How to: Download logs in Azure Active Directory
The Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) portal gives you access to three types of activity logs:
- Sign-ins: Information about sign-ins and how your resources are used by your users.
- Audit: Information about changes applied to your tenant such as users and group management or updates applied to your tenant’s resources.
- Provisioning: Activities performed by a provisioning service, such as the creation of a group in ServiceNow or a user imported from Workday.
Azure AD stores the data in these logs for a limited amount of time. As an IT administrator, you can download your activity logs to have a long-term backup. This article explains how to download activity logs in Azure AD.
The option to download the data of an activity log is available in all editions of Azure AD. You can also download activity logs using Microsoft Graph; however, downloading logs programmatically requires a premium license.
The following roles provide read access to audit logs. Always use the least privileged role, according to Microsoft Zero Trust guidance.
- Reports Reader
- Security Reader
- Security Administrator
- Global Reader (sign-in logs only)
- Global Administrator
Log download details
Azure AD stores activity logs for a specific period. For more information, see How long does Azure AD store reporting data? By downloading the logs, you can control how long logs are stored.
Azure AD supports the following formats for your download:
Timestamps in the downloaded files are based on UTC.
For large data sets (> 250,000 records), you should use the reporting API to download the data.
Issues downloading large data sets
The Azure Portal downloader will time out if you attempt to download large data sets. Generally, data sets smaller than 250,000 records work well with the browser download feature. If you face issues completing large downloads in the browser, you should use the reporting API to download the data.
How to download activity logs
You can access the activity logs from the Monitoring section of Azure AD or from the Users page of Azure AD. If you view the audit logs from the Users page, the filter category will be set to UserManagement. Similarly, if you view the audit logs from the Groups page, the filter category will be set to GroupManagement. Regardless of how you access the activity logs, your download is based on the filter you've set.
- Navigate to the activity log you need to download.
- Adjust the filter for your needs.
- Select Download.
- For audit and sign-in logs, a window appears where you'll select the download format (CSV or JSON).
- For provisioning logs, you'll select the download format (CSV of JSON) from the Download button.
- You can change the File Name of the download.
- Select the Download button.
- The download processes and sends the file to your default download location.
The following screenshot shows the download window from the audit and sign-in log download process.
The following screenshot shows menu options for the provisioning log download process.
If your tenant has enabled the sign-in logs preview, more options are available after selecting Download. The sign-in logs preview include interactive and non-interactive user sign-ins, service principal sign-ins, and managed identity sign-ins.
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