SharePoint Variations – The complete Guide – Part 5 – Configuration Overview

Variation Settings page

Most of the Variation settings can be configured in the Site Collection Administration section of the Site Settings page.

The variation settings page looks as follows:


The Variations Settings page allows to configure the following options:


Variation Home

Here you can configure the Variation Root Site. After the variation root site has been selected and a variations hierarchy has been created, the root site cannot be changed.


Automatic Creation

Determines whether sites and pages on the source variation site are created automatically on the target variation sites. By default, this option is enabled.

If you disable this option, sites and pages that are created on the source variation site are not automatically variated to the target. You have to create the site and page variants manually using UI actions provided by the variation system.


Note: This option only controls the creation of peer pages - not the update. If a user decided to create a peer page in a target label (either manually or automatically), all updates to the source page will still automatically be propagated to the target label. This functionality was a major pain point in MOSS 2007 and led to different workarounds like disabling the page propagation timerjob (which is responsible to copy the content to the target labels) or creating a dummy source label to allow updates in all productive labels without affecting the content in the target labels.

In SP2010 the additional configuration the Disable Automatic Propagation option has been introduced to overcome this limitation. It allows to control whether content updates in the source label will be automatically propagated to the target label or not. If automatic propagation updates are disabled then the Automatic Creation option is ignored for pages (but it is still used for sites). Neither new nor updated pages are propagated to the target labels.

Unfortunately this option is not available in the UI - it has to be set using object model:

Disable automatic propagation:

$rootWeb = Get-SPWeb http://url-to-sitecollection
$relationshipsList = $rootWeb.Lists["Relationships List"]
$propertyStore = $relationshipsList.RootFolder
$propertyStore.Properties.Add("DisableAutomaticPropagation", "True")

Enable automatic propagation:

$propertyStore = $relationshipsList.RootFolder
$relationshipsList = $rootWeb.Lists["Relationships List"]
$rootWeb = Get-SPWeb http://url-to-sitecollection



Recreate Deleted Target Page

Determines whether a page should be re-created on a target variation site if the page was deleted from the target variation site, and the page on the source variation site has been republished. By default, this option is enabled. If you disable this option, deleted pages are not recreated on target variation sites.


Update Target Page Web Parts

Determines whether changes made to Web Parts on pages on a source variation site are also made on pages on target variation sites. By default, this option is enabled.



Sends e-mail to the contact of the welcome page of a target variation site when a new page or site is created or to the contact person of the specified page when a page is updated. By default, this option is enabled.



Specifies whether to use the same resources on the source variation site when pages are copied to target label or to copy them to the target label as well. Only Resources in libraries, which are provisioned with the containing site, can be copied to the target, as the variation system does not have an option to vary libraries. For standard publishing sites, only images and documents in the Publishing Images and Documents library can be copied. By default, this option is set to reference existing resources.



Variation Labels page

Similar to the Variation Settings the configuration option for the Variation Labels is available in the Site Collection Administration section of the site settings page.

The Variation Labels page for a typical variation site looks as follows:


Using the variation labels page it is possible to create new variation labels, to edit or delete existing variation labels and to initiate the creation of the variation hierarchy for the defined variation labels.


Creating a new variation label

A new variation label can be created using the New Label option from the Variation Labels page, which will open the Create Variation Label dialog:

The Create Variation Label page allows to configure the following options:


Label Name

The label name will be used as URL name of the variation top site for the new variation label. Only characters which are allowed in a URL can be used for the Label name. A friendly name with other characters can be configured as the Display Name.


Display Name

The display name is the friendly name of the new variation label. Here you can use also characters, which are not allowed in an URL. The friendly name will be used as Title for the variation top site of the label.


Site Template Language

This setting allows to configure the language pack to be used when provisioning sites within the new variation label. This setting will only be available if more than one language pack is installed (base language + at least one language pack).



This setting allows to configure the locale settings for the sites provisioned in the new variation label.


Hierarchy Creation

This setting is not available in the UI if a source variation label has been defined but the hierarchy of the source variation hierarchy has not yet been created.

This setting influences the creation of the hierarchy of labels added after the initial hierarchy creation was done.

In such a situation, it is possible to define whether the new label:

  • should get a copy of all sites and pages in the source hierarchy, or
  • if only the site structure should be replicated, or
  • if only the top site should be created

Source Variation

The options in this section are disabled as soon as a source variation label has been defined as only one source variation label can exist per site collection.

Using the settings in this section, you can define whether the new label will be the source variation label or a target label.

If the new label is the source label, you can also select a publishing site template to be used when provisioning the variation top site of the different labels.

Comments (2)

  1. reddyj says:

    Hi Stefan,

    I’m using variation feature in SP2013 and I had tried migrating the site(which is having the variations) to another farm. Update all targets option is not working after the migration. Please let me know if we need to follow any special procedure to migrate the Variation sites.

    Kiran Reddy J

    1. Hi Reddy,
      I’m not sure how you transferred the site to the new farm but my guess is that you used a method which does not persist the ids of the objects in the database.
      The recommended way is to use content deployment to transfer the site collection as this perserves all object ids and will guarantee that variations continues to work.

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