SharePoint: Search for People using Properties (LastName:smith)


The typical SharePoint end user knows less than 1% of the SharePoint Search feature set. In other words, they know how to do a Google search. They just type a word or two, press Enter and hope for the best. Just think what they could do if they just knew a few search properties!

You can really improve search results by adding a Search Administrator to your team and letting them invest an hour or three a week in improving the end-user search experience. Train your end users, add tips to your search pages, create cheat sheets - there’s lots of options.

Just adding a few search tips to the search pages will do wonders:


So, let’s take a look at how users can do a better People search…


Searching for People

Let’s say I do a search for people using the keyword “training”. I could find people in the Training department, people with the word “training” in About Me, and even people with the last name of “Training”. If you would like to focus your search then you can use the predefined search Managed Properties. For example:


While a few of the properties can be used with the equals operator (“=”), most will only return results with the contains operator (“:”). For example, searching for a work phone number using “=” returns nothing. Using “:” will return the person with that number.



Managed Properties for People Searches

Most of the User Profile properties are searchable in a People search by just typing a keyword in the search box. You can also perform a People search using some of the out of the box Managed Metadata properties that are linked to the User Profile Services properties. In the table below you will find most of the User Profile properties along with the matching search Managed Property names. A few of the properties below have obvious names. A few are wrapped up in a single search property named “ContentHidded”. Some are “indexed” (crawled), but do not have the needed matching Managed Property. For most of those that do not have a matching Managed Property you can manually add a property to the search schema.

I will follow up with an article on adding the missing search Managed Properties.

Property for search

Property name found in the user’s profile


AccountName Account Name Example: accountname:contoso\samc
AboutMe About Me  
Interests Interests  
Responsibility Ask Me About  
FirstName First name  
LastName Last name  
PreferredName Name This is the full name. “Mike Smith”
WorkPhone Work Phone To find all users in the same area code or a partial number, use wild cards: workphone=513*
JobTitle Title  
WorkEmail Work Email  
MobilePhone Mobile phone  
  Home phone Mapped to ContentsHidden. Can be mapped to a new Managed Property.
  Fax Not mapped, but can be. (People:Fax)
Department Department This is a String property. This department maps to “Department”
  Department This is a Managed Metadata property. Not mapped, but can be. (People:SPS-Department)
Schools Schools  
If you see this list anywhere but on TechTrainingNotes.blogspot.com, then it was “stolen” and used without permission.
OfficeNumber Office Generally used for “room number”.
BaseOfficeLocation Office Location  
PastProjects Past Project  
Skills Skills  
  Manager Not mapped, but can be. (People:Manager) (returned as domain\username)
  Assistant Not mapped, but can be. (People:Manager) (returned as domain\username)
  Birthday Not mapped, but can be. (People:Birthday) (returned as “2000-03-01T00:00:00.0000000Z”)  All birthdays are set for year 2000.
  Hire Date Not mapped, but can be. (People:SPS-HireDate)
ContentsHidden (many)

This maps to several crawled properties as a single merged property:




Unknown said...

I would just send you an e-mail but the title of this article misspelled "Properties." I am trying to figure out how to search and prevent searching within documents (e.g. just filenames or titles). Any help appreciated as I am tired of looking for it :)

Mike Smith said...

Thanks for the catch. The new version of my blog editor does not spellcheck in the version of Windows that I'm using. I usually copy and paste the text into another editor for spellchecking, but that does not get the article title. In any case... fixed!

Your search question is a common one in the forums, with no ideal answer, and varies by version. Let me know which version and edition of SharePoint you are using.


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