Guest access in Microsoft Teams

Guest access is one of the features customers asked for the most. Here’s how you can keep up with our progress on guest access and tell us your thoughts:

Guest access overview

Guest access allows teams in your organization to collaborate with people outside your organization by granting them access to existing teams and channels on one or more of your tenants. Anyone with a business or consumer email account, such as Outlook, Gmail, or others, can participate as a guest in Teams with full access to team chats, meetings, and files.

Guest access is included with many Office 365 subscriptions with no additional licensing requirement. For more information about licensing, see Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration licensing guidance.

Guest access is a tenant-level setting in Microsoft Teams and is turned off by default. Guest access is subject to Azure AD and Office 365 service limits.

Note

Users in your organization who have standalone Office 365 subscription plans only, such as Exchange Online Plan 2, cannot be invited as guests to your organization because Teams considers these users to belong to the same organization. For these users to use Teams, they must be assigned an Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise, or Office 365 Education subscription.

Who is a guest?

A guest is someone who isn't an employee, student, or member of your organization. They don't have a school or work account with your organization. For example, guests may include partners, vendors, suppliers, or consultants. Anyone who is not part of your organization can be added as guest in Teams. This means that anyone with a business account (that is, an Azure Active Directory account) or consumer email account (with Outlook.com, Gmail.com or others) can participate as a guest in Teams, with full access to teams and channel experiences. (You can read about guest restrictions in Authorize guest access in Microsoft Teams.) All guests in Teams are covered by the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365, and can be managed securely within Azure AD.

Why use guest access?

With guest access, organizations that use Teams can provide external access to teams, documents in channels, resources, chats, and applications to their partners, while maintaining complete control over their own corporate data. All guests in Teams are covered by the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365, and guests can be managed securely within Azure AD.

Teams is built on Office 365 Groups and provides a new way to access shared assets for an Office 365 group. Teams is the best solution for persistent chat among group/team members. Office 365 Groups is a service that provides cross-application membership for a set of shared team assets, like a SharePoint site or a Power BI dashboard, so that the team can collaborate effectively and securely.

How does guest access compare to external access (federation)?

External access (federation) and guest access are different:

  • Guest access gives access permission to an individual. External access gives access permission to an entire domain.

  • Guest access, once granted by a team owner, allows a guest to access resources, such as channel discussions and files, for a specific team, and chat with other users in the team they have been invited to. With external access (federated chat), the external chat participants have no access to the inviting organization’s teams or team resources. They can only participate in one-on-one federated chat. Tenant admins can choose between the two communication options depending on which level of collaboration is desirable with the external party. Admins can choose either approaches or both, depending on their organizational needs, but we recommend enabling guest access for a fuller, collaborative Teams experience.

For a detailed comparison, see Manage external access.

More information

Contact support for business products - Admin Help
Guest access in Office 365 Groups

Introduction to guest access
Deep dive into guest access
Adding guests in Microsoft Teams