No Organizational Units? Can't auto-assign or sort by groups?

Copper Contributor

I am exploring the potential use of Office 365 / Azure for education for our small school district. However we are primarily a Google G Suite user and that is not going to go away, so the Microsoft accounts are being relegated to an ms.* subdomain so that outlook does not conflict with GMail's ownership of the primary domain.


Something that I find to be incredibly annoying about the Admin Center is that there does not seem to be any implementation of Organizational Units to separate people into logical groups role or function. This is bizarre. Google G Suite implements OUs and Active Directory implements OUs on traditional Windows domain controllers. 


Google OUs.pngAD Ous.png


The only way that I have been able to find to sort people in the Admin Center, is to enable the Department field and sort by department. Even though we have no use for that field otherwise.


But then if I go over to the Azure Active Directory Admin Center list of users, there is no way to choose the Department field as a column for sorting the users list. What???


Okay so there are security groups, and user templates. And yet oddly there is no way to assign users to security groups via the user templates. Once again, what the heck is going on here? Traditional Windows Active Directory user templates allow assignment to security groups.


And then finally, even if I do create security groups and assign them to users, there is no way in the user list to enable a "show assigned security groups" column and sort users by their security group.


In summary, the user interface for the Admin Center is just bizarre, like it is a half-completed alpha version that has not yet passed quality assurance. 


And yet Microsoft is actively trying to coax people to switch from G Suite and traditional Active Directory to the unorganized mess that is the Admin Center? Weird.

2 Replies

You need to adjust your expectations and/or do some additional research - neither Office 365 nor Azure are positioned as replacement for "traditional" AD. If that's what you are looking for, Azure AD Domain Services is the closest you can get. 

I have worked out a solution to implement Organizational Units on Office 365 Admin Center.


  1. We are not going to be using Outlook email, because we already use Google G Suite GMail, and it is unnecessary to have duplicate Outlook accounts too. So the Display Name of the Microsoft accounts is not particularly important.
  2. The Display Name field seems to be tolerant of punctuation and symbols.
  3. The Display Name text field is rather long for unknown reasons.


Fine, I will stick my Organizational Unit categories in the Display Name field:


Organization Unit categories as part of Display Name.png


And thus the mess that is thousands of staff and students in a K-12 public school being randomly sorted by name only, is suddenly divided into logical categories, and can be sorted by those logical categories. Amazing!


The design of the Office 365 Admin Console is unimaginably dumb. Why would anyone at Microsoft think it is a good idea to not provide support for customizable account categorization and then not be able to sort accounts by those custom categories?