My organization uses Office 365 for email distribution lists and to host an internal SharePoint site for document storage.

We currently use distribution list Groups to host the email lists. I now want to give the same external users the ability to log into the SharePoint site (as external users, without licenses).

I would ideally use a single Distribution List or Mail-enabled Security group to grant both email list and SharePoint access via a single Group. However, that appears to not be possible.

Instead, I've created a new Security Group to mirror the list of external users. I've added my personal email as a member of this group.

Security Group

Opening the SharePoint site, I press "Share" and the Security Group autocompletes in the list.

Share the SharePoint

After sharing, the Security Group appears in the "Shared With" list:

Shared With List

So, this all appears to be working within the Sharepoint / Office 365 interface.

But, my personal email never receives an invite to the SharePoint or any mail at all.

When I try to access the Sharepoint via URL, I log in with my personal Microsoft account using the same email that is added to the Security Group.

That gives the error:

That didn't work

We're sorry, but yourEmail@example.com can't be found in the yourDomain.sharepoint.com directory. Please try again later, while we try to automatically fix this for you.

That didn't work We're sorry

Why isn't this working?

How can I create a Group of people, and add all of them to the Sharepoint as external users?

Bonus points if a single list of email addresses can be used for both the email distribution list and for the Sharepoint access.

NOTE: I'm unable to use the new "Office 365 Groups" for this as those have other undesirable behaviors. Namely, generating a new, unneeded SharePoint site for the Group and allowing users to unsubscribe from the Group's emails.

  • 1
    If you did not invite the external user, they cannot have access until you do so. You must invite them to something, either to SharePoint directly via their email, or via Azure AD B2B invite process. In other words, what you're seeing is correct behavior. – Trevor Seward Mar 2 at 0:59
  • @TrevorSeward I'm adding them to the group, and then also adding the group to the sharepoint. Why is neither of those adds enough to "invite" the email to the sharepoint? Can I properly invite all of the users at once via a Group, or do I need to maintain another list of all of the same emails? – pkamb Mar 2 at 2:35
  • Because you need to follow the processes that trigger an invite. Either adding them directly to Azure AD, then to SharePoint, or directly to SharePoint (via Office 365 Group or SharePoint group). – Trevor Seward Mar 2 at 16:57
  • @TrevorSeward what is a SharePoint group? Office 365 Group seems untenable due to the issues mentioned at the bottom of the question. – pkamb Mar 2 at 20:04
  • The ones provisioned with the site. <SiteName> Owners, Members, and Visitors. – Trevor Seward Mar 2 at 20:04

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