Stefan Goßner

Senior Escalation Engineer for SharePoint Products and Technologies

SharePoint Variations – The complete Guide – Part 18 – FAQ

SharePoint Variations – The complete Guide – Part 18 – FAQ

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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.

  • 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,


  • 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.



  • 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.

  • Hi Stefan,

    Appreciate the list of detailed articles shared !

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

  • Hi Amey,

    this limit is the same in 2007 and 2010.



  • 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,


  • 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.



  • 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


  • Hi Sid,

    that's not possible in a supported way.



  • 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.

  • 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.



  • 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)



  • Hi Franck,

    didn't get this question till now.



  • 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 ?

  • 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.

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