Querying for who is "Following" an Office 365 group?

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We have two needs:

  1. We need to list which members are either "Following" or "Not Following" a specified Office 365 group.
  2. We need a method to set all new Office 365 group members as "Following" an Office 365 group they've just been subscribed to (by the admin).


15 Replies

@Deleted - Can you elaborate on the use case you are trying to accomplish? Also note that receiving a message in the Inbox is not necessarily a way for senders to be confident that a message has been read. In addition, users can create rules and file messages in folders that they may never read. Again, it would be useful to understand the use case deeper. 


@Ravin Sachdeva

I guess he needs some kind of reporting about the usage and adoption of Groups in the organization and getting those lists could be a possible measure

This is part of a larger question about the difficulty our users are having with a specific function of OneDrive: Unless a user is "Following" an Office 365 group, the option to see it via OneDrive and to be able to copy files into that group's library is not available. Our users just cannot grasp that they need to complete several steps in order to "follow" all of the sites they'll need. Additionally, we don't see a way to administratively have certain sites "followed" by users automatically (by policy or by default). This is really frustrating for them.  Any help would be appreciated!

Hi @Daniel Smith - the notion of "Following" on SharePoint (your screenshot) is different from the notion of "Following group in Inbox" for Outlook.


Adding @Tejas Mehta and @Dave Cohen (US) to clarify your query for SharePoint.


At the moment, in modern SharePoint, when you follow a SP site, it is added to quick access in your SP nav bar (just like Favoriting). While, in Outlook, if you follow a group in inbox, you will start to receive copies of all conversations and events from that group in your inbox. I doubt if following a group in inbox in Outlook has any effect on how that group is viewed in SharePoint/OneDrive.

Correct, we're focusing on following a "site" so that it will be visible for file copies via OneDrive.

Is there a way to administratively force someone to follow a site (either by default or by ongoing policy)? This would really ease the support of our users.

Hi, did you ever find a solution to this question? Our organization is facing the same issue. 




Adding @Tejas Mehta to help here. 

@Dave Cohen (US) - can you help with this q?

Any idea if someone was successful with this? 

Get-UnifiedGroupLinks <group name> -linktype members

    This displays all members of the group.


Get-UnifiedGroupLinks <group name> -linktype subscribers

    This displays all subscribers of the group.


If you want to subscribe all members you can use:

Add-UnifiedGroupLinks <group name> -linktype subscribers -links <member name>

But, is "subscribing" the same as "following" in SharePoint Groups?

Yes, "subscribed" is the same as "following". I am not sure why MS keeps changing terminology, but it is what it is...

Unfortunately, I have found that subscribing or following in Outlook is not the same as following in Sharepoint. I would like to admistratively(powershell) allow users to follow the Sharepoint Group/Team so that the Documents Library shows up in their Onedrive page.

I found this article that discusses how the terminology can be misleading:



Hi folks,


Just to be clear - Favorite Groups in Outlook and Following Sites in SharePoint currently mean 2 different things.


Outlook: When you Favorite a Group, you would see that group added to the list of your favorites only in Outlook left navigation pane. When you 'Follow a group in Inbox' in Outlook, you will receive all conversations and events from that group in your Outlook inbox.


SharePoint: For modern SharePoint sites, when you follow a site, that site would get added to the 'Following' section on the SharePoint left navigation pane. 


We do understand that the terminology we currently have in the products is confusing and we are working to improve the consistency and coherence of the apps across the suite. Since there are a few places where we need to fix this (without breaking current user flow/expectation) this might take a little bit of time. Please bear with us and thanks for your patience.  


Greetings from Vancouver Island, Canada.  James, in the answer I'm replying to, are these powershell commands?  Is the last one the command to force following? Or, after using this command, everybody gets emails, etc. in the inbox until they unfollow.. What I mean is you can set em all but there's no way to prevent the user to unfollow.