Updating a User Profile Does Not Update That Information in a Site Collection


After profile properties are updated for a user, the changes are not being updated in some site collections. For example, you changed the display name Jane Doe to Jane Smith. When Jane signs in, she sees the updated name in the top navigation, but when she browses to another site it still shows Jane Doe.


SharePoint stores data related to all users who have signed in to a site collection (or when a user was granted permissions to a site collection) within the site collection to reduce expensive user profile lookups.  The ‘copied’ data can be seen when browsing to the user information list, available per site collection at the URL https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/<site collection url>/_catalogs/users/simple.aspx.

When a user changes or adds content within a site collection, SharePoint flags that user as active. For users that are set as  “Active” the profile properties that are set to replicable will be synced from UPA to the user information list as part of the WSSSync process (WSSSync process: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3168272/information-about-user-profile-synchronization-in-sharepoint-online). As a result, all changes, like the display name, or the email address are synchronized to the site collection.

Users that are Inactive are not synchronized, and their profile values will remain the same until they start contributing or making changes to the site collection. This mechanism was implemented to reduce the number of synchronization between the user profiles and the site collections to avoid the expensive operation when possible to prevent performance issues.


There are 2 ways to get a user set from inactive to active. (NOTE: Please be aware that those steps are per site collection.) When the operation was performed, can you undo the changes needed to get the updated values synchronized.

  1. Setup an alert on the site collection for the user

As an administrator, you can browse to any list/library in the site collection and create an alert send to the user.

  1. Share content specific with the user

Upload a new file, or create a new item you can break inheritance on and share with the specific user.

It can take up to 24 hours before the changes are reflected in the site collection