I am trying to prevent ex-employee names from appearing in a SharePoint form.

Specifically the column is a 'Person or Group' aka 'people picker' column.

Employee column definition

Richard F name showing

I have a separate 'Employee' list already, but it is not always up to date.

Normally using AD is more accurate and kept up to date - since IT must adjust the accounts for people that leave the company.

Ideally I could get this to run off AD still, but do the AD accounts need to be 'deactivated' or what are the options? (I'm no expert with AD).

Additional Picture (following Christoffer's comment):

permissions check for Richard F

  • Is the site permission up to date and employees who left has their permission removed? If yes, you could set the setting to be able to only add people from a specific permissiongroup. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:59
  • It's actually on the restricted HR site that very few people have access to, so it's not a Sharepoint permissions issue. I double checked and Richard F has 'limited access' - see additional picture
    – Tally
    Aug 16, 2019 at 11:08

2 Answers 2


You have a classic case of an orphaned SharePoint user. SharePoint stores all users as list items in a SharePoint list.

If you just want to remove a single orphaned account - open this url http://SP_SITE/_layouts/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=0 and remove the user manually.

If you want to do a proper cleaning - you will probably need a powerShell script. Let me know if that's what you want - I will update my answer.

  • Thanks for the Answer Denis. I previously came across the url you provided, but it did not fix the issue for me. I once removed users in this way, but now when I use this menu again I find all the usernames I removed have returned. It appears SP is repopulating the usernames here again (from AD?). BTW - I'm not sure if this is useful, but when I removed the usernames using the url, I found I could still select their name from the form. Yes - I'd be grateful if you could post the powershell if it would be no trouble for you.
    – Tally
    Aug 19, 2019 at 11:40
  • Hi Denis, yes powershell script please!
    – Tally
    Sep 23, 2019 at 14:45
  • I found the menu that you posted does work - I removed some old users. But I can still see the user profile and select it from a 'Person or Group' field, although it does not allow me to save I see an error message saying: "Sorry, something went wrong. The user does not exist or is not unique.". So almost a perfect result, ideally SP would not even allow me to see the former employee's name any more.
    – Tally
    Sep 23, 2019 at 15:26

Having undergone further testing, I did what Denis suggested, but it did not seem to resolve the issue.

I created a test profile (called TESTAD). When I logged on as TESTAD I created some documents and list items. Then deleted the TESTAD user profile from Active Directory - my understanding is that for person or group fields Sharepoint gets all user profiles from Active Directory (via Azure). So I would have expected that by deleting the TESTAD profile I would no longer see the TESTAD name appearing in a person or group field, however I could still see it (bad), but I could not save it if I selected the name (good!).

I asked around and it was suggested that I need to clear the browser cache in IE (I didn't need to do the Further Troubleshooting step). I only had this problem in IE, but not in Chrome. Other users could not even see the TESTAD profile, since they had never selected it in Sharepoint, so it was not in their cache. Though some of my colleagues would still see cached profile names in their IE, not TESTAD but other user profiles of actual former employees.

Problem solved :-)

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