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We are moving parts of our intranet to SharePoint Online and need to allow access to it by some partners who we aren't covering with full E3 licenses. These users are currently managed in AD with usernames and passwords. We've been told that in SPO, they will need to be invited as external users.

Is there a way to automate the process of inviting them?

All we've found so far is manually inviting a limited number (10) at a time. We sometimes need to do 500 at once.

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If they already exist in your AD, you can dirsync them into your tenant, and give them K1 licenses instead of a full E3 license. This would give them read access to your new intranet in SharePoint Online and not have to go through the hassle of external sharing. If you are managing credentials for them already, continue to do so.

If you want to go the external route, then you could try using powershell to bulk add users using the add-spouser command. I have not tried adding bulk external users in this way, so I'm not 100% certain if the commandlet will work for it.

  • Does Add-SPOUser work for external users? If so, does it send out the normal invite? – Jaymz Oct 10 '16 at 12:44
  • "I have not tried adding bulk external users in this way, so I'm not 100% certain if the commandlet will work for it." – Eric Alexander Oct 10 '16 at 13:08
  • I read that, but to re-quote: "adding bulk external users" - I wasn't sure if that had emphasis on bulk or external. If it can be used to create a single external user, then it'll work for my use case. It's not clear from the documentation... – Jaymz Oct 10 '16 at 13:28

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