External Users in SharePoint Online, part II: External User Accepts Invitation

In the last post, I showed how to invite an external user to SharePoint. Let’s see what this experience looks like for a person you invited to join the SharePoint website.

There are two different use cases here.


Use case 1

If an external user has Microsoft or Organizational account, he can just click the link in the invitation email and log in with his Microsoft username and password (if necessary).






Use case 2

If an external user does NOT have Microsoft or Organizational account (invitation was sent to Gmail, e.g.), he has to create a new Microsoft account before accessing the SharePoint web site. This process is much longer, as you might expect.

So, the user receives an email to his “non-Microsoft” address and clicks the link similar to the one marked bellow.


Then, he has to select the account type. But, since a new account needs to be created, he cannot click “Organizational account” tile (as he cannot register for such an account). User should click the “Microsoft account” tile.


On the sign in form, user clicks “Sign up now” at the bottom of the page.


On the registration form, user should enter his personal data…


… and click “Create account” at the bottom.


As stated on the screenshot bellow, user needs to confirm their identity…


… by checking his inbox and clicking the link in the newly received verification email.


User is informed that the account is created and verified. However, this does not take him to project site. He needs to go back to the invitation email…


… and click invitation link again.


But that’s not the end of the story. User has to click the “Microsoft account” tile again in order to be transferred to the SharePoint web site.


Anyway, in both use cases, this is what the user sees at the end of the process – Homepage of the project he was invited to:



5 responses to “External Users in SharePoint Online, part II: External User Accepts Invitation”

  1. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! You’ve let the Targaryns on SharePoint! Winter is coming!

  2. steve branigan Avatar
    steve branigan

    How could Microsoft have such a closed policy on this.

    My organisation has a use case where we want to create a user portal for our clients so that we can share product related information with our customers via the portal. 70% of our clients are using non-Microsoft email accounts. Limiting this is a serious hindrance to our business and it now what we expected when we signed up for the SharePoint 365 service as part of our business office 365 service.

    Is there a plan on Microsoft side to ever accommodate sign-on to SharePoint with a non-Microsoft account?

    We’re extremely disappointed that this is not a supported feature as we now have to go and pay for another service so that we can provide this to our customers.

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  4. I know the above comment about non-MS accounts is a bit old, but it should be noted that this process is only for creating a Microsoft login account, which you can do using non-Microsoft email addresses. Note the example is using a Gmail email address to create the login account.
    Also, you can enable anonymous links in SharePoint if you really want to, just recognize that you won’t be able to control access to the content if you don’t control who has possession of that link. Having users log in is a much more secure way to control access, and can be done using non-MS accounts.

  5. Patrick Avatar

    As a note; if you are invited and are already linked to an external account, you must: ensure that you have made it your primary alias in order to gain access for information requiring your external e-mail address and have verified your e-mail previously.

Hey there! I’m Toni, the Co-Founder and CEO of Syskit, creators of Syskit Point and SPDocKit. Welcome to Toni on Tech, where we explore the ever-evolving world of software, technology, and business.