Managing “User Property Fields” in SharePoint 2013

In this article you will learn how to manage user property fields in SharePoint 2013.

We happened to work on a project where we were supposed to fix the FIM sync errors related to “user property fields” in our SharePoint farms. The user property fields in the SharePoint user profile were not displaying the values properly and as a result of that we were not able to see the details (i.e. City, Address, Location, State, etc.…) in the user property fields. It was just blank and it failed to write the information from FIM to the the SharePoint user profile. This document describes the steps which we performed in our DEV farm to overcome this issue.

Note:

If you ever get into scenario where you’re supposed to build a new SharePoint farm identical to your current farm, please make sure that these changes are made in the “Manage user property fields” section.

Issue Description:

SharePoint user profiles were not displaying the user’s details such as City, Address, Location, etc. … in their profile and it just remained blank as show in the image below.

issue

Root cause:

The root cause of this was nothing else but the default character limit which was specified, for these “User property fields” were not adequate and hence FIM failed to write this information to the SharePoint user profile. Basically, in our environment FIM does the job of creating user profiles by retrieving the user’s information from Active Directory and it pushes the user profile to SharePoint. Since the supported character length of these user properties was shorter in length it didn’t display the values in the user property fields.

“User property field” character length comparison in SharePoint 2013 DEV farm:  

Before Increasing the Character lengthAfter increasing the character length
Address--> 25 charactersAddress--> 100 characters( changed)
City--> 25 charactersCity--> 100 characters(changed)
Company-->25Company-->100(changed)
Department-->250Department-->250
Office-->250Office-->250
Title-->150Title-->150
First Name-->250First Name-->250
Last Name-->250Last Name-->250
SPS-Location-->25SPS-Location-->25 ( can’t be changed)
State --> 25State-- > 100 (changed)

We changed the character length of the “Address,”  “City,” “Company,” and ”State” from 25 to 100 as the main goal of this project was to increase the character length of those user properties which are less than 100 to 100. However, we were not able to change the character length of the “SPS-Location” user property field as it’s a default user property and is checked on rendering the “My Profile” page. If this property does not exist, the page will fail throwing the error that the property is missing.

Resolution:

We worked with our FIM engineer to fix this issue and as per his advice we went ahead and increased the character length of these user properties (i.e. Address, City, Company & State) in the SharePoint User Profile Service application so that FIM starts to write the values to the SharePoint user profiles. Now the catch here is, we won’t be able to edit the property in the user profile service application using the edit option as the “length” setting is grayed out and it cannot be changed. So the only way to change/increase the length is to go ahead and delete the property completely and recreate it by increasing the character length to suit your needs.

Steps performed to implement this change:

I’m considering the “City” user property as an example here and have illustrated the steps to be performed to delete and recreate this property. The same steps has to be followed for other user property fields as well ( i.e. Address, State & Company, etc.)

  1. Open the Central admin with your farm admin account.

  2. Navigate to the Manage service applications option and click on User Profile sync service.

  3. Once you click on the “User profile sync service “click on the “Manage” button in the top ribbon.

  4. This should take you to the “Manage Profile service” UI and then click on ‘Manage User properties” under “People” section.

  5. This would display the list all the user properties in your SharePoint farm.

  6. Now let’s take a look on how to delete and recreate the “City” user property field. As shown in the image below search for the “City” field and click on the dropdown. This will display two options (1. Edit and 2. Delete). Please click on delete to delete the property.

    property

  7. This would delete the user property and now you can go ahead and create a new property by clicking on “New property” option.

    new

  8. Specify the “Name,” “Display name” and “Length” for the new property as shown below in the “Property settings” section. Since I’m creating the “City” user property I’m going to name it as “City" and set the display name as “City.” The character length of this property is set to 100.

    setting

  9. Specify the “User description” for this property in the “User Description” box shown below. This will provide some information to the users about this property. However, please not that this is optional and I’m not going to specify any description here. The name “City” is pretty explanatory and doesn’t need any explanation.

    description

  10. Next specify the policy setting & privacy setting for this property in the “policy setting” section. I’m specifying the “policy setting” as required and the“privacy setting” as “Everyone” here,

    setting

  11. Next specify the “Edit settings” for this property in the next section. Since this allows a user with manage profile permission to edit any property value for any user I’m going to make this as “Do not allow” as shown in the image below .

    edit

  12. Next specify the display settings for this property in the “Display settings” section. Check the options as per your requirement. Here I’m checking both the boxes.

    display

  13. Next specify the “Search settings” for this property in the search settings section as shown in the image below. I’m checking the “indexed” option for this property so that this property will be displayed in the search result on a user’s profile.

    search

  14. The “Property Mapping for Synchronization” section will be left as it as in our environment.

    property

  15. Finally in the “Add new mapping” section, please don’t make any external connection unless this property is querying some external resource to display the information. Since the “City” user property is not looking for any external ‘Business Date Connectivity “source to pull the information I’m not going to add any connection and will leave this section as it is.

    add new

  16. Once done making all these changes, please verify the changes made in all the sections and then click on “Ok” and this will create the new user property.

  17. Once the next sync job completes it will start displaying the values in these fields as shown in the image below.

    values

    • You can see the “City ” user property displaying the value now as Beaverton.

Observations:

After completing this activity the SharePoint user profile started to display the values correctly in the User property fields and we also noticed some change in the ordering of the user properties in the SharePoint profile page UI. So basically what happened was, it changed the order of these properties in the profile page UI so that the recently created new user properties were added to the last.

Updating the user property fields in SharePoint 2013:

As shown in the following illustration, user profiles can be composed of properties that are imported from a directory service, imported from business systems, and supplied by users.

property

For example, a directory service could supply important information that is needed across the organization, such as users' account names, work telephone numbers, titles, and work e-mail addresses. Business systems could supply business-related information, such as the customer accounts or product lines managed by each team member. Users could supply supplemental information about themselves, such as their areas of expertise or hobbies.

Conclusion:

We were finally able to get this issue fixed in our environment by deleting and recreating the “User property fields” as that’s the only option to increase the character length.

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