My client is using Office 365 and has SharePoint Online. Is there a way to send emails to external users or external email address using workflows?

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This is what happens when I try to enter an external email address in the To: field in the workflow I'm creating. When I publish and run the workflow on the site and it meets the condition The email address entered never receive the email.

  • Please, look at the similar question sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/97703/…
    – Roman
    Jun 13, 2014 at 20:38
  • Not sure if this would work, so not adding as an answer, but try adding the external emails as contacts in the Exchange admin area. Maybe it will then allow the email to be used in workflows.
    – wjervis
    Jul 7, 2014 at 11:40

4 Answers 4


The solution as I found recently, is to use the 2010 workflow to send the email as it is not bound by the restrictions. The 2013 workflow is in only sending to users known by the tenancy (i.e. those with accounts).

In my case I did all the main bulk of the workflow in 2013 with loops and all the nice new features, then used a really simple parameter driven 2010 workflow which just took an email address and a title and body for initiation parameters and used those to form the email message and 'to' address, then set the 2010 workflow to not start on new, update or manually.

Then my master 2013 workflow used an action of Start Workflow to start my 2010 email workflow, passing in parameters from the list of other variables as required. This works really well even in my scenario where i'm looping through a list of 400 people with a web service call and emailing updates to them.

The solution is akin to something like C# where you have a simple method to do the email task and call it from various places with a few parameters. Hope that helps!

  • Can I use this 2010 workflow approach to send an email to an external email address from the SharePoint app?
    – Aks
    Aug 11, 2016 at 10:39

If you need to use SP 2013 workflow functionality, but also send an email to external users then you should:

  1. Create a SP2010 Workflow that handles just sending the email
  2. Publish the SP2010 workflow
  3. Create a SP2013 workflow, do all work here, except email
  4. At point the SP2013 workflow should email out, instead have it run the SP2010 workflow, and pass in any relevant parameters.
  • how to add 2010 workflow to SharePoint hosted app(solution created in SharePoint 2013)????is it possible to add these both type of workflow to your single solution which is for SharePoint 2013 hosted app
    – Madhav
    Aug 16, 2016 at 10:56

SharePoint Designer workflows can send emails to any email address: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-designer-help/send-e-mail-in-a-workflow-HA010239042.aspx.

Alerts can only be sent to users in the SharePoint site. So, no random email addresses.

  • I posted an error im getting when i try to use external email's in the workflow
    – zingwing
    Jun 5, 2014 at 13:49

Share SharePoint online site with external user, close the SharePoint designer 2013 workflow.

After this step, re-open the workflow, you will able to see external added user in email list.

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