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How to manage SharePoint user profiles in the SharePoint admin center

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User profile management in SharePoint can be challenging. We explain how to use the Admin Center to manage profiles like a pro.

If you’re an admin frustrated with the SharePoint platform, you’ve come to the right place. Here you will find some best practices along with some tips and tricks to manage user profiles—a task that even the most experienced admins find challenging.

What are SharePoint user profiles?

The SharePoint user profile has the details of all members working for the organization in a standard format. Not only it allows site admins to view relevant properties and documents, but it lets them view social tags along with other user information.

Behind the scenes, the SharePoint User Profile service stores relevant information about users in a single location. It lets you easily configure and manage user profiles. You can also synchronize groups between the SharePoint server and Active Directory Domain Services.

Microsoft 365 uses the Azure Active Directory to manage user access and permissions. SharePoint gets information on user profiles from here through a synchronization job. The job imports user information into the User Profile Application (UPA).

It’s easy to get to the user profiles section. Just go to the SharePoint admin center and select user profiles. Under People, you can then select Manage User Profiles.

Sharepoint User Profiles

Need help to determine who can manage user profiles? SharePoint permissions best practices and an overview of permission levels can mitigate concerns.

How do I get to the SharePoint admin center?

As a Global or SharePoint admin, you can follow the steps below to access the SharePoint admin center.

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in with a global or SharePoint admin account. The global admin role has all the permissions of a SharePoint admin.
  3. Select SharePoint under Admin Centers in the left pane.

If, by chance, you open the new SharePoint admin center and want the classic view, you can select Classic SharePoint admin center, in the left pane.

6 steps to manage user profiles in the SharePoint admin center

Having several nuances to its usage, SharePoint surely has a steep learning curve requiring admins, especially the new ones, to spend some time experimenting with the configurations to get comfortable with the product.

The following section gives five simple steps to manage SharePoint users to keep them happy.

1. User profile configuration

The SharePoint admin center allows administrators to configure user profile properties, such as display name, job title, and contact information. This helps in maintaining accurate and up-to-date user profiles within the organization. But getting all the users to fill out every detail is challenging. And, of course, the larger the organization, the more information you will require. But you can use subtle tactics to motivate users to do this.

For example, you can have a system where people who complete their profiles receive virtual badges, stars, unique titles, etc.

You can also create custom properties to get to know the users better. To do this, go to the admin center and select User Profiles in the left pane. Then, under People, choose Manage User Properties.

Pro move: take advantage of user synchronization

The SharePoint admin center allows administrators to configure user profile synchronization with external systems, such as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or Azure Active Directory (AAD). This ensures that user profile information is synchronized across different systems, providing a consistent user experience.

2. Keep permissions in check

Managing permissions ensures that the right people access the right content. The SharePoint admin center provides features for managing user permissions and access to SharePoint sites and content. Administrators can define permission levels, create and manage security groups, and assign permissions to users and groups. This helps in ensuring that the right people have the appropriate access to SharePoint resources.

Additionally, ShareGate offers several features to manage permissions. The Permissions Matrix Report, for example, gives a complete picture, showing permission levels for all users and groups.

The feature saves a lot of time as admins don’t have to see the permission settings for each user. You can just run the report and see permission levels across multiple sites.

You can also set which groups can see what type of content through the Manage Audiences option from the Microsoft 365 admin center. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to Microsoft 365 admin center at
  2. Select SharePoint under Admin Center.
  3. Select User Profiles.
  4. Select Manage Audiences under People.
Manage Sharepoint User Profiles People

3. Ongoing training

SharePoint has a steep learning curve. Also, with new features coming in, it becomes even more frustrating for users. But continuous training can help deal with user fatigue.

Ideally, you should ensure that training materials are readily available and reusable. Constant updates to the training content should be standard practice. You can also customize content to suit specific user needs. But customization will be possible only if users give valuable feedback, which brings us to our next point.

4. Focus on user feedback

There’s no improvement without feedback. But giving and receiving feedback can be challenging, especially if the organizational culture is restrictive. However, you, as an admin, can facilitate change by making it easier for users to provide constructive feedback.

One obvious channel is the helpdesk, through which members can voice their opinions anonymously. SharePoint Site collection for site owners is another where members can ask questions and help fellow SharePoint users. 

5. Audiences Management

The SharePoint admin center allows administrators to create and manage audiences, which are groups of users based on certain criteria, such as job title or department. Administrators can then use these audiences to target content and resources to specific groups of users, improving content relevance and personalization.

6. Reporting and analytics

The SharePoint admin center provides reporting and analytics features that allow administrators to monitor user activity, track usage trends, and identify issues or areas of improvement. This helps in identifying and addressing any user profile management issues and optimizing the SharePoint environment for a better user experience.

SharePoint comes with some out-of-the-box, comprehensive usage reports that give information on active sites, used storage, active files, etc.

SharePoint admin center best practices

You can also improve how users interact with SharePoint by following some best practices.

Building a SharePoint governance plan

The biggest hurdle you can face with SharePoint is probably its maintenance and configuration. Not to mention that multiple SharePoint environments make the job harder. But a comprehensive governance plan can give you a way out.

To be effective, the plan should not only lay down usage standards for SharePoint but also ensure team members are aware of their responsibilities and know the reporting structure.

Using ShareGate for migration

While managing Microsoft 365, you might have to migrate all permission levels, users, and groups to another SharePoint environment. However, SharePoint doesn’t have a feature that lets you do it quickly.

In this case, you’ll want to understand ShareGate fully. So, just dive into our resources and documentation and learn how to use it for all migration purposes.

Providing tailored content

You should provide content to teams based on their function. Users, especially new hires, often need to learn to what content they need access. To solve this, you should have clear communication channels so new members can reach out. You can then point them to relevant resources.

ShareGate’s pro tips for managing users in SharePoint

The best advice for user management in SharePoint online is to automate as much as possible. Automation is especially useful in managing several types of permissions.

Specific user profiles will need access to certain content. Even admin rights may need some tweaking now and then.

ShareGate’s Permission Management solution comes in handy for this. It lets you customize permission levels for different teams easily. It has a bulk edit feature as well. You can use it to assign sensitivity tags to teams and change permission levels in bulk.

You can also use ShareGate’s External Sharing feature to track users who share files externally. It’s also helpful for managing access for external guests.

ShareGate and SharePoint: the ultimate duo

ShareGate makes a SharePoint admin’s life a lot easier by allowing him/her to easily manage not only SharePoint but other Microsoft 365 services as well.

The best part is that the features mentioned above are just the beginning. You can benefit from many other features that ShareGate offers to ensure your teams’ high productivity.

Want to learn more about ShareGate? Book a demo today!

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