is it possible to have the SharePoint 2010 people picker show AD Contacts. We have sub contractors & some full time staff listed as contacts in AD, in order to have their contact information including external email address etc.

In the past (SP2007) we have been less concerned about the people picker and just used a scheduled job (not timer) to populate a list of AD Contacts which we then could crawl and include in the people scope which allowed our contact search to show all relevant details for AD users and contacts. This has worked well in terms of search.

In upgrading to 2010 I have gone one better and replaced this scheduled job with a BCS connection which we can crawl and similar have the results shown in the people scope/contact search.

We are where we were with 2007 but I see massive benefit in having users have the ability to select both users and contacts from AD when using the people picker i.e. to tag documentation against a relevant subby.

  1. I've been looking into this and to start off I wondered if you could have two multiple sources for the SharePoint user profiles. Turns out you can't, after putting in the time I can only use a BCS connection to supplement existing profiles which in this instance does't work.
  2. I've also attempted to look at the people picker properties but I can't see a property which would enable the inclusion of contacts
  3. Lastly, I've tried to look into FIM to see if its possible to do something at that level. I'm not one bit familiar with it and can't see anything obvious. The only thing I do know is that there is an object type of contact which I think makes it to the staging in FIM but not from there to SharePoint.

Has anyone else accomplished this? We can't be the only ones using AD Contacts. After all they are still people but just don't need/have a machine.

Any advice/pointers appreciated.


3 Answers 3


If by Contacts you mean user accounts, the simple answer is Yes. If these are plain and simple Contacts, no account behind, than FIM (engine behind this cannot project these), so NO!

You need to configure User Profile Synchronization Service Application (there you'll get to choose all containers that you want synchronized), which can also accept multiple connections which you'll even allow you to connect to multiple User Stores.

There could be an alternative via Business Connectivity Services, but can get tricky.

Hope it helps, C:\Marius

  • In AD there is a 'Contact' type and a 'User' type. The User(s) appear fine, and the UPS service is all configured etc. No issues there! This question was about having AD 'contacts' show not necessarily as user profiles BUT in the people picker! Getting them in as user profiles was just a thought on a way to possibly do this. You say there is an alternative using BCS. If I'm not mistaken as stated previously, BCS can only compliment profile data. It can't be used to add 'more profiles'. What do you mean by 'can't project'. I can originally see the contacts in FIM but they make it no where!
    – Tezza
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 10:00
  • That was my meaning for "can't project" because they do not get created as User Profiles. By BDC I meant that you could rather target those Contacts to have them as searchable entities in your system - this WOULD NOT make them visible in People Picker unless they are also ACCOUNTS Commented May 9, 2012 at 12:26
  • In my question I did explain I have created that BCS connection which is crawled and therefore included in search. Is there NO WAY to modify FIM to make it project? Or is it a no no? Thanks.
    – Tezza
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 13:44

I had this situation back in 2003. The short answer is "No". But the truth is, with work, it can be done. What we ended up doing it matching up Contact's in AD with user accounts that we created specifically for this purpose (so ultimately we were using AD Person objects that we created from the contact information.)

It's not a perfect solution, but works for SharePoint. Another alternative is to maintain a seperate directory for the Seasonal employees, but this is a pain as well.


The People Picker requires a SID behind Active Directory objects in order to use them. This is why Distribution Lists and Contacts do not appear in the People Picker.

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