Did you ever feel the need of assigning access to Outlook-web to certain guests for a short period of time? Office 365 has a default way of adding guests’ users but adding them is slightly different than the normal identities.
Guest Access in Office 365
The first thing to understand is that guest users are created automatically when you invite users in SharePoint Online. If you want to share documents, entire folders, or any files to certain users who are not permanent employee using SharePoint online, Office 365 will automatically create a guest user account for them.
In a ‘Share’ dialog box, you can add their email accounts, choose if they can edit the documents or not, compose a message, set the sign-in status, and more. Office 365 will show a simple message that the recipients you have entered are outside of your organization.
In this case, it’s only after they have accepted the invitation and have logged in using their email address, is the account created. When this is done, you can go back to your Office 365 admin portal and see these “guests” accounts in the ‘Active Users Page.’
Guests accounts have only limited access to the content, as they are not assigned any Office license:
- They can view or edit (depending on the access) sites, folders, files and documents, etc. that the administrator assigned during SharePoint online ‘Shared’ dialog box
- You can add these guest users as Team members in SharePoint, which also lets them modify the documents shared with the team
Now, let’s look at how you can create a guest user account manually even if you don’t want to use that account in SharePoint online yet. This can be done by Office 365 admin portal by going into your Azure AD admin center. Below is a simple tutorial through the GUI of Office 365, which is the simplest way to do it unless you need to add multiple users in bulk.
- Step 1: Login to the Office 365 admin portal using the administrator account
- Step 2: Click on “Admin Centers” à Azure Active Directory à Click on “Dashboard”
- Step 3: Click on “All Users” à click ‘New Guest User’
- Step 4: Simply add the email address of the person you want to add as a guest user, write a personal message if you want, and click “Invite.”
All the details are entered by the guest user himself after they accept the invitation. Once their registration process is finished, they can login to the Office 365 center, although no access will be there as it must be done by you/administrator first.
Guests users created this way cannot open any application because no access has been given yet. However, the admins with the privilege of adding these guests to their teams can add them to the teams and then, the guest’s users get access to whatever that team has access to.
We hope this article has been helpful to you in understanding the basics of the guest’s users and how to add/create them. The fundamental benefit of guest’s user accounts as compared to the standard identities is that you do not need to assign them any Office license. They do not get a blanket access to everything and all the data a standard user get. But they can be added to specific groups that relate to some specific projects within your organization.