Configure sensitivity label policies


Creating a sensitivity label has no effect on users until it's published. You create sensitivity label policies to publish one or more labels to your Office apps (like Outlook and Word), SharePoint sites, Microsoft 365 groups, and Microsoft Teams. Once published, labels can be applied to protect their content. Here are the steps involved in sensitivity label policy configuration:

  • Choose labels to publish
  • Publish to users and groups
  • Policy settings
  • Name and description
  • Review your settings

Sensitivity label policy configuration.

Step 1: Choose labels to publish

The first step is selecting one or more existing sensitivity labels to publish. This policy publishes the sensitivity label Top Secret in the example.

Choose sensitivity labels to publish.

Step 2: Publish to users and groups

This step involves choosing the users or groups to whom the labels should be published. This governs what users see the label, not where they see the label. The types of groups supported are email enabled-security groups, dynamic distribution groups, and Microsoft 365 Groups. Consider publishing the label to a test group with a few members first. You can add more groups to the policy once you validate it's working correctly.

Publish to users and groups.

Step 3: Policy settings

You can choose to have a default label, mandatory label, or require users to justify their actions.

Default label

You can select whether you want to apply a default label to documents and email. The options are a combination of None and the labels you selected for publishing in the Choose labels to publish step.

Justification for removal

Selecting this option means the user has to provide justification if a label is removed or if the classification is lowered. An example of lowering a classification might be changing the label from Confidential to Public. Label changes and removals are tracked in Activity explorer.

Require label

Selecting this option means users are required to apply a label to their email or document, prior to sending or saving.

Custom help

Provide users with a link to a custom help page that provides additional information about the label policy. The admin would have to have the help content already created for this capability to work properly.

Policy settings.

Step 4: Name and description

Now that you have added custom policy settings, it's time to give it a name.


Enter a friendly name for the label policy.


Enter a description helpful for admins who manage this label policy.

Name your policy.

Step 5: Review your settings

You're given one last opportunity to review and edit your settings before submission. Submitting the label policy publishes the labels to the users and groups selected during this process.

Review and finish.

Create labels and label policies interactive guide

Use the interactive guide for a walkthrough on creating sensitivity labels and sensitivity label policies.

Cover for an interactive guide that says How to: Create labels and label policies.

Learn more