Office 365 – Crawling User Profiles in SharePoint Online

Looking at articles like Chris O’Brien’s and the answers from Microsoft I’m worrying about any search queries related to user profiles in SharePoint Online. Of course changes might take a while to come through but after 15 minutes continuous crawls should pick up changes in my data.

So I made a couple of changes at 8:02pm this evening.

  1. I changed a text fields value
  2. I changed a mapping of  3 existing RefinableString managed properties  to include People:Division, People:Facility, People:Function.
  3. I changed a value of the Division, Facility and Function taxonomy fields in my user profile.
  4. I added a new profile photo to my profile ( I noted that the edit user profile option actually doesn’t change the photoUserProfile immediately. While Delve and my photo in the right top corner do change)

I also created a page with a content search web part (using the diagnostic display template), a search box and a refinement panel.

Within the content search web part  I configured some of my fields.

At around 8:20pm I noticed that my photo had already updated. My text field and my taxonomy field however are still the same as before.

Then I waited. In general, Office 365 matches default settings of on-premises settings. So a continuous crawl should happen after 15 minutes. I’m on a quiet system so there is no chance that my search is overloaded.

I wish that user profiles had the same option as lists and libraries to re-index during the next crawl:


While I’m waiting, I’m thinking about the profile image being refreshed and then I remembered the profile photos list. So that would be a URL like this:

https:/ / Photos/Profile Pictures/pieterveenstra_mytenant_onmicrosoft_com_MThumb.jpg

Ah, so the photo lives within SharePoint rather than within the user profile and therefore it is being picked up. I guess looking at the URL the actual jpg name would not have changed when I updated the photo.

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting and I’m expected to be waiting for a weekly crawl of the user profiles.

And just as I’m about to publish this article with a disappointiwaitingng feeling … My changes are coming through. it is now 8:37 pm. So that took roughly 35 minutes. But only 1 of my 3 custom properties in my user profiles had come through.

I found quite quickly that the crawled properties for two of my fields didn’t exist. So I had to randomly change my data a few times so that first the crawled property is created for my fields and then change it again so that the mapping in the mapped property takes effect.

I really wish there was this re-index user profiles button somewhere. This is making development a painful process.

If a baby can do it, then why can’t Microsoft sort out these crawls in SharePoint Online?

crawlIf you would like a re-index user profiles option then vote here on UserVoice:

2 thoughts on “Office 365 – Crawling User Profiles in SharePoint Online

    1. Hi Dimitar, indeed updating user profiles is one way to force a re-index of the user profiles. However I don’t really like to update any data in SharePoint just for search reasons.

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