Licensing in Dynamics 365 Business Central

Business Central licenses can only be purchased through CSP. Microsoft offers several types of paid licenses (users):

  • Essential
  • Premium
  • Team Member
  • External Accountant

Prospects and customers can also subscribe for an evaluation version by using self-service sign-up (also known as the viral trial). This subscription comes with 10000 licenses, and partners can use such viral trials to let prospects explore Business Central using non-production companies. For more information, see Preparing Demonstration Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central.


Specifically for customers who want to convert a 30-day trial company into their actual production company, the first user who signs into Business Central after the license was applied to their tenant must be a user with this license assigned. This way, the 30-day trial ends, and any trial-related notifications disappear so that users can use Business Central to do work.

If an administrator is the first person to sign in after the license was applied to the tenant and to users, then the trial will continue until it expires.

Business Central doesn't use the classic Dynamics NAV license files (*.flf). Instead, permissions are generated based on entitlements.

We define license permissions (per object) in the Entitlements table. Entitlements are grouped in the Entitlement Set table, and then each entitlement set is associated with one of the four Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) service plans.

This means that when a user purchases, for example, an Essential license and tries to sign in to Business Central, we retrieve the user's service plan (in this case Essential) from Azure AD and then load the corresponding entitlements as license permissions.


For more information about the different types of licenses and how licensing works in Business Central, see the Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide, which you can download from

Entitlements and user groups

Entitlements are permissions that describe which objects in Business Central a customer is entitled to use according to their Azure Active Directory role or the license they purchased from Microsoft.

The User Group Plan table stores the mapping between the service plans and the user groups. Based on this mapping, the service determines which user group is assigned to a user by default when a user logs in to Business Central for the first time. The user group assigns a specific license (or makes the user a member of a specific Azure AD role).

When a user logs in to Business Central, the service applies the intersection of the entitlements that are associated with the user's service plan (or Azure AD role) and the permissions that are defined for that user. Entitlements always have higher priority over permissions. For example, even is the user is given SUPER permissions by the admin but has the Team Member license assigned – the user can still only access the objects defined by the Team Member entitlements.

You can verify how entitlements, licenses, and user groups work together by looking at the Effective Permissions page, which you can access from the User page. For more information, see Create Users According to Licenses in the business functionality content for Business Central.

Entitlements in production and sandbox environments

In versions earlier than 2020 release wave 2 (version 17.0), entitlements are only enforced in production environments so that prospective and existing customers could explore the functionality of the Premium subscription in a sandbox environment without having to purchase a Premium license.

However, partners that create and test their extensions using sandbox environments of that type could miss errors in their code that would be related to entitlements or access, so that those issues would not be found until they deployed their extensions to the production environments.

Also, you can explore such functionality by creating an evaluation company in either a production or a sandbox environment using the free evaluation subscription that is available from Alternatively, you can use the Business Central Premium - Trial subscription that is available through the CSP program as described here. By using these subscription types, customers and partners can explore the capabilities included with the Premium subscription.

With 2020 release wave 2, the license checks for entitlements are now also enforced in the sandbox environments.

Reassigning licenses

The licensing terms in the Online Services Terms document do not allow temporary assignment of a license that belongs to one user to another user.

Most, but not all, licenses can be reassigned. Except as permitted in this paragraph or in the Online Service-specific Terms, the customer cannot reassign a license on a short-term basis, meaning within 90 days of the latest assignment. The customer can reassign a license on a short-term basis to cover a user's absence or the unavailability of a device that is out of service. Reassignment of a license for any other purpose must be permanent. When a customer reassigns a license from one device or user to another, they must block access and remove any related software from the former device or from the former user's device.

Device licenses

The Dynamics 365 Business Central Device license allows multiple users to simultaneously use a device that is covered by the license. For example, this might be a point of sales, shop floor, or warehouse device. When you have purchased a number of device licenses, up to that number of users assigned to the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group can sign in at the same time. For more information, see the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing Guide. The guide is available for download on the Business Central website.

Your company's Microsoft 365 administrator or Microsoft partner can create the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group and add device users as members in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center or on the Azure Portal.

Device user limitations

Users with the Device license cannot perform the following tasks in Business Central:

  • Set up jobs to run as scheduled tasks in the job queue. Device users are concurrent users and, therefore, we cannot ensure that the involved user is present in the system when a task is executed, which is required.

  • A device user cannot be the first user to sign in. A user of type Administrator, Full User, or External Accountant must be the first to sign in so they can set up Business Central. For more information, see Administration of Business Central Online.

To create the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group

  1. In the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, go to the Groups page.

  2. Choose the Add a group action.

  3. On the Choose a group type page, choose the Security option, and then choose the Add action.

  4. On the Basics page, enter Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users as the name of the group.


    The name of the group must be spelled in English exactly as shown in step 4, even if you are using another language. If you have copied the name of the group from a document, such as a PDF, verify that the name does not contain extra spaces.

  5. Choose the Close button.


You can also create a group of type Microsoft 365. For more information, see Compare Groups

To add members to the group

  1. In the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, refresh the Groups page so your new group appears.
  2. Select the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group, and then choose the View all and manage members action.
  3. Choose the Add members action.
  4. Select the users that you want to add, and then choose the Save button.
  5. Choose the Close button three times.

You can add as many users to the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group as you need. However, the number of devices that users can sign in to simultaneously is defined by the number of purchased device licenses.


You do not need to assign a Business Central license to users that are members of the Dynamics 365 Business Central Device Users group.

See Also

Get Started as a Reseller of Business Central Online
Deployment of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Working with Sandboxes and Entitlements
Embed App Overview