Within SharePoint search, there are two key configuration components important to the ability to search for content.  The first is called crawled properties. A crawled property is created for every site column that exists within SharePoint.  This includes standard, out-of-the-box columns like Created By, Title, Name, etc.  It also includes any custom site column created by users.  However, a crawled property is not meant to be used as a field for direct searching by users, for filtering results, or for refining a search.

To make columns searchable, sortable, refinable, etc, the columns must be updated within the search schema of SharePoint.  To allow users to actively use the columns in search refinement, custom queries, etc the columns need to be connected to the second key component of the search schema: the managed property.

Connect a Site Column to a Managed Property

It is possible to create a new managed property, but Microsoft provides a number (a lot) of pre-configured managed properties for you to utilize.  It is suggested to use this, otherwise, you will have to wait until the host your tenant runs within kicks off a full index of the search index (and we don’t know when that occurs) for the managed property to be available.  The pre-configured ones are available very soon after you connect them to a crawled property.  In the following example, I will continue from the content type created in the content type gallery from a recent post.

  1. Login to the SharePoint administration console with the necessary credentials.
  2. Click on More features and then Open in the Search section.

Auto-Apply Retention Label Policy - SharePoint Admin - Search Features

  1. Click on “Manage Search Schema”

Auto-Apply Retention Label Policy - SharePoint Admin - Search Schema

  1. Click on Crawled Properties, search for the site column’s internal name, and click the search arrow.

Auto-Apply Retention Label Policy - SharePoint Admin - Search Crawled Property

Note: in the example above, three properties are returned.  This example uses a managed metadata field.  This field creates three internal properties.  Ensure the ows_<Internal Site Column Name> is selected.

  1. Select the correct property. If in doubt, the field beginning with ows_ is the property to select.
  2. Click on Add a mapping, search for an existing managed property such as RefinableString30 and click OK. Click OK again to exit the crawled property configuration page.

Important: If building managed properties for auto-applied labels the RefinableString property cannot exceed RefinableString99.  There is a bug that auto-apply policies, labels, events, and content searches cannot search any managed property from RefinableString100 to RefinableString199.  It does work within other search tools, but the back-end searches will not work.

Auto-Apply Retention Label Policy - SharePoint Admin - Add Managed Property Mapping

  1. Once the managed and crawled properties are linked, allow 24 hours for all the back-end processes to refresh the schema across the tenant (it probably won’t take that long, but that seems to be the magic number for a lot of these processes).


Thanks for reading!