Apply a Retention Label ‘x’ days after last modified

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A short and sweet post based on a customer inquiry.

A customer recently asked me this: “Is it possible to apply a retention label to content 20 days after last modified?”. Their use-case was they initially want to allow end-users to create/edit/delete documents without having any retention label applied. Only after a period of time has elapsed since the document was last modified should a retention label be applied.

The answer is yes, with some constraints. It can be done using a Keyword Query Language (KQL) query in an auto-apply retention label policy.

The constraint is this… you can’t do a specific number of days or do date math in your KQL query; however, you can use any of the supported date keywords in the date condition, which in some cases, can get you fairly close. (link: Relevant date intervals supported by KQL)

Configuration steps:

  1. Define a retention label
  2. Map the crawled property, ows_Modified, to a RefinableDate managed property
  3. Initiate a re-index of the sites where you want the labels to be applied to ensure the RefinableDate managed property is updated in the search index for the content
  4. Verify the query.
    • I verified the KQL query in 3 search tools before proceeding (Microsoft Search, Content Search, and the SharePoint Search Query tool). The reason I did this was to determine which managed property was the correct one to use in the auto-apply condition for a last modified date: LastModifiedTime, LastModifiedTimeForRetention, or my mapped RefinableDate managed property. I received consistent results across all 3 search tools above with the RefinableDate managed property rather than LastModifiedTime or LastModifiedTimeForRetention (even though LastModifiedTimeForRetention is mapped to crawled property ows_Modified as well). Ymmv.
  5. Using an auto-apply label policy, auto-apply the retention label to sites using the condition that best suits your needs. By using <“last month” in my query, content will have the label auto-applied when its last modified date is more than ~30 days ago. Below is the date condition in the auto-apply label policy (ensure you add any additional conditions to suit your retention needs):

After ~7 days…

All content matching the above condition (last modified more than ~30 days ago with a content type of ‘document’ had the retention label applied.)

Remember… once a retention label is applied to an item, it can’t be overwritten by another auto-apply label policy. It can; however, be manually updated.

Thanks for reading. Told you it was short and sweet. 🙂



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.