Set up a Microsoft 365 developer sandbox subscription

Set up a Microsoft 365 developer sandbox to build your solutions independent of your production environment. Your developer program membership, which you join as a regular member or through Visual Studio enterprise, includes a Microsoft 365 E5 developer sandbox subscription with 25 user licenses. It lasts for 90 days and is free to use for development purposes (coding solutions) only.

Note

To set up a subscription, you must first join the Microsoft 365 Developer Program directly or through Visual Studio Professional or Enterprise (if you're a subscriber). After joining, you'll see the option to set up a subscription.

You can choose to set up either an instant sandbox or a configurable sandbox.

Instant sandbox

If you choose an instant sandbox, you can cut your sandbox configuration time from days to seconds. The Microsoft 365 instant sandbox comes pre-provisioned with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, and Office. It also includes licenses for 24 test users plus one admin, and the latest Microsoft 365 apps for your PC and Mac, including Power Apps, Power BI, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, and Azure Active Directory.

In addition, you get pre-installed sample data, including the new Teams sample data pack, as well as Microsoft Graph user, mail, and calendar data and SharePoint Framework sample data, which simulate a small corporate environment to help you build solutions across the Microsoft 365 platform. For details, see Developer sandbox sample data.

You cannot customize your domain name if you choose this option.

Configurable sandbox

If you choose a configurable sandbox, you can customize your domain name. You will have an empty sandbox that you must populate with sample data. This sandbox can take up to two days to provision. You can choose to install the sample data packs one by one that are available on your developer program dashboard. For details, see Developer sandbox sample data.

Set up your Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox subscription

To get a Microsoft 365 developer subscription:

  1. On your profile page, choose Set up E5 subscription.

  2. In the Set up your Microsoft 365 E5 developer subscription dialog box, choose whether you want an instant sandbox or a configurable sandbox, and then choose Next.

    Screenshot of the Set up your Microsoft 365 E5 developer subscription dialog box

If you selected an instant sandbox:

  1. Choose the Country/region for your data center, and provide an Admin username and Admin password, and optionally an alternative password for your fictitious users, and then choose Continue.

    Important

    Make a note of your username and password because you'll need it to access your developer subscription.

  2. Provide a valid cell phone number and choose Send code. Enter the code that you receive, and then choose Set up.

    Note

    You must use a valid cell phone number and not Voice over IP (VoIP).

  3. After the subscription is created, your subscription domain name and expiration date appear on your profile page.

If you selected a configurable sandbox:

  1. Choose your Country/region, and then provide a username in the Create username field and a domain name in the Create domain field. Create and confirm your password, and then choose Continue.

    Important

    Make a note of your username and password because you'll need it to access your developer subscription.

  2. Provide a valid cell phone number and choose Send code. Enter the code that you receive, and then choose Set up.

  3. After the subscription is created, your subscription domain name and expiration date appear on your profile page.

Configure the subscription

  1. On your profile page, choose Go to subscription and sign in with your user ID (for example, username@domain.onmicrosoft.com) and the password that you specified for your developer subscription.

    Note

    Do not sign in to your subscription with your Developer Program account ID.

  2. Use the app launcher to go to the Admin center.

  3. On the Admin center home page, choose Go to guided setup. This takes you to the Microsoft 365 E5 Developer Setup page.

  4. Install your Office apps. You have the option of installing Office apps to your computer. When ready, choose Continue.

  5. Personalize your sign-in and email. You can connect your subscription to a domain, or just use the existing subdomain that you created. When ready, choose Use this domain, or choose Do this later.

  6. Add new users. You can add fictitious or real users to help you with development. When ready, choose Add users and assign licenses.

    Note

    If you have a configurable subscription, after you set up your subscription, you can install the Users sample data pack. The Users sample data pack creates 16 fictitious users on your subscription, and includes the licenses for each user, and mailboxes, names, metadata, and photos for each. For details, see Developer sandbox sample data.

  7. Assign licenses to unlicensed users. For any users that you want to be able to work with the subscription, grant them a license. When ready, choose Add users and assign licenses or Do this later.

  8. Share sign-in credentials. For any real users that will access the subscription, you must share their sign-in credentials with them. You can choose a method, such as email, download, or print. When ready, choose Continue.

    Tip

    On subsequent visits to your dashboard, sign in with your username@domain.onmicrosoft.com account before you go to the Dashboard.

  9. Choose whether you want to send an email to users about Microsoft Teams, and then choose Continue.

  10. You've reached the end of setup. You've completed the setup for your subscription. You can optionally rate the experience. When ready, choose Go to the Admin center.

    Note

    At this time, the subscription's region defaults to North America regardless of which country/region you are in. You can still proceed with setting up and using your developer subscription.

Provision Microsoft 365 services in your configurable sandbox

If you have a configurable sandbox, it will take some time for the backend services, such as SharePoint and Exchange, to provision for the subscription. During this step, some of the icons in the app launcher and on the Home page show as Setting up (This app is still being set up). This will take no longer than an hour.

When the provisioning is complete, you can use the new Microsoft 365 subscription for development. The subscription expires after 90 days. To extend it, see When my subscription is about to expire, can I extend it?.

We also recommend that you enable release options to ensure that you get access to the latest Microsoft 365 features as soon as possible. For more information, see Set up the Standard or Targeted release options.

Set up a Microsoft Azure account

For some Office solutions, you might need a Microsoft Azure account to build using Azure services. This is not included with the Microsoft 365 Developer subscription. To set up a free Azure account, see Create your Azure free account today.

Install sample data packs

You can install sample data packs on your configurable sandbox. If you chose the instant sandbox, the sample date packs come pre-installed.

Sample data packs save you time by automatically installing data and content you need to build and test your solutions. This includes fictitious users, metadata, and photos to simulate a small corporate environment. For details about the sample data packs that are available and how to install them, see Developer sandbox sample data.

See also