Posting this here in hopes of others having run into this issue and learning how they managed to solve it.


Across our SharePoint Online tennant we have multiple situations in which a multi-user column is created, called 'Owners'. For ease of searching on a single user whether an object has one or more 'Owners' we've assigned the owner_q_User explored property to a Refinable, the other explored property versions don't 'split' the Owners but treat them as a single value.

Ie: An item with owners 'John, Jack, Jill' gets Refined to 'John' 'Jack' 'Jill' with the Owners_q_User version, but all other explored properties treat it as a single value to refine on, namely 'John, Jack, Jill'


Recently, although we're not sure how long this has been happening (might already be months or longer) we've noticed while addressing the search api we get returned tokens for each individual user (ok so far), but when we want to refine on the tokens, the search api just goes 'Computer says no results'.

We've noticed that our user properties in the search index have become absurdly long, resulting in absurdly long tokens, ie: RefinementName: firstname.lastname@companyname.com | Lastname Firstname | 666a33333e667c6d656d626572736869707c8c8888888c88888c888888888c88888888888888888888826f76696e636965616e7477657270656e2e6265

RefinementToken: ǂǂ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"

We've had contact with MS support on this, and all they've been able to say, but not link to documentation wise, is that refinement tokens can only be 256 characters long, any longer is not supported. Questions regarding getting the tokens shortened (ie. getting the long 'id' at the end dropped) or finding an alternative for refining on single users instead of getting (useless) user refinement options have fallen on deaf ears.


Has anyone else experienced this and or knows/found a solution for it?

Kind regards,



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