External Sharing to Non-Microsoft accounts

Iron Contributor

Is it possible to share files to people without having them create a Microsoft account yet?


I'm sure I read a blog post saying there was to be an update to external sharing where people would receive a token number to enter, rather than having to create a MS account.



40 Replies

Yes you can share it with any account without adding them as guest user. here's the blogpost



But be aware that secure links (i.e. those requiring a verification code) work only with external users not already present in AAD.

External sharing have some known issue and its working as expected. As i know MS product engineering group is still working on it.

Hi @Michael Butterfield,


@Deleted is correct. OneDrive & SharePoint now offer a capability that allows you to share files and folders with external recipients and we will not require them to create a Microsoft account. If you have any questions that aren't answered in that article, let me know!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

Thanks for your replies - we have tested it and it works fine.


However I'm not sure how long the files/ folders I shared are accessible for. In our Sharing settings in the admin centre, there is no expiry limit set. Does this mean the links will never expire? This may be the most convenient but might not be within out policies.



Hi Michael,


Unless you share via a link that works for anyone (anonymous), the sharing links do not expire today. We've definitely heard the request to expire external sharing more broadly and it's something we're looking at. Thanks!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

Hi @Stephen Rice,


I'm trying to share a file with someone who does not have a Microsoft Account. But everytime I share the file with the option "Specific People", they get an Invitation, but they get no verification code. They simply get the invitation, but they still have to sign in. Is there an option to activate the verifaction code? I can't find anything... 


Thank you!


Hi Alina


Ask the external user to click on the link ... they should be redirected to enter there external email on which the link is shared once they do that they should receive a verification code on there external mail.


However make sure that they should not have a Microsoft account (personal or work) with that email else it will ask them to enter there password instead of the verification code.




Robin Nishad


Technical Consultant

hi@Stephen Rice can you point me to the documentation on how to share a one drive file (word.docx) to external people (anybody who can click on the link) that do not have  microsoft office/mail/etc,... accounts?


it looks like choosing the <embeded link url> and sending that out works but that seems like a work around.


any information is super appreciated. thanks.


@Stephen Rice wrote:

Hi @Michael Butterfield,


@Deletedis correct. OneDrive & SharePoint now offer a capability that allows you to share files and folders with external recipients and we will not require them to create a Microsoft account. If you have any questions that aren't answered in that article, let me know!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II


Hi, I’m new to outlook. I tried to share the sharepoint to Gmail let’s say, but I only received the link which after I clicked on it, it only popped up asking me to either sign in with Microsoft account or work email. But I didn’t receive the code which other people say will have. Please advise. Thanks lot!

Hi @genxgeek,


Check out this documentation as a starting place. Select the item, click "Share" and pick the link that works for "Anyone with the link". Let me know if you have any issues!


Hi @TheGreenOne888 ,


If you did not receive the code, the mail may have gone into your spam folder. Please check there and if you don't see it, let me know! Thanks!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

Hi, I have checked in the Junk Mailbox but still didn’t find the code. May I know what might caused this as I need to share something to external parties who’s using gmail. Thanks

@TheGreenOne888 That's odd! Can you share screenshots of the experience (both sharing & receiving) that you are seeing? Thanks!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

Hi, after I re-try a few more times then somehow it works. But can I check with you, if I shared the sharepoint to people be it inside or outside of the Organization, how do I Ensure that they can’t share the folder or link of the files to other people both inside and outside of the Organization?

@TheGreenOne888 glad it is working now! Definitely let me know if you have any other issues.


And by default, any user who has edit permission to a document is allowed to share it. You can disable "MembersCanShare" on a site by site basis though which restricts all sharing to just the owner/s of the file/folder/site. Note though if you give someone a shareable link (e.g. people in your org), they will of course be able to forward that link along and give access that way.


Hope that helps!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

@Robin Nishad 

I am trying to share a folder to a client who had an MS account associated with her email address but no longer uses it, does she need to re-activate it (forgot password) or is there another way?

She has had the account suspended now trying to access it.



Just check if the user is able to log in to her MS account that is associated with the email on which you are trying to share the SharePoint file.


If the user is able to log in she can simply use her username/password to access the file. She can also reset her password by clicking forgot password.


Secondly she can also register for MS Authenticator in order to skip entering password.


If her emails is not recognized by MS, it probably means that she will get the access code on her email, in that case MS account is not needed.



@Stephen Rice 

My organization has Office 365 accounts, but we don't use Exchange online so our accounts don't match our emails (email = first.last@domain.com, but Office 365 accounts = first.last@domain.onmicrosoft.com). We have a client sharing files with a user, but it's restricted use, so he can't access them when logged into his Office 365 account, because it doesn't match the email the file was shared with. Does he have to create a whole new Microsoft account based on his email but separate from his existing 


Or is the only option to have the client resend the material to his actual Microsoft account? Since there isn't a functioning email attached to our existing Microsoft accounts, how would he even know?


I tried sharing a file using Excel to another user in my company; her name came up as I typed it & she could see the file under the Shared option, but she never got an email saying the file was shared with her. I tried to see if there was a way to add a secondary email in our Office 365 directory, but I didn't see an option.''


Any suggestions? I'd rather not have to tell a client to do things differently.


Thank you

Hi @ten35tech,


Thanks for reaching out! I think the first problem here is that the recipients should not be attempting to access the document with their O365 identity. Unless they have tied their e-mail to O365, as far as the service is concerned, the two accounts/e-mails are totally separate (and the link is secured to the first account so we wouldn't let some other account access it).


I am curious though: When the client shares to the user at first.last@domain.com, the user should click on the link and be asked to go through our one time passcode experience and then get access to the document that way. How are they hitting the access denied screen's today? Thanks!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II