Adding the Content Search Web Part (CSWP) to the ‘About Me’ in SharePoint 2013

The ‘About Me’ in SharePoint – why it’s a good fit for your companies users

For those not familiar with SharePoint, the ‘About Me’ section of SharePoint is part of My Sites. It is meant to present personal information about the user you are looking such as their email address, phone number and profile picture. While it is fairly easy to add new profile attributes via the user profile services, what if you want to display information that is from another site collection and relevant to everyone, such as their achievements or documents they have authored?

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Why Use the CSWP in the ‘About Me’

The ‘About Me’ is a bit tricky to edit. Programming a SharePoint Online solution isn’t the right answer unless your users are familiar with adding web parts (hint: most users are not!). In comes using the Content Search Web Part! The content search web part is new to SharePoint 2013 and allows you to query information across all of SharePoint. While it is a bit easier to have the CSWP look up information for the current user, the tricky part is getting it to show information for another user. Another important aspect is know how to edit the ‘About Me’ for all users.

How to Add the CSWP in the ‘About Me’

There are a few technical hurdles to this, but the end result is a solution which is scalable for all users. First, you should become familiar with how to edit the My Site template for all users. Here is a great article explaining just that: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-sharepoint-online-enterprise-help/customize-the-my-site-host-HA103894491.aspx

Next is the Content Search Web Part. This is not the easiest web part to master, but once you get the hang of it, it is arguably one of the best new features of SharePoint 2013. For getting the Content Search Web Part to synchronize with the ‘About Me’ of My Sites, the first trick is adding ‘SubmittedByOWSser’ as a property and having it contain a value of a parameter from the URL.
After configuring the CSWP, make sure the ‘About Me’ URL contains the username. If you are using SharePoint Online, go to User Profiles under SharePoint administration, Click Set Up My Sites and change the Site Naming Format.

Finally, the trickiest part is adding a JavaScript code snippet to capture the user name from the new My Site URL structure. There are several articles on adding code snippets to SharePoint 2013 as well as using Javascript.

The end result: your new My Site template will have a newly added content search web part which captures the user name in the ‘About Me’ URL… enjoy!

If you need a SharePoint Programmer to help configure a Content Search Web Part for ‘About Me’, contact us as (800) 682-0882 and we will gladly work with you to get you all set up!

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