SharePoint 2013 Search: Add User Profile Properties to the Full Text Index

We would like to allow users to search on values stored against user profiles without needing to use an explicit managed property search, i.e. they just want to type in the keyword and have the relevant people returned. Pretty much the problem as stated in this SharePoint.StackExchange post.

Matthew McDermott’s great blog post provides an approach to this problem for SharePoint 2010, http://www.ableblue.com/blog/archive/2011/03/15/sharepoint-people-search-and-alias-fields/. I’d encourage you to read that, don’t worry, this post will wait for you.

OK, make sense? Just set the ‘Alias’ flag against the User Profile Property, create a new Managed Property and map into RankingWeightName and you’re done once a full crawl is completed.

However the fix that Matthew proposes treats the new property as an analog of the name field, thus documents can appear to be authored by entries in this field. Sure for some scenarios this is exactly what you want, but it might not be, in my case this is a behaviour I want to avoid.

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I want to add something that is a match across a number of people in your environment, say Office Location, Business Division, Job Title or any other property which shouldn’t really be an alias.

So, how do I get the behaviour I want?

There is now some additional settings against the managed properties in SharePoint 2013 which allows you to associate the managed property with a specific full text index! Turns out that a simple change to these settings is all I need to achieve my desired outcome.

Locate the managed property that you want to search within in your search service application and edit it. Scroll down and locate the Searchable checkbox. Now to my thinking all you should have to do is check this box and you’re good, the guide text even makes it look like this is the case by referring to a metadata field which is relevant to people. This isn’t the case, as this is a property related to people you need to do a bit more.

Check the Searchable box and click on the Advanced Searchable Settings button.

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This launches a dialog, now simply switch the Full-text index drop-down to use the PeopleIdx:

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Remember to  click OK in both the dialog and edit page to save your changes, jump over to the content source which contains your people source and run a full crawl. The content source you’re after will contain a start address which uses the sps3 or sps3s protocol if you’re not sure which one it is.

Once this is done crawling you should now be able to search for people using category searches and not needing to specify the managed property you’re searching within.

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9 Responses to SharePoint 2013 Search: Add User Profile Properties to the Full Text Index

  1. Geert says:

    Hello there, i have a related question to this: i would like to return list items where i have a user reference in a ‘People column’. Do you think it would be possible to retrieve list items by querying a specific user profile property? As i see you use it just to engage a people search, i am configuring the search now to obtain list items. Or do you have other suggestions for what i want to achieve? thank a lot!

    • gavinbarron says:

      In this case I’d just set up a result source that targets that list via a path filter. Then add another page to your search centre that uses that result source for its queries. Good luck!

  2. geertverth says:

    Hi, i would like to achieve a similar search. Instead of retrieving people results, i would like to obtain list items related to a user property (in the list the user is in a People column). For instance: my users have the office name in their profile as a profile property. I would like to search the list items of all people having a specific profile property. Do you think it will be possible? I’m trying it now (full crawling) with your post as an example. Hope it works! Or do you have other suggestions? thanks a lot!

  3. Tolga says:

    Do you have any idea to set “Full-Text Index” Property of a managed property to “PeopleIdx” using power shell?

    This solution works for me too, however, I need to create the managed property using powershell.

    Thanks for your feedback

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