How Does the “All People” View Work in SharePoint?

I got a question today from someone at one of my clients about how the All People page works. This is the page found at:

http://[ServerName]/[SiteCollectionRoot]/[SubSitePath]/_layouts/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=0

Here’s the question:

I’ve noticed that in the All People page of my department site, accessible from the People And Groups section, some users are listed with the Created By property equal to their name. These users have no permission on the site, they do not belong to any group.

Is it because the domain group NT AUTHORITY\authenticated users has read access to the site?

By the way, what’s the behavior of the All People page?

Are users added as soon as they access one of the site pages?

Thanks

Here’s what’s going on.  The first time that you “touch” a user or a user “touches” the Site Collection, they are added to a hidden list (from the View All Site Content page, anyway) at the root of the Site Collection called the User Information List. The All People page — or any other views you create there — is just a view into the items in that list.

So what you see in the Created column is when that “touch” occurred. If you see the user’s own name in the Created By column, then they were added to the User Information List by visiting the Site Collection themselves (therefore “touching” it). If you see someone else’s name in the Created By column, then it is showing the first person who added that person to an object contained in the Site Collection, like including the person in a list item, or by granting them specific permissions, etc.

Note that in SharePoint 2010, the All People link has gone missing. However, it just so happens that I saw a post entitled “All People” view in SharePoint 2010 from my pal Geoff Varosky (@gvaro) yesterday showing that you can add it back in, should you want to. You can also simply access the All People view by appending /_layouts/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=0 to the URL.

13 Comments

  1. Is there a way to create a new view for a users group? We have a group of users with over 100 members. The boss would like to see all 100+ on one page. I don’t see any way to create or update either one of the default views. This is in SharePoint 2010.

    Reply
  2. My question is, what good is the All People view? It has people who have left the company years ago, it is missing have people who will need to use the site, so I don’t see any useful information I can glean from it.

    Reply
    • Larry:

      As I explain in the post, it’s anyone who has ever “touched” the Site Collection. People who have left the company years ago probably created or edited content, and their names are still stamped on those items. As you add people to permission groups or they visit the Site Collection, they will be added to the User Information List. It’s SharePoint’s shortcut to going out to AD on every single permission check.

      M.

      Reply
  3. Yes, I get how it is populated, but it seems that if it contains information that is years out of date, it’s not going to be useful to a site admin except as a historical curiosity, nor to SharePoint for permission checking. I’m seeing people who have been removed from AD years ago, and not seeing some people who do have permissions on the site.

    Reply
    • But those ancient users have put their fingers on content. The UIL is where the information about those users is kept. You should be seeing any user who has permissions on the site. What version of SharePoint?

      M.

      Reply
      • We are using MOSS 2007. I am seeing most users, but not those who have apparently never touched the site (some of our offsite employees, who have permission, but may not have gone there). Another interesting behavior: Yesterday, I selected and deleted the terminated employees (Actions, Delete Users from Site Collection). Today, they’re back.

        I’m okay with the view being there; I just don’t see how it is useful to anyone.

        Reply
  4. Any idea how I can find what group a user from All People is in? When I click on their account, the resulting data doesn’t show the original group.

    Reply

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