This tutorial walks through the steps necessary to crawl SharePoint 2016 using the SharePoint 2016 connector.

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Create a User Account

 A prerequisite for crawling SharePoint 2016 is to have a Windows Active Directory account. The domain, username and password for this account will be required below.

The recommended name for this account is "aspire_crawl_account". See prerequisites section for more details.

Step 1: Set SharePoint Access Rights

"aspire_crawl_account" will need to have sufficient access rights to read all of the documents in SharePoint 2016 that you wish to process. See User Account Requirements for details on what rights will be required for the account in SharePoint.

To set the rights for your account at Web Application level, do the following:

  1. Open SharePoint Central Administration.
  2. Go to "Manage web applications" under "Application Management".
  3. Select the web application which has the site collections to crawl.
  4. Click on "User Policy".
  5. On the "Policy for Web Application" popup, click on "Add Users".
  6. On "Choose Users" space type aspire_crawl_account with the corresponding domain.
  7. Select "Full Read" permission on "Choose Permissions" section.
  8. Click on "Finish".

To set the rights for your "aspire_crawl_count" on site collections, do the following:

  1. Go to the desired site collection and log on with a site collection administrator (or any user authorized to edit site permissions).
  2. Click on the gear icon at the top left corner.
  3. Click on "Shared With...".
  4. Click on "ADVANCED"
  5. Click on Grant Permissions
  6. Enter the domain and account name on "Invite people to" field (i.e. aspire_crawl_account).
  7. Select Show Options.
  8. Select the Read permission.
  9. Click Share.

Step 2. Launch Aspire and open the Content Source Management Page

Launch Aspire (if it's not already running). See:

Step 3. Add a new SharePoint 2016 Content Source

To specify exactly what shared folder to crawl, we will need to create a new "Content Source".

To create a new content source:

  1. From the Content Source , click Add Source.

  2. Click SharePoint 2016 Connector.

Step 3a. Specify Basic Information

In the "General" tab in the Content Source Configuration window, specify basic information for the content source:

  1. Enter a content source name in the "Name" field. 
    1. This is any useful name which you decide is a good name for the source. It will be displayed in the content source page, in error messages, etc.
  2. Click on the Scheduled pulldown list and select one of the following: Manually, PeriodicallyDaily, Weekly or Advanced.
    1. Aspire can automatically schedule content sources to be crawled on a set schedule, such as once a day, several times a week, or periodically (every N minutes or hours).For the purposes of this tutorial, you may want to select Manually and then set up a regular crawling schedule later.
  3. Click on the Action pulldown list to select one of the following: Start, StopPause, or Resume.
    1. This is the action that will be performed for that specific schedule.
  4. Click on the Crawl pulldown list and select one of the following: Incremental, FullReal Time, or Cache Groups.
    1. This will be the type of crawl to execute for that specific schedule.

After selecting a Scheduled, specify the details, if applicable:

  • Manually: No additional options.
  • Periodically: Specify the "Run every:" options by entering the number of "hours" and "minutes."
  • Daily: Specify the "Start time:" by clicking on the hours and minutes drop-down lists and selecting options.
  • Weekly: Specify the "Start time:" by clicking on the hours and minutes drop-down lists and selecting options, then clicking on the day checkboxes to specify days of the week to run the crawl.
  • Advanced: Enter a custom CRON Expression (e.g. 0 0 0 ? * *)


You can add more schedules by clicking in the Add New option, and rearrange the order of the schedules.
If you want to disable the content source, clear the the "Enable" check box. This is useful if the folder will be under maintenance and no crawls are wanted during that period of time.
Real Time and Cache Groups crawl will be available depending of the connector.

Step 3b. Specify the Connector Information

In the "Connector" tab, specify the connection information to crawl SharePoint 2016.

  1. Enter the SharePoint URL you want to crawl.
  2. Enter the account info for the crawl user (domain, username and password).
  3. Check on the other options as needed:
    1. Add Site Collections: Add other site collections urls to the crawl. If the main url is a Web Application it'll only crawl the default site collection.
    2. Scan Recursively: Scan through container's child nodes.
    3. Index Containers: index sites, lists and folders. If unchecked, only list items and attachments will be indexed.
    4. Crawl Attachments: crawl list item attachments. (e.g. Documents attached to an Event or a Task).
    5. Include/Exclude patterns: Enter regex patterns to include or exclude items.

SharePoint 2016 URLs

It should not be the URL to a form or document, but the actual URL to the SharePoint object. For example instead of it should be

In this version of the Aspire SharePoint 2016 Connector, the URL must be one of the following:

  • A SharePoint site collection
  • A SharePoint Site
  • A SharePoint List

Step 3c. Specify Workflow Information

In the "Workflow" tab, specify the workflow steps for the jobs that come out of the crawl. Drag and drop rules to determine which steps should an item follow after being crawled.

These rules could be where to publish the document or transformations needed on the data before sending it to a search engine. See Workflow for more information.

  1. For the purpose of this tutorial, drag and drop the Publish To File rule found under the Publishers tab to the onPublish Workflow tree.
    1. Specify a Name and Description for the Publisher.
    2. Click Add.

After completing this steps click on the Save then Done and you'll be sent back to the Home Page.

Step 4: Initiate a Full Crawl

Now that the content source is set up, the crawl can be initiated by clicking the "Full Crawl" button. 

During the Crawl

During the crawl, you can do the following:
  • Click on the "Refresh" button on the Content Sources page to view the latest status of the crawl.

    The status will show RUNNING while the crawl is going, and Completed when it is finished.

  • Click on "Statistics" to view the number of documents crawled so far, the number of documents submitted, and the number of documents with errors.

If there are errors, you will get a clickable "Error" flag that will take you to a detailed error message page.

Step 5: Initiate an Incremental Crawl

If you only want to process content updates from the SharePoint 2016 (documents which are added, modified, or removed), then click on the "Incremental" button instead of the "Full" button. The SharePoint 2016 connector will automatically identify only changes which have occurred since the last crawl.

If this is the first time that the connector has crawled, the action of the "Incremental" button depends on the exact method of change discovery. It may perform the same action as a "Full" crawl crawling everything, or it may not crawl anything. Thereafter, the Incremental button will only crawl updates.

Statistics are reset for every crawl.

Group Expansion 

Group expansion configuration is done under "Group Expansion" in the Connector tab.  Group expansion scheduling is done in the General tab.

Before configuring Group Expansion in the connector a Group Expansion Server should exist.
  1. Click on the Enable group expansion checkbox to enable the configuration section.
  2. Select the Group Expansion service in the dropdown.
  3. Specify if an intermediate file should be used if there are memory concerns.
  4. Specify external group servers if any.
  5. Map usernames to LDAP users if needed.
  6. Enable group expansion workflow adds a custom groovy script.
  7. As an optional setting click on the "Use external Group Expansion" checkbox to select an LDAP Cache component for LDAP group expansion. See more info on the LDAP Cache component on LDAP Cache
  8. Specify transformation options to leave or remove the domain from the user name