We have implemented search in SP Online. The site has many user groups with permission levels like "Read, Edit and Restricted Read". The site is expected to get documents in regular interval and new users will be added and removed from the groups too regularly.

The problem we are facing is when a new user is added in a group, that user is not see any result, but other members of the same group is able to see. (Note: All other permission role in site works properly)

Similarly if a user is part of admin group and is having access to many document is removed and placed in a member group with access to less no of document, still he is seeing all the documents which he was seeing as admin.

Note: Re indexing the site is giving result but after that if new user is added, the same behavior repeats.

Any help on this

3 Answers 3


This is the expected behavior because once you add the new user, that user will be able to see search results only after the site is crawled again.

in SharePoint Online, crawling is managed by Microsoft hence, we can not start the crawl manually. Once the next crawl cycle is finished, the new user will be able to see the data.

If you want to see the results for new users immediately then you have to reindex the site which you are already doing.

Normally, with SPO, the crawl process if fast but still, you can contact the support team and they can provide you the crawl duration.

Below are some of the references which explain how search works in SPO.

  1. Crawling in Office365
  2. Introduction to SPO Search
  3. Search Crawling

Relying on SharePoint search for your scenario has some caveats.

  1. The search results only get updated after the site is crawled and the metadata indexed in the search Database.
  2. Since, the search crawl timings is not under user's control, the "freshness" of search results are always indeterminable.
  3. While requesting "re-crawl" of the site will solve the problem, it is not a good idea to re-crawl every time an user permission changes or a document is added because it puts a load on the tenant and adversely affects performance.

If the documents are used in any business critical decision making, instead of search ,I would recommend moving to a CSOM based custom solution, which would store and index the metadata of the documents and the permissions, which would be served to the front end using a web api. Although, this approach will not give fresh results, we can determine accurately how old the data is and we can calculate the "time" after which data would be visible to new users.


By default, you just need to WAIT for some HOURS or DAYS for proper re-indexing. This usually happen when you just added the user to the list or document library. I hope this helps?

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