Cannot add Office 365 external user as a mail contact

Copper Contributor



We have many external users added to Office 365 tenant. I was trying to add one Office 365 external user as a mail contact by defining the same e-mail address in exchange but it fails.


My question is what are the steps to add external Office 365 user as mail contact? If users are not added to mail contacts people can not see the external person in Outlook address list.


Thanks: Jukka



5 Replies

i think it is impossible to add them in exchange as they are external and you do not have the permissions to use the external domains.





Thanks for reply.


I am able to add external mail contacts to Exchange easily. But if that external mail has already been used for example by sharing content to that Person/e-mail it will be added to Office 365 users list as an external user. After that it seems that I cannot add the same person to mail contacts anymore. 


But I now find out that I can find the external user from mail contacts anyway but I cannot globally edit that contact?


Thanks: Jukka 





We have had a problem with Contacts and 365 for quite some time.


We have two domains and internal and an external.


The internal has all the contacts in it and the distribution lists which contained these users.


The external has accounts created for a small subset of the contacts and use the original email addresss, but a different UPN.


We tried to sync the internal and external into Azure AD.

This had the problem where contacts that were accounts in the external domain disappeared and removed themselves from distribution lists. This obviously became a major issue. We had all our contacts in our CRM, so removed the sync. Reloaded the contacts into the internal domain and synced them all again.


So far Microsoft have not been able to provide us with any sort of work around to this issue. As we have a business requirement for all contacts and distribution lists to be available on the GAL.


So for the moment we cannot provide external access to Office 365 / Sharepoint online sites until this is resolved.


Hi @Jukka Kumpula. Did you get this to work or is there a work around.


It is not possible to add an Office 365 contact after they have been added as external user.

So effectively it is not possible to create a distribution list containing SharePoint external users.


This doesn't make sense.


Either Microsoft should allow for adding external sharepoint users as contacts OR should allow for external sharepoint users to belong to distribution lists!


 @Juan Carlos González Martín, @Dean Gross

I know this is old but I found a work-around when I ran into this issue. If the external user has already been added as a SharePoint site member, you can add them to a distribution list in the admin center under Users->Active Users.

Just click the user -> Group Memberships -> Edit -> Add Memberships.

It's not very convenient, but it will work.