Crawled & Managed Properties in Modern Team Sites

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Are you adding columns in a Modern Team site in SharePoint and not seeing your crawled and managed properties generated from them? I bet you are! Read on…

I love building search-driven solutions in SharePoint and I blog about it a lot. It’s a smart, flexible, and scalable technique for surfacing content across your environment. This post is highlighting a current issue I’ve experienced with search. I’ve chosen to write this post not to discourage you from using search, but to ensure you know about the issue as well as the simple workaround until the issue can be resolved.

A little-known yet important issue exists when adding columns to Modern Team Sites if you want to use the crawled and managed properties generated from them in a search web part. The workaround for the issue was originally documented in November 2018 by Trevor Seward in a post, Crawled Properties Not Created From Site Columns in Modern Sites. Based on Trevor’s post, the fix from Microsoft Support has no current ETA and, in fact, is still outstanding as of February 2019. Due to this, I wanted to re-iterate the workaround, particularly because it has direct bearing on a recent post I published titled Expiring News across Modern SharePoint if you chose to build that solution using Option 2 and Modern Team sites instead of Modern Communication sites.

In summary, anywhere you’re wanting to use a Highlighted Content Web Part with a Managed Property filter on a Modern Team site, you will run into a behavior where the crawled and managed properties are NOT being automatically generated in either the tenant or the site collection search schemas.

What gives????

I believe this issue will eventually be resolved by the Microsoft product team, however in the meantime if you want to build a search-driven solution in Modern SharePoint on any Modern Team site, you need to use this workaround. Once the issue is resolved, I’ll delete this post.

Note: this is not an issue on a Modern Communication site. I’ve only experienced this issue in SharePoint Online on a Modern Team site.

These are the steps I normally take if I want to create a crawled and managed property:

  1. Create the list or site column on the site
  2. Add the column to a list/library
  3. Add some items to the list/library and populate the columns
  4. Ensure the item has been published if publishing is required for the item
  5. Wait for search to crawl the item and, in turn, generate the crawled and managed property in the search schema (at EITHER the tenant or site collection)
  6. [Optionally] Map the crawled property to a Refinable pre-created managed property if you want to filter/sort by the property.

You’ll be waiting a long time for them to appear on a Modern Team site… in fact, they never will!!!

The workaround?

  1. Manually add your account as a site collection administrator to the site collection you’re adding the column on. Although the Owners group will already be in the Site Collection Administrator group, this is NOT sufficient – you need to be added explicitly to the Site Collection Administrators group. By adding your account, this will be picked up in the next incremental crawl
  2. Wait for the incremental crawl process to generate the crawled/managed properties in the search schema
  3. Voila, there they are!

Note: if needed, you can request a re-index of the site if you don’t see the crawled/managed properties as expected after about an hour.

Once the crawled and managed properties are generated, you can either directly use the managed property in the Highlighted Content Web Part OR map the crawled property to a Refinable managed property and use that instead.

Once the managed and crawled properties are created and you have mapped the crawled property to a refinable managed property, you can remove yourself explicitly from the Site Collection Administrators group. Once you do however, my testing has shown you will no longer be able to see the original managed property in the search schema. If you didn’t map the crawled property to a refinable managed property, you will not see the crawled property either.

The Highlighted Content web part will continue to work however so I believe it’s just a UI visibility issue and the crawled/managed properties are in fact still there. It’s up to you whether or not you want to leave an explicit userid in the Site Collection Administrators group on a Modern Team site.

Thanks for reading.



  1. We had issues with Taxonomy fields and followed almost the exact process you specify on our Teams Sites. We went further and mapped them to Refinable strings. Search works as we would expect. Thanks for the article.

  2. Thanks Joanne, I wondered why I’ve been having to re-index some sites that are just not playing ball!! I’ll add that to my Site Admin training, Cheers.

  3. Hi Joanne, we just had this same issue but it occured on Communications site, and all of the reindexing didn’t help. We still had to wait a day for the crawled properties to get generated, which was a pain.

  4. I encountered this same issue and discovered that whatever item you add the site column to (and populate), must be PUBLISHED to be crawled and appear as a managed/crawled property. This behavior is different from in classic sites, where simply adding a value to the site column would generate the properties.

  5. What does this mean:

    “You’ll be waiting a long time for them to appear on a Modern Team site… in fact, they never will!!!”

    I have a Modern Communication Site, and a Highlighted Content WP; I have created my Managed Property from an existing RefinableStringXX with a unique alias. I have mapped the MP to my list column.

    I have added items to my list with the mapped column. I have reinexed the list.

    Now I wait for 24h MP to appear on Highligthted Content WP as a filter choice.

    Think this will work?

    1. Hi Brexit,
      Should work. My comment was specifically for a Modern Team site, not a Communication site. It should work, however you should check in the search schema to look at the managed properties and crawled properties generated for your column. By the way, last time I checked you can’t use a managed property alias in the HCWP, you need to use the RefinableStringXX property. Try testing out your search in the regular Microsoft search box for RefinableStringXX to see if it finds what you’re looking for.
      Hope that helps.

  6. This seems to have changed in modern team sites. There is no option for adding Site Collection administrators on Modern Team Sites anymore. Actually managing of permission (people and groups) on these sites seems to have been removed. I am still facing this issue and was hoping I would get the site collection administrators link so that I add myself, create the list and add content on the list then wait for crawling but this seems not to be working anymore.

    1. It will still be an option to add Site Collection Admins thru the SP Admin Center.

    2. You can also just paste the following to end of your site URL (this was for a private Group site) and you will get to the Site Collection Admins screen:


      I did it this way and, voila, the crawled properties showed up after next indexing.

  7. I am already a site collection administrator. In fact, I created the site from the Admin portal, so I got defaulted to be the SC Admin. That was weeks ago. The site columns are still not reflected in the crawled properties. Any other ideas? I performed the exact steps you listed. The items have been crawled, because they appear in regular search results, but I cannot find the crawled properties. Do I need to make someone else SC Admin??

    1. Hi Teylyn,
      Sorry, I don’t have any idea. Just this past week I created a SharePoint Communcation site and was having a similar problem whereby no crawled properties were being generated. You may want to open a ticket with Microsoft. My issue was in a demo tenant, so I just ended up provisioning a new tenant and the crawled properties were created just fine in there. I realize this isn’t a resolution if you’re working in your live tenant though. Can’t explain it.

  8. Not sure if this is the whole story – I have a team site that finds the crawled property whether I’m site coll admin or not – but the managed property it’s mapped to doesn’t show in the highlighted content or any other search web part. So why aren’t mapped managed properties available in team sites? Works fine in communications sites.

    1. Hi webbrewers, Microsoft is currently looking into some anomalies around team sites and the cp/mp that are generated/shown in the search schema UI.
      I’ll update this post when I know something definitive.

    1. Hi Pablo,
      Yes they are. Important to know that regardless of the data type chosen for your calculated column, they are only “mappable” to a text managed property because they are all stored as text in the search index. (For example, a calculated column of type text will be stored as string;somevalue in the search index, a calculated column of type datetime will be stored as date;2022-02-11T08:00:00Z (or something like that… anyway, it’s not a date, it’s a string)
      Hope that answered your question

  9. How can i optimize my “find a file” searchbox in the document libraries, can you give me tips on how to manage the list columns into crawled/managed property in order for my search to be reliable? i have some lookup columns in my doclib. Can I also set priority on which file to be displayed first on the view based on the search?

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