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We have business partners in many external agencies, which each have several users who need access to our portal. All these people have existing business email addresses -- some are on Exchange, others use Gmail, etc.; they are not interested in creating a Microsoft account and checking a Microsoft email solely in the context of our portal.

We want to be able to create a new portal user, specify an existing, non-Microsoft email address, and that will be the user's login and primary email.

I can't figure out how to do this, and it's starting to look like it's not possible, but that seems absurd. Do all portal users have to maintain a separate Microsoft account and email address in order to use our secure portal?

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Users will need either an O365 account or a free Microsoft account. However, the original email address will be used for notifications and such, so they wouldn't need to check their Microsoft account for email.

If a user shares a site with user1@somedomain.com. User1 gets an email at that address, and clicks the link. They'll be prompted to sign in with a microsoft account, or to create a new account. Once they've gone through that process, they'll be able to access the site. In the future, they'll log in to the site with their microsoft account, but all emails will go to their contact address, which will still be user1@somedomain.com.

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if they don't have an o365 account, you can only give/enable the anonymous access, but that can give access to anyone

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    It's not anonymous, strictly speaking. Anyone with access to the given URL will have access to the file. That URL can be shared, but users without the specific url will not have access. Also, this technique only works for specified documents, not the portal as a whole. – Mike2500 May 10 '18 at 19:33

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