Monday, August 1, 2022

Find where your colleagues are on a floor plan

Microsoft Search helps users find relevant content, the right answers or people. Search administrators use their knowledge of the organization and its users to make it easy for users to find the relevant content. This blog post will cover how you can prepare information about employees in order to place them on a floor plan for the office buildings. 

This type of setup is part of my mindset of using as many features as possible from the Microsoft 365 licenses, often triggered through configuration and maintenance of information which provides value throughout the product line.

This kind of functionality will add value when searching for colleagues in the office landscape, or even when searching for the closest meeting room.

A demo of the functionality

Let me demonstrate the goal of this operation. When starting Microsoft Edge, we find a search bar. I'll start a search for a colleague (or my self) in this bar.

The result found under "ALL" will be a combination of information I have access to internally in the company, and information available on the Internet. On the Contact card, I'll see information about me. 

If I click the Office tab or the Office location, I will get a floor plan with the registered office location pinned. This allowes for easy location when searching the best colleague. This information can also be used to locate the neares meeting space etc.

Users can see these floor plan answers on Bing, Sharepoint and in Office 365. Query patterns that include full name, first name, room name, room location will give a floor plan answer.


In order to achieve this functionality, we need to enrich Microsoft 365 with some configuration and knowledge. The following will be configured:

  • Building codes 
  • Floor plans
  • Locations
  • Floor plans

Building codes

The glue in this setup is the logics for naming of buildings and office locations. This will give unique describing names which will be added to the office location attribute of each users.

In my example above, the address for the building is "Grandfjæra 22A, 6416 Molde, Norway". We have thus created a building code based on the 3-letter code from the airport combined with a code for the streetname and number. This made the building code "mol-gf22a". Each building in the company must have a unique code.

Floor plans

Each floor in the building must have a map/drawing in DWG format with text labels on each room/area which should be addressed and mapped. This room label will be the link from the office location attribute on the user accounts to the graphical map layout. The room label should contain floor numbers and room numbers. These elements should be in the mentioned order without any spacers.

In my example above, the office location was in the 4th floor with room number 16. This gave the room label "0416". The DWG file of the floor plan has been updated with such room labels for all interesting spaces.


Location Codes

An office location will be constructed of the building code and the room label from the floor plan. From the initial demo in this blog post, you will see the office location code to be constructed of the building code "mol-gf22a" and the room label "0416" giving the location "mol-gf22a/0416".

User Configuration

These codes are constructed for all users with an assigned work location and added to their user profiles in Azure Active Directory. The field used for storing the office location is named PhysicalDeliveryOfficeName.

Microsoft 365 Configuration

The buildings must be defined as Locations in Microsoft 365 admin center. Go to Settings - Search & Intelligence - Answers - Locations and select Add location. Enter name, address and keywords for the buildings in your organization.

The office locations will now be indexed as a one-time operation, and this can take as long as 48 hours to complete depending on the size of the organization. This operation can be started manually from the Floor Plans menu found next to Locations. If you don't see an option to begin indexing, the step has been completed. 

Floor plans

Once the office locations have finished indexing, we can upload floor plans. This is done by selecting a building from the drop down list and the uploading a DWG file of the floor where the room labels have been prepared as text labels. 

The building code will be added to the floor plan. Following our example, the building code will be "mol-gf22a"

When publishing, it takes another 48 hours for the floor plans to be published and available in Microsoft Search with search results similar to the one showed in the start of this blog post.

The text labels are compared to the office location on the user profiles. If the naming convention are inconsistent, you can use the specify location pattern screen to add more information to complete the mapping. This if often used to extract floor, wing and room information from the office location in Azure AD.


The following articles from Microsoft has been used to spin this solution up, and these resources contain in depth information and answers to frequently asked questions:

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