SharePoint Variations – The complete Guide – Part 18 – FAQ

In this last part of the article series I would like to address common questions I receive from customers.

You might want to check for updates on this page in the future as I will update this part with new questions as they arise.

Common Questions

Question: Are permissions replicated from source to target label?

Answer: No. Permissions are not replicated as it is expected that the same user can have a different role in a different label.


Question: Are manually activated features replicated from source to target label?

Answer: This depends: if the features activation is done before the site has been created in the target label through the variation engine then the features will also be activated on the target label. Features activated on the sites later will not get replicated as the variation engine only supports updates to pages but not to sites.


Question: Is the content of minor versions of pages replicated to the target label?

Answer: In general the answer is no. Only major versions are replicated to the target label. The only exception is during initial replication of a site from source to target when pages are provisioned through the site templates. During the replication the content of the current version of the related pages in the source label is replicated to the target label – even if this is a minor version.


Question: Is there a list of columns and properties which do not get overwritten during replication?

Answer: See in the note at the bottom of Part 7


Question: Are properties in the site property bag replicated from source to target?

Answer: No, site properties are not replicated.


Question: Are changes to navigation settings replicated between source and target labels?

Answer: This depends: if the navigation setting changes are done before the site has been created in the target label through the variation engine then the navigation settings will be replicated to the target label. Navigation changes done later will not get replicated as the variation engine only supports updates to pages but not to sites.

Comments (26)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    Dear Stefan,

    Thank you for your great posts on variations.

    However, I'm stuck with creating a new variation label in SP 2010.

    I can create the label, schedule a new Variation Hierarchy creation, runt the 'Variation Hierarchies Creation' time job.

    The Variated Top site is created (nl2), as well as its index page. The site features are activated within the new variant, the lists are created, but none of the child sites are created:

    'A new site ApplyOnlinePopup did not get created under Label nl2 by the variation system for source site http://—/dm/ApplyOnlinePopup. Cannot create Variation site because the parent Publishing web cannot be found. Ensure the parent Publishing web has been spawned and try again.'

    I've tried to run the variationsfixuptool stsadm command in -spawn, -fix and -scan modes, always with -recurse parameter and '-label nl2' but it doesn't change anything.

    Do you have any idea of what else I could try?

    Kind regards,


  2. Hi Joachim,

    in this case you should open a support case with Microsoft as it would be required to analyze the relationships list entries in more details.



  3. Heley says:

    Hi Stefan – do you know if the problems with the relationships list, and the requirement to have the variations fixup tool, will still be there for SharePoint 2013? Thanks.

  4. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan,

    Appreciate the list of detailed articles shared !

    However as per…/hh487293.aspx in SharePoint 2010 we have a 50 Variation label limit is it the same even in SharePoint 2007 ?

  5. Hi Amey,

    this limit is the same in 2007 and 2010.



  6. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi again Stefan,

    I am not sure, if my comment from yesterday, got through, if it will, this one is obsolete.

    We are migrating from MOSS 2007 to SP2010 directly to SP2013.

    In SP2013 the Automatic Propagation to Target Pages is turned off in the Variation System, how can it be turned on again via Powershell, similar to PART 5 for SP2010? I tried that but did'nt work.

    Thanks and regards,


  7. Hi Dan,

    I double checked: the relevant code has not changed in SP2013. Automatic Propagation is enabled per default and using the powershell script in Part 5 you can disable it.

    If this does not work correctly in your Environment I would recommend to open a Support case to get this analyzed in more Details.



  8. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan,

    I have created a page in my sharepoint site and another in same hierarchy of the variant site. But since both the pages are created out of box without submitting variations so are not linked up. Is there any way i can link them up through variations ?

    Thanks in Advance


  9. Hi Sid,

    that's not possible in a supported way.



  10. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stephan,

    Is it possible to enable auto-variation when creating a site or a page, but disable auto-variation when update pages. It is annoying that variation keeps on adding minor versions to our French site when updating the English page. But we still want to keep this feature when a new page is generated.

  11. Hi Sean,

    actually that is not possible.

    But you can avoid this by creating your source label as hidden label.

    So you just use this to create the pages and if updates in all labels are required.

    And the visible labels are all target labels.



  12. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan

    As always it is a pleasure to read your blog!

    I have a question that might deserve a place in your FAQ: "Is it possible to change an existing variation label display name?"

    The answer seems to be "no" as SharePoint actually tries to recreate the hierarchy when saving the changes.

    Have you come across that issue as well? (SP2010)



  13. Hi Franck,

    didn't get this question till now.



  14. anonymouscommenter says:

    Great posts ! Question is , if I add a Content Search Web part on the source page with the query in it that can be same on all variations label ( Target Sites) , Will it replicate the CSW on variations labels ? In my case it is replicating with the search
    query in it but shows " sorry something went wrong" when I edit this web part on the target label, query is present in there and shows result only in edit mode , same Web Part is working fine on source label ? Any thoughts ?

  15. Hi Umar,
    many webparts store internally information about the site, page or list they are on using the ID (guid). Variations treats web parts as black box and does not change the web part content during variations.
    I did not look into the technical implementation of the content by search web part but the behavior you see indicates that this web part also relies on the original location it was added on. I assume removing and readding the web part on target with the same
    settings would work? That would confirm the theory.
    In any case you could check the ULS log for details about the exception to get more info what went wrong.

  16. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks Stefan for the quick response.
    I find solution for this issue at the link mentioned below. incase some else is having the same issue…

  17. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan,
    This guide is great, excellent job! I have a question though regarding permissions. I have a source variation label en-gb and two target labels – de-de and fr-fr. I have set up a user who want to be able to access the de-de label only. I go the site settings
    on that side and add the user to the visitors group which is fine but when I have a look at the fr-fr and the source en-gb site, it's replicated this and put the user in the visitors group for those sites as well. I have disabled the permission inheritance.
    Any ideas how I can assign unique permissions to each label?

    Many thanks in advance!


  18. Hi Antonio,

    group membership is per site collection – not per site. That is always the case in SharePoint.
    You would need a different group for both labels and add them manually to the different sites.


  19. anonymouscommenter says:

    It's possible to sync list views?

  20. Hi Alexander,
    variations does not support this.

  21. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan,

    Just to better explain my question, this is an exact replica of the issue I'm facing:

    I would be interested to hear your opinion.


  22. Hi Antonio,
    not sure what you mean exactly. The post discusses a misconfiguration of the welcome page and the solution is provided in the post as well.

  23. Antonio19091991 says:

    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks for the reply. The content migration part is the one I’m interested in. When I create a source label, it’s basically blank and you need to add content to it to then push out to the target labels. However, what if you already have a site with a page which
    you’d like to be the source label? Here’s the scenario: I have a site with some content on it. I then create a source label as a sub-site of that and so SharePoint creates and that’s a blank page and some target variation labels …/test/es-es, …/test/fr-fr and so on. Is it possible to have the …/test site as that source label so I already
    have the content to be translated onto the target labels?

    I hope this is clearer now 🙂


  24. Hi Antonio,
    This is not possible. What you can do is to move the existing pages from the too site to the source label.

  25. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Stefan, I have a problem in SP2013 whenever we publish a source variation (en-us) after the variation propagation run, the modified by value of the target variations will used the last modifier of each target variations. We are expecting that the person
    who published the source variation should also be reflected in the last modified by value of all target variations. Is this a know issue? or expected behavior. Please advise thanks.

  26. Hi Leo,
    that is not an issue – that is expected.
    Your assumption is incorrect. Each item in each label is independent and can be modified separatly.
    And the item in the target label was last modified when the item was propagated from source to target.
    If someone later updates it it will again have the last modified date of the modification.

    If you need a different behavior I would recommend to add a custom date/time field and set this using an event handler to the desired date on source.