Sharepoint Online - users access without licenses

Brass Contributor


I have question about internal users access to Sharepoint Online Site Collections without license.


What i know:

- users can access to the sites without license (e.g. where are Everyone permisssions)



- i'm finding oficial answer of Microsoft how it's working and how it will be in the future

- how can i setup and prepare our customers with this option for the future (for businesses cases, company license model etc. )


Actual situation:

- my opinion is: actual situation is good for us, internal users (without licenses) can access to documents and colaborate with collegues which have licenses

- we can extend our intranet to O365, create separated zone (sites) for shareing documents without affecting internal documents.

- after shareing sites to external user (to microsoft account) From this contact is created regular cloud account To this user you can assing license etc.





9 Replies
Internal users without licenses will be able to see content to which they have permissions, but will not be able to make any changes.
External users will be able to do whatever they have been giver permission to do.
You don't need to assign licenses to external users, see

You mention extending your Intranet to O365. Does that mean you currently have SP on-premises or do you have some other intranet software. If it is SP, you can do a Hybrid configuration.

Thank you for response.


1. About Internal/External users - this will be in the future or it's right now?


i've made few tests now:

- allow full control for internal (synchronized) user to O365 root site. After login user can do everything with permissions Full control

- allowing Full control for External user was same as with internal


2. About shareing to external users i know options (thank you for link) -  this point is clear for me

3. Yes we have SP onpemise and in the near future will be created hybrid envirtonment - this point is clear for me.

Actually @Dean Gross, that's not entirely true.  For internal users, you can ask Microsoft (via a support ticket) to either enforce or not enforce the license requirement for SharePoint Online.


When migrating from on premise to online, it can often be easier to not enforce the license, which is why Microsoft has made this an option. 


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


All of that said, it's important to remember that this is a technical way to enforce the licenses -- no matter what you choose, you are still required to purchase licenses for your internal users.



Exactly, we did not realise our users were not licensed until we came to testing OneDrive and without a license you cannot use that service at all.

@Deleted, thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten about that option.

Is this a permanent soltuion/feature?  Allowing internal users access to SharePoint Online prior to getting their license for SharePoint/OneDrive allows us the chance to focus on OneDrive and O365 portal adoption while continuing the migration of SharePoint sites from On-premise to SharePoint Online at a different pace.  Or will Microsoft at a later date say, sorry, this option is no longer available.  Note: we do have the required SharePoint licenses.

@Laurie Beamish - this was described to me as a mistake someone made a few years and now it's impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.


However, you're right - Microsoft could simply flip a switch without notifying anyone (the switch to not enforce it was implemented with no notification).

I read the post (after submitting my question on another thread) and thought I might try posting my question here in the hop eof a better response :)


I have a query around the licensing for internal users within a specific scenario where SharePoint is not been used directly but only there as a data source for another custom made web solution.


Let me explain, say we have


1) Installation of SharePoint or purchase of SharePoint online at http://mySharePoint.

2) A custom web application http://babyIntranet running on and using a low privilege service account to pull information from SharePoint like lists or document libraries.


Any internal users accessing http://mySharePoint will need a license (online) or CAL (on-prem),understood. I will merge the terminology of CAL and license for the rest of the question.


But what about internal users only accessing http://babyIntranet, they are not technically using SharePoint just the web application (which incidentally is querying SharePoint with a service account). Do these internal users need a SharePoint CAL?


In addition what if a background service was copying data from SharePoint to a separate database and http://babyIntranet was using that database as a data source. Surely then internal users would not need a SharePoint CAL for using http://babyIntranet ?

You would want to review this scenario with your Microsoft licensing rep.  There is nothing worse than a true-up that requires additional licenses because you didn't understand the license model.