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All Kinds of Things You Can Do With SPUser Objects

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Editor's note: Contributor Kate Mogel is a a web application developer from Massachusetts

The SPUser object is a really useful tool, but sadly not very intuitive. Here are some of my favorite SPUser snippets.

People picker list columns don’t return a user object, which is frustrating, but not foreign to those of us with picker experience. An ID is generally returned by a lookup field. Not so for people pickers, which return a domain\user string that is frequently pre-pended by nonsense.

This is how you get a user directly from the list item:

protected SPUser GetUserfromItem(SPListItem userItem)
SPFieldUser userField = (SPFieldUser)userItem.Fields.GetField(“User”);
SPFieldUserValue fieldValue = (SPFieldUserValue)userField.GetFieldValue(userItem[userField.Id].ToString());
return fieldValue.User;

Now let’s look at a neat little method that grabs some properties by current user! As a side note, there are a lot of issues that are purportedly resolved by setting the context to null – I have never found this helpful. Never. In my lifetime.

//User Properties by user
private bool GetProperty(string userName)
//Your return value is a bool
bool found = false;
//Create a profile manager
UserProfileManager profMan;
//Get your site in a “using” so there’s no disposing
using (SPSite site = new SPSite(SPContext.Current.Site.ID))
//Make everything unsafe. Just kidding. This is so that you have permissions to edit the profile property.
//If you don’t plan on making changes, you can access the property without this.
Web.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true;
//Okay. Get your web on!
using (SPWeb newWeb = site.OpenWeb())
//Get the context and set the profile manager
SPServiceContext context = SPServiceContext.GetContext(site);
profMan = new UserProfileManager(context);
//Get your user profile object
UserProfile prof = profMan.GetUserProfile(userName);
//This is important. Remember to check the Property.Value. Otherwise you are checking to see
//if the property itself is null. And since you know it exists – guess what? It isn’t null.
if (prof["Property"].Value != null)
_property = prof["Property"].Value.ToString();
found = true;
found = false;
//Do this last, or even in a “finally” since you really want this set to false at the end of execution
Web.AllowUnsafeUpdates = false;
return found;

//And one more

//User properties by property
FullTextSqlQuery query = new FullTextSqlQuery(SPContext.Current.Site);
//Create the SQL query. The scope is important if you want it limited to people. Note that each item you select
//(Here WorkPhone, WorkEmail, DisplayName) has to be a managed property that a. has the same name and b. is
//Set to work in scopes
query.QueryText = “SELECT WorkPhone, WorkEmail, DisplayName FROM SCOPE() WHERE (\”Scope\” = ‘People’) AND (\”Property\” = ‘” + propertyValue + “‘)”;
//Set result type
query.ResultTypes = ResultType.RelevantResults;
//Set result limit
query.RowLimit = 5000;
//Execute to a result table collection
ResultTableCollection results = query.Execute();
//Parse to a single result table
ResultTable resultTable = results[ResultType.RelevantResults];
//And a regular DataTable if you need it
DataTable dt = new DataTable();
dt.Load(resultTable, LoadOption.OverwriteChanges);

There you go! Be a SPUser expert! Goodnight and goodluck.

Categories: dev; User Profile Service; MOSS; WSS; 2010


Stephan Onisick

Thanks for the snippets

Also thanks for outlining the best way to work with the objects. Getting user information from people pickers is hard work.

Posted 19-Dec-2012 by Stephan Onisick
Christopher Long


I am working on a Win7 DevBox and having trouble with the UserProfileManager. Do you have to be working one of the WFEs to get the UserProfile information?

Posted 18-Jun-2013 by Christopher Long


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I am active

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Posted 09-Dec-2013 by skyrimexpart

Great work

Many interesting things you can do with an SPUser object indeed. Your instructions were easy enough to follow, thanks for that.

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