My company has a SharePoint Online tenancy with a Business Essentials license. A lot of the SharePoint administration is handled through the Central Administration module, however this module is not available with the license we have. This creates a problem where I'm finding it difficult to figure out where to configure aspects of SharePoint. Many of the features configured through the Central Administration module are instead accessed through other means, or just not available. One such issue is the Usage Reports.

I'm able to find solutions for users that have the full enterprise license, as they need to go to the Central Administration module to check configurations.


Since the Usage Reports are available to us in the Admin Center, it should be safe to assume that configuration options should be able to enable the Usage Reports to gather data.

Does anyone know how to enable this feature for a SharePoint Online tenancy, that is running on a Business Essentials license?

  • In your Office 365 admin portal, do you have Security & Compliance in your Admin Centers link? May 24, 2016 at 19:55
  • I do have the Security & Compliance link in the Admin Center. I've poked around in there, not sniffed out a lead. Please continue with your thought. =)
    – JamesA
    May 24, 2016 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


The help article here says:

You (or another admin) must first turn on audit logging before you can start searching the Office 365 audit log. To turn it on, just click Start recording user and admin activity on the Audit log search page in the Security & Compliance Center. (If you don't see this link, auditing has already been turned on for your organization.) After you turn it on, a message is displayed that says the audit log is being prepared and that you can run a search in a couple of hours after the preparation is complete. You only have to do this once.

This starts Office 365 collecting audit data. Once it starts aggregating data, you can start running reports off of it, with even greater detail than previously afforded in SharePoint.

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