Users Without Sharepoint License Available in People Picker

Iron Contributor

I recently noticed a behavior in the "People Picker" in Onedrive and Sharepoint Online that's kind of an issue. When a user attempts to share a file or folder and searches for users to share with, we are seeing results for users that do not have a Sharepoint license. These are users who only have an Exchange Online license and who we do not have any intention of sharing with. These users do not have a Sharepoint profile, and do not show up in a people search.


This did not happen in the past, and I'm unable to tell for certain when it began happening. Does anyone else have the same experience, and do you know why this might be happening? Is it possible to prevent this?



8 Replies
AFAIK, people picker does not check if the user has or not a SPO license...if simply checks if the user is in the O365 AD or it's just simply a user you can share information with because your tenant and site collection are configured in that way
Thanks, I thought that would be the answer. I'm certain it didn't work this way in the past - I'm guessing this behavior changed as the sharing controls in Sharepoint evolved? Anyway, it's a user experience issue that we're going to have to try to work around.

I remember it working this way for several years. I remember having issues when users without licenses would get invited to a site.

Hmmm.... that's puzzling.

I had the same issue in the past and found the answer in the topic at


For internal users, you can ask Microsoft (via a support ticket) to either enforce or not enforce the license requirement for SharePoint Online.

Microsoft has also recently changed a related issue: if you have licensing enforced, those user accounts will no longer appear in the People Picker.


I think your current tenant setting is to not enforce the license requirement for SharePoint Online. 

Can you please share an official Microsoft document stating such things?


In February I had a MS case. The engineer answered me the question why internal users without a SharePoint Online Plan are able to access sites MS does not validate the SPO license, in the current state. Users can access SharePoint Online without a SPO Plan, nevertheless the company is responsible to license the users. A SPO Plan is always required for OneDrive for Business. 


The short remark of the case:

Regarding your concern around accessing the SharePoint Online environment without a SPO license. Yes, you can provide users part of your Office 365 tenant and without an SPO license access to your SharePoint Online environment.


After that I found the mentioned topic, and as Kelly wrote in the linked topic it's an unofficial notification. 


Microsoft could simply flip a switch without notifying anyone (the switch to not enforce it was implemented with no notification).



Hi Tobias, thanks for your answer.

We have discussed many times this topic and the conclusion has always been that the words of an MS support representative, or of an MS commercial representative, have absolutely no value in absence of an MS official statement.

The reality is that, to access SPO resources, internal users MUST have a license, At the moment such requirement is not technically enforced, but this does not mean that it is not valid.

Hope it helps...