External users in the people picker


  • I am hoping someone can help me with external users in SharePoint online and getting it so they appear in the people picker for users to grant permissions to.

    My company has made a number of acquisitions, and at the moment we have multiple Azure Active Directories where people's cloud identities are based.  We have Office 365 linked to the company's main Azure AD and then B2B users in from the acquired companies directories in order to grant them permissions.

    We have the sharing set on the site collection to only allow external users which are already in the directory, and I have added the users, but when we start typing their name in to the people picker, it doesn't find them.  I'm sure this used to work but it feels like something has changed.

    We end up just inviting them in by typing their email address in to the people picker and them receiving an invitation, but this feels wrong when they are in the directory, surely it should search and find them like it does for identities that are based in the directory? 

    I raised this with Microsoft support and they said we needed to set the SPS-SharePointHomeExperienceState value in the user profile but we certainly didn't have to do that previously, and if its required then why doesn't it get set automatically.  Having closed the case I'm not actually convinced that has fixed anything having done more testing.

    I appreciate it isn't fair to compare them exactly, but we also use VSTS which is able to find users in its people picker immediately after adding them in the Azure AD, and I'm sure this is what used to happen in SharePoint.

    I would be grateful if someone could confirm what the experience should be, and whether it has changed, because I'm certain it didn't used to be like this.

    Tuesday, April 4, 2017 9:31 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    If you type mail address of external users in people picker, can they be found?

    External users typically cannot be found unless they are cached (as discussed above) or if they are in the user information list for the current site collection. External users need to log in SharePoint site, then they’ll be in the user information list. So, please try to log in SP site using external user account then test whether you can find this account in people picker.

    More information about type external users in people picker for your reference:


    Dean Wang

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    Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:40 AM