Understand linked sign-on

In the quickstart series on application management, you learned how to use Azure AD as the Identity Provider (IdP) for an application. In the quickstart guide, you configure SAML-based or OIDC-based SSO. Another option is Linked. This article goes into more detail about the linked option.

The Linked option lets you configure the target location when a user selects the app in your organization's My Apps or Office 365 portal.

Some common scenarios where the link option is valuable include:

  • Add a link to a custom web application that currently uses federation, such as Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS).
  • Add deep links to specific SharePoint pages or other web pages that you just want to appear on your user's Access Panels.
  • Add a link to an app that doesn't require authentication. The Linked option doesn't provide sign-on functionality through Azure AD credentials. But, you can still use some of the other features of Enterprise applications. For example, you can use audit logs and add a custom logo and app name.

Before you begin

To ramp knowledge quickly, walk through the quickstart series on application management. On the quickstart, where you configure single sign-on, you'll also find the Linked option.

The Linked option doesn't provide sign-on functionality through Azure AD. The option simply sets the location users will be sent to when they select the app on My Apps or the Microsoft 365 app launcher. Because the sign-in doesn't provide sign-on functionality through Azure AD, Conditional Access is not available for applications configured with Linked single sign-on.


There are some scenarios where the Single sign-on option will not be in the navigation for an application in Enterprise applications.

If the application was registered using App registrations then the single sign-on capability is setup to use OIDC OAuth by default. In this case, the Single sign-on option won't show in the navigation under Enterprise applications. When you use App registrations to add your custom app, you configure options in the manifest file. To learn more about the manifest file, see Azure Active Directory app manifest. To learn more about SSO standards, see Authentication and authorization using Microsoft identity platform.

Other scenarios where Single sign-on will be missing from the navigation include when an application is hosted in another tenant or if your account does not have the required permissions (Global Administrator, Cloud Application Administrator, Application Administrator, or owner of the service principal). Permissions can also cause a scenario where you can open Single sign-on but won't be able to save. To learn more about Azure AD administrative roles, see Azure AD built-in roles.

To set a link for an app, select Linked on the Single sign-on page. Then enter the link and select Save. Need a reminder on where to find these options? Check out the quickstart series.

After you configure an app, assign users and groups to it. When you assign users, you can control when the application appears on My Apps or the Microsoft 365 app launcher.

Next steps