Localization and multilingual environments in SharePoint are an endless source of interesting issues and blog post topics. In one case, we had a tenant created originally in English, and a site collection created in Finnish. In this particular case, SharePoint somehow messed up the language settings, and ended up requiring the use of localized managed properties on the search center of that site collection. That ended up being unexpected, unituitive and unusable for the end-users.
Description of the issue
Typically, when you use SharePoint Search, you can use managed properties to search for values in certain fields or columns of any items in the index. Our particular use case involved searching SharePoint’s people results for users of certain departments.
“Department” is a managed property on its own, and gets info from – surprise, surprise – a field called “Department” in the user profile service in SharePoint Online. In our case, the Search service API returned results with “Department:HR”, but search center did not.
After a lot of playing around, it turned out the search center required us to use localized versions of the names of managed properties. In this particular case, search required the Finnish name (“Osasto”) for the property. Before this, I didn’t even know that was a thing! In all of the installations I’ve seen, the plain English internal names of the managed properties worked just fine – so, in this case, “Department”. Continue reading