in a worst case scenario the whole web part is greyed out in edit mode and it is impossible to edit the web part properties! In these cases I find it best to either delete the web part by jumping into the html view of the rich text field, or to restore an earlier version of the page before this occurred.

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8 comments to SharePoint 2010 Web Parts and Malformed Reusable Content Error in Event Viewer

  • Jules

    We too have noticed this effect and as we are rolling up content from all over our site into various landing pages, it was rather disturbing to see these errors in the log files. We too have exported out the webparts and re-imported these; however after the page gets edited a few times these then again become ‘corrupted’ and the error messages start appearing again. I have also noticed that at these times the richtext field is rendering out the html from the webpart output rather than the control. Is this something we will have to put up with or is it a ‘feature’ to be fixed!?

  • Hi Jules – in a way I’m glad that you too have experienced the same problems we had, as it confirms that it wasn’t just something wrong with our deployment! I’m not sure if it is something that will be addressed in the future as, from the perspective of ‘regular’ users, it doesn’t appear to impact them too heavily. It also feels like it may be a pretty fundamental issue with the way web parts are being displayed in rich text fields – and so a hotfix may not be enough to address it.

    For now, my advice is to only use web parts in rich text zones if you really have too, and if possible, stick to using web parts in web part zones. I’d be interested in if you have come to a similar conclusion? Hope that helps.

  • Martin

    Hi Jules and Glyn

    We see the exact same behaviour on our portal. I guess this is something that Microsoft will need to fix (somehow). We also solved it by placing all web parts in web part zones.

  • Vicki

    I have run into this same problem. It was also caused by a web part in a rich text field.
    Thanks for the article. I was able to identify the problem page very quickly.

  • I’ve also experienced inconsistencies with web parts in rich text fields, its semi-comforting to know I wasn’t seeing something isolated.

    I’ve been taking the zone only approach, I might look into seeing if the ‘page content’ field can be configured to prevent web parts being added until theres some sort of fix, it could get pretty messy otherwise, if I find anything out i’ll come back and post.

    Thanks for the post Glyn

  • And what do you know on my next google search found a comprehensive post by Waldek Mastykarz

  • Always nice to see a familiar face when looking for resolutions.

    We’ve got this issue on our environment and the error message isnt exactly helpful in identifying which page this is happening on – especially with 1,600 pages present!

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