Assign Microsoft 365 licenses to users
Check out all of our small business content on Small business help & learning.
You can assign licenses to users on either the Active users page, or on the Licenses page. The method you use depends on whether you want to assign product licenses to specific users or assign users licenses to a specific product.
- As an admin, you can't assign or unassign licenses for a self-service purchase subscription bought by a user in your organization. You can take over a purchase or trial subscription, and then assign or unassign licenses.
- For some subscriptions, you can only cancel during a limited window of time after you buy or renew your subscription. If the cancellation window has passed, turn off recurring billing to cancel the subscription at the end of its term.
Learn how to add a user and assign a license at the same time.
If you need help with the steps in this topic, consider working with a Microsoft small business specialist. With Business Assist, you and your employees get around-the-clock access to small business specialists as you grow your business, from onboarding to everyday use.
Before you begin
- You must be a Global, License, or User admin to assign licenses. For more information, see About Microsoft 365 admin roles.
- You can assign Microsoft 365 licenses to user accounts with PowerShell.
- To use group-based licensing, see Assign licenses to users by group membership in Azure Active Directory
- Some services, like Sway, are automatically assigned to users, and don't need to be assigned individually.
- If you're a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and you bought products on behalf of a customer, you can't use the Your products page to assign or unassign licenses for certain products, like perpetual software. To assign or unassign licenses for those products, use the Licenses page.
Use the Licenses page to assign licenses to users
The Licenses page lets you assign or unassign licenses for up to 20 users at a time. The page shows the products you own, the number of available licenses for each product, and the number of assigned licenses out of the total licenses available.
The Licenses page shows an aggregate total of licenses for all subscriptions for the same product name. For example, you might have one subscription for Microsoft 365 Business Premium that has five licenses, and another subscription that has eight licenses for the same product. The Licenses page shows that you have a total of 13 licenses for Microsoft 365 Business Premium across all your subscriptions. This number is different from what you see on the Your products page, which displays a row for each subscription you own, even if they are for the same product.
Select a product.
On the product details page, select Assign licenses.
In the Assign licenses to users pane, begin typing a name, and then choose it from the results to add it to the list. You can add up to 20 users at a time.
Select Turn apps and services on or off to assign or remove access to specific items.
When you're finished, select Assign, then close the right pane.
If there's a conflict, you see a message that tells you what the problem is, and how to fix it. For example, if you selected licenses that contain conflicting services, the error message says to review the services included with each license and try again.
Change the apps and services a user has access to
On the Licenses page, select the row for a specific user.
In the right pane, select or deselect the apps and services that you want to give access to or remove access from.
When you're finished, select Save, then select Close.
Use the Active users page to assign licenses
When you use the Active users page to assign licenses, you assign users licenses to products.
Assign licenses to multiple users
Select the circles next to the names of the users that you want to assign licenses to.
At the top, select Manage product licenses.
In the Manage product licenses pane, select Assign more: Keep the existing licenses and assign more > Next.
Under Licenses, select the box for the license(s) that you want the selected users to have.
By default, all services associated with those licenses are automatically assigned to the users. You can limit which services are available to the users. Deselect the boxes for the services that you don't want the users to have.
At the bottom of the pane, select Save changes.
You might have to buy more licenses if you don't have enough licenses for everyone.
If you want to assign licenses for a large number of users, use Assign licenses to users by group membership in Azure Active Directory.
Assign licenses to one user
Select the row of the user that you want to assign a license to.
In the right pane, select Licenses and Apps.
Expand the Licenses section, select the boxes for the licenses that you want to assign, then select Save changes.
Assign a license to a guest user
You can invite guest users to collaborate with your organization in the Azure Active Directory admin center. To learn about guest users, see What is guest user access in Azure Active Directory B2B?. If you don't have any guest users, see Quickstart: Add guest users to your directory in the Azure portal.
You must be a Global admin to do these steps.
Go to the Azure Active Directory admin center.
In the navigation pane, select Users.
On the Users | All Users (Preview) page, select Add filters.
In the Pick a field menu, choose User type, then select Apply.
In the next menu, select Guest.
In the list of results, select the user who needs a license.
Under Manage, select Licenses.
On the Update license assignments page, select the product you want to assign a license for.
On the right, clear the check boxes for any services you don't want the guest user to have access to.
If your users don't yet have the Microsoft 365 apps installed, you can share the Employee quick start guide with your users to set up things, like Download and install or reinstall Microsoft 365 or Office 2021 on a PC or Mac and Set up Microsoft 365 apps and email on a mobile device.
Understand subscriptions and licenses (article)
Unassign licenses from users (article)
Buy or remove licenses for your subscription (article)
Submit and view feedback for