I currently have a term set of document types that goes two levels deep. I'm using a table that a poweruser manages to sync the terms in the term store.

The problem I'm having is when I compare a string field with existing term store labels it does not match 100% of the time even though that label exists. So when I try to create a term it throws an error.

For example

string label = "(A1)Doc Type A & Misc";
Term childTerm = parentTerm.Terms[label];

//This throws an error saying it can't find the term so I try:

Term childTerm = parentTerm.CreateTerm(label, lcid);

//This throws an error saying the term already exists

After stepping through the code I found that label seems to get transposed so when it is made a term. Specifically double spaces are turned into single spaces and & seems to be changed as well. The only solution I found was the query below which seemed very hackish.

Term foundTerm2 = parentTerm.Terms.Where(tr =>
Encoding.UTF8.GetString(Encoding.Default.GetBytes(tr.GetDefaultLabel(lcid))) ==
  Encoding.UTF8.GetString(Encoding.Default.GetBytes(label.Replace("  ", " ")))

Is there a cleaner way to determine if a term exists based off a given label? I'm currently working in SharePoint Server 2010

  • Maybee a stupid question, but why don't you just give the power user contribute permissions on the term set and hence let them manage it themselfs? :) Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 17:13
  • That's a valid question and probably a model we will go to down the road but the there are some other dependencies on this list that are requiring this process. I also would like to know if there is a cleaner method for this down the road.
    – RWL01
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


I don't know if my way is cleaner, but it works. I basically format the term the way SharePoint stores it and then check to see if it already exists.


 //set term the way SharePoint stores it so that we can get a good compare with items already in store

                    string tag = term.Trim();
                    if (tag.Contains('&'))
                        tag = tag.Replace('&', Convert.ToChar(0xff06));
                    if (tag.Contains("  "))
                        tag = Regex.Replace(tag, @"\s+", " ");
                    if (tag.Contains("\""))
                        tag = tag.Replace('\"', Convert.ToChar(0xff02));

                    Term keywordTerm;

                    if (!termSet[0].Terms.Any(t => t.Name == tag))
                        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Red;
                        Console.WriteLine("Adding {0} to the term set", tag);
                        keywordTerm = termSet[0].CreateTerm(tag, CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.LCID);
                        needToCommit = true;
                        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Green;
                        Console.WriteLine("{0} already exists in the term set", tag);
  • How did you figure out this is the way SharePoint stores it? Do you know if this is an inclusive list of special cases?
    – RWL01
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 18:18
  • It is ... I will look for a link where I found it and add it to the answer
    – AdamBT
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 18:19

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