Office 365

Introducing guest access for Office 365 Groups

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Sometimes you need to work closely with customers, partners, suppliers or consultants outside of your organization, and you need collaboration tools to make this possible. Today, we are pleased to announce the new guest access feature for Office 365 Groups—the group membership service that provides a single identity for teams in Office 365. The new guest access feature gives you the ability to include people outside of your company in an Office 365 group.

We are rolling out guest access functionality in phases. Starting today, group owners can add guests to a group in Outlook on the web. Once added, guests receive a welcome email, are granted access to group files in SharePoint Online, begin receiving email messages and calendar invites sent to the group, and can send messages to the group. They also have automatic access to cloud-based file attachments. Guests have the option to leave the group at any time and visual indicators remind all members of guest participation in the group across all Outlook experiences.

Office Groups GIF

Guest access works for any email accounts including corporate and consumer domains (such as or If the guest email identity is associated with a Microsoft account (such as Office 365 or accounts, for instance), the user is directed to a sign-in page to identify themselves. If the guest doesn’t have a Microsoft account, they will be directed to a sign-up page to create an account.

Learn more

Get the latest on Office 365 Groups at Microsoft Ignite

Hear more about guest access in Office 365 Groups at the “Collaborate outside of the firewall with Office 365 Groups” session at the Microsoft Ignite event, September 26–30 in Atlanta. Sessions will be available online following the event. See our Sway for a complete list of Office 365 Groups sessions at the event.

—Christophe Fiessinger, @cfiessinger, senior program manager for the Office 365 Groups team

  1. Awesome! I’m hoping that this will extend to all parts of the Group including Planner. I’d love to migrate from Basecamp but I need to be able to assign task to people outside of the org.

    • Teemu,
      Guest access has started rolling out to First Release customers today and will last for a few weeks before we go worldwide.

  2. Please add possibility to set Calendar permissions so that only select people in the group can edit the calendar. This would help tremendously.

  3. Was waiting for this feature for a quite long time.. Great Guys.. Keep it up!!!

    • Benedict, you are very welcome! More innovations to come…

  4. The one part not clear to me is what kind of access they will get by default? And can we control that so we don’t end up with the “guest user deleted all the Group files” scenario?

    The help articles indicate that this might be possible by controlling the settings template, however I cannot see any matching option.

    Also, might be a good idea to update the help articles with the instructions on how to control Guest access per group (the 08d542b9-071f-4e16-94b0-74abb372e3d9 template).

    • Yes it does, you have access to the full SharePoint team site including the OneNote notebook.

  5. Is there a way to tell in the Admin console or Powershell when a tenant has this available. I am still getting “you can only add individuals who are in your organization” when trying to add a guest member.

    • Same here. We’re on First Release but still don’t have this as yet. This has been eagerly awaited here so we are keen to get testing.

    • I’s also like to know the answer to this

    • I’d also like to know the answer to this

      • if you are on First Release you should now be able to see this feature, please try it out.

        • I am on First Release, still getting this message as well as of 1 pm ET today. Tried it on both an existing group and also on a newly created group, same result.

  6. Cool, it ia possible to share nly a folder from group files with external users, or only the whole site ?

    • Guest as a member of a group is intended to get full access of groups document library.
      Granular level of access control of files to guests can be achieved through the Individual file and folder sharing functionality that is currently available through SharePoint.

  7. I’m a little confused by this. To me, guest access is not having to sign up for a microsoft account.

    If they need to sign up for a microsoft account, it seems like the only thing that’s changed is that you will send them an email with an invite to sign up for an account.

    True guest access would allow access with the anonymous link. But maybe I’m missing something

    • Reading the announcement, I was left thinking the same… :/

    • Gabriel the ask from customers was to have a team member who’s part of the team/group be able to fully participate in group activity: communicate, work on deliverables, meet etc. It was not designed for anonymous one off file sharing which you can achieve with SharePoint Online today.
      With regards to non-Microsoft account, let’s say a Gmail account, the guest will be using that account to send and receive emails with the group and to access and edit files or leverage the shared notebook for instance. There is no need to create another account. Please try it out when it’s available in your tenant.

  8. Great news, was looking for this today!

    Is it share everything or nothing or are you able to share only specific documents in a group like OneDrive or SP Site? An will guest links be available for documents?

    • Dave, guests as members of the group will get everything as member except for group management actions. Granular control of individual folder and file sharing can still be performed from the SP site.

      • Any estimate on when the graph api access will be available for guest users?

  9. Please give read-only permission to Guest first and let users change that if they wish to. It could be a disaster if some end user invite guests not fully understanding the implications and consequences.

    • Agree, there are many business associates who are just getting comfortable with O365 and not constraining these permissions could lead to security breaches with other client acct activities. Please be sure that the permissions are spelled out to those providing them.

    • Sahil, REST APIs will not be available in the first release of guest access feature.

      • Any estimate on when the graph api access will be available for guest users?

  10. Just wondering if there is a way to make the creation of groups default to “Private” instead of “Public”. Users create the groups without a lot of consideration and having the default set to “Public” is not good for IT Administrators. It would also be great if administrators could control who had the ability to create public groups, or that function could be turned off.

  11. I was excited to see I have the Guests option available now. However, it will not let me save the group membership if I add a guest. I tested adding an internal person and it saved fine. 🙁 It hasn’t rolled out to my whole tenant yet so it’s not a problem for us, yet.

    • I have the same problem. The new guest access settings are available in the admin center, and I configured per the support docs, but it will not let me add guest members, even after waiting overnight to ensure the settings would propagate through the system.

  12. Great feature. Several of our group owners are seeing the Guest Option but not all group owners. Is this being rolled out based upon specific user or to the entire tenant at one time?

    • Patti, it will depend on how you have your tenant set up (selected users or entire tenant), you can check how your tenant is set up in Office 365 portal under Settings > Organization Profile.

  13. Is this related to external activation in the admin console of SharePoint? If we have external access activated on the Tenant will it be activated in groups? Or is it unrelated and regardless of external access activated in SharePoint or not this is possible for our users?

  14. Hi, wonderful news!
    Does guest access for Office 365 Groups include forced multifactor authorization?

  15. I just tested Guest access in our tenant where External sharing is disabled and am disappointed in the user experience. First, the guest user is added – thus creating an object in Azure Active Directory, then the guest user gets the email to accept, they create their Microsoft account and THEN get the message “External Sharing is disabled” with the idea to “ask the site admin to re-enable external sharing”. If we have external sharing disabled, and we have a valid business reason, then the user should not be able to add the guest in the first place. First it’s a poor experience for the user who is adding the guest and doesn’t know it won’t work, it’s a poor experience for the guest user trying to access the group but can’t and then we are left these guest objects in AAD. Is this going to be addressed quickly I hope?

  16. Two questions.

    Firstly, We have enabled Guest access within our development tenant. Unfortunately group owners still do not have ability to give guest access it only allows them to add colleagues within my organisation. What do we need to do?

    Secondly, We would like everybody to be able to create groups but have restricted ownership because we appear to not be able to retrieve the info from groups that owners have deleted. Is there any way for admins to do this even from private groups? If not can we prevent users Owners from deleting the group?

  17. We’ve enabled it on our tenant and yet group owners can still not add guest access 24 hrs later. Any ideas why?

    • It usually takes 10 mins to 24 hours for settings to be available. Please make sure your tenant is on first release.

  18. Also, is it possible to restore Groups that have already been deleted including private ones where the admin is not a member? If it is not possible can we restrict owners permissions so that they cannot delete the group?

    • Gavin we’ll introduce a “soft delete” feature in the future as mentioned on our product roadmap on we’ll be sharing more information at Ignite next week (yes recordings will be publically available to everyone).
      For additional Office 365 Groups questions, please leverage our dedicated forum:

  19. Hi, Just to be sure…you need to have or create a Microsoft account to join as a guest? If so, when will you change it to Slack/ Spark style guest access with the need to have an MS account?

  20. Can someone comment on what the “Phased launch” refers to? Based on the table of attributes available to guest users, viewing the group calendar is not an option at this moment. This is the primary benefit of the group feature in my opinion? When will feature this be available?

    • Thanks Jon for reaching out!
      Phased launch means that the feature is first released to customers who are part of First Release program & then to 5% tenants, 10% & then 100% WW.

      I take your feedback of group calendar viewing & will include it in our road-map.

  21. I am still not able to use this feature. I am still getting “you can only add individuals who are in your organization” message. When can i start using this feature?

    • Thanks Safak for reaching! This feature is currently available to First Release Customers, if you want to use this feature please contact your administrator to enable the tenant for first release.

  22. Hi,
    Anybody who long before it is rolling out in Denmark?

    • Laust, this feature is WW released and enabled only to first release customers, if you want to use this feature, please contact your administrator to the tenant for first release.

      • Can this work if only selected users are on the release track?

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