In this blog post I am going to show how to use an alternate rendering mechanism to render Managed Metadata Fields which allows them to behave like standard Choice Fields.
A Brief Background
Managed Metadata fields are a really cool feature of SharePoint 2010. They allow an administrator to configure a field in SharePoint to source its values from one or more terms within a term set. Terms can be used in a number of ways such as tagging and in fields within lists and libraries. I have had several of my customers want to move away from using Choice based fields for some of their content types to Managed Metadata fields however the editing experience changes. Choice fields usually render as either a dropdown list or in the case of where multi values are a set of checkboxes for each potential choice value. Managed Metadata Field editing is done with a single textbox which leverages AJAX to implement type ahead auto population. As a result a user can start typing part of the name of a term and a list will pop within the UI to help filter the choice of terms. There is also a button next to the textbox which allows the user to popup a modal dialog that displays the choice of terms. As you can probably tell by this description the user experience can be quite different when moving from a SharePoint Choice Field to a Managed Metadata Field and users will most likely find this move at least a little confusing.