Managing “User property fields” in SharePoint 2013

Managing “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 etc.…) in the user property fields. It was just blank and it failed to write the information from FIM to the SharePoint user profile .This article describes the steps which we performed in our Q & A environment to overcome this issue.

Issue Description:

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

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 Root cause:

The root cause of this was nothing else but the default character limit which was specified for these “User property fields” was not adequate enough and hence FIM failed to write these 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 less in length it didn’t display the values in the user property fields.

 “User property field” character length comparison :

Before Increasing the Character length   After increasing the character length
Address–> 25 characters Address–> 100 characters
City–> 25 characters City–> 100 characters
Company–>100 Company–>100
Department–>250 Department–>250
Office–>250 Office–>250
Title–>150 Title–>150
First Name–>250 First Name–>250
Last Name–>250 Last Name–>250
SPS-Location–>25 SPS-Location–>25

 

*We changed the character length of the all the user properties less than 100 to 100.

 

Resolution:

We went ahead and increased the character length of these user properties in the SharePoint User Profile Service application so that FIM starts to write the values to the SharePoint user profile. Now the catch here is, we can’t edit the property in the user profile as the length setting is greyed out and it cannot be changed. So the only way to change 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:

  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. Click on the drop down arrow on the property which you want to delete and click on “delete”

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  1. This would delete the user property and now you can go ahead and create a new property by clicking on “Create new property” option.
  2. Specify the “Name”, “display name” and length for the new property as shown below.

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9. Specify the privacy settings for this property here.

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10. Specify the display settings for this property here.

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  1. Once done, click on “Ok” and this will create the new user property for you.
  2. Once the next sync job completes it will start displaying the values in these fields as shown in the image below.

Observations:

       After completing this activity the SharePoint user profile started to display the values correctly in the User property fields and after making this change we were able to notice 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 got added to the last.

However, this change didn’t have any impact on the “Contact” section which is displayed on the user’s “My site” .The user property fields ordering didn’t change there as that’s a BR custom code which is taking  care of the ordering .

On the other hand the other lesson learnt was, we can’t delete the “SPS-Location” user property to recreate it. The reason for this is, it’s a default property and is checked on rendering the “My Profile” page .If this property does not exist, the page will fail and throw an error stating that the property is missing. To know more about this, check this article.

Updating the user property fields in Danaher Connect:

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.

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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 DEV farm by deleting and recreating the “user property fields” as that’s the only option to increase the character length.

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