Office Support / Office 365 Admin / Billing

Assign or unassign licenses for Office 365 for business

In Office 365 for business, users need licenses to use Outlook, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, and other services. As a global or user management admin, you can easily assign licenses to new users when creating new accounts, or to users with existing accounts. To free up licenses that can be assigned to other users, you can also unassign licenses that users no longer need when people leave the organization. To reduce the number of user licenses for your Office 365 subscription, see Remove licenses from your Office 365 for business subscription.

What do you want to do?

Verify how many Office 365 licenses are currently assigned and unassigned. Assign an Office 365 license to one user. Assign Office 365 licenses to multiple users at a time. Free an Office 365 license by unassigning one from a user who doesn't need it. See a list of unlicensed users.

Note   This article describes how to manage user licenses for Office 365 for business subscriptions. If you want to remove a subscription, see Cancel my office 365 subscription.

This is what automatically happens when you assign a license to a user:

  • For Exchange Online, a mailbox is created for the user.

  • For SharePoint Online, edit permissions to the default SharePoint Online team site are assigned to the user.

  • For Lync Online, the user will have access to the features associated with the license.

  • For Office 365 ProPlus, the user will be able to download Microsoft Office on up to 5 Macs or PCs.

Note   To do the procedures shown in this article, you need to be either a global admin or a User management admin.

Figure out how many licenses are valid and available

Select one of the following:

View available licenses (Office 365 Small Business Premium)

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. If you see Welcome, let’s get started in the middle of the page, click Hide the Getting Started pane to close it.

    Getting Started page for Office 365 Small Business Premium
  4. Under billing, you can view how many licenses are available out of the number you have already purchased. For example, if you have 25 licenses and have assigned 1 of them, it will say 24 licenses available out of 25.

    View the number of licenses that are available to assign in Office 365 Small Business Premium.

View available licenses (all other business subscriptions)

Watch the video or follow the steps listed below the video to learn how to view the available licenses.

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Manage Licenses in Office 365
  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Select Billing > Licenses.

    Select the Licenses page.
  4. Check the Valid, Expired, and Assigned columns for your subscription. To figure out how many valid licenses are still available to assign to users, subtract the number of Assigned licenses from the number of Valid licenses.

    View the number of licenses that are vaild, expired, and assigned.

Assign or unassign a license for one user

If a user’s job responsibilities change, a global admin or user management admin can unassign the licenses that the user no longer needs. In addition, if you have more users assigned to a service than you have available licenses, you can remove licenses from users who no longer use them.

Caution   When a user’s license is removed, all data that is associated with that user account is held for 30 days. After the 30 day grace period, the data is deleted and can’t be recovered, except for documents that are saved on SharePoint Online. For information about how to block a user’s access to Office 365 data after their license has been removed and how to get access to the data afterwards, see How to block employee access to Office 365 data.

Select one of the following:

Assign or unassign a license for one user (Office 365 Small Business Premium)

Complete these steps to assign or unassign a license for one user if you have Office 365 Small Business Premium.

To assign or unassign a license for one user (Office 365 Small Business Premium)
  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Under users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.

    Select the Add users, reset passwords, and more link.
  4. Check the box for the name of the user who you want to add or remove a license for and then click Edit.

  5. Select Licenses.

    Click Licenses
  6. Under Assign licenses, do one of the following:

    • To assign a license to the selected user, select the box for the license you want to assign.

      Tip   When assigning a license to a user, you can also select which services are enabled by the license. For example, if you want the user to have access to all available services except SharePoint Online, you can unselect the SharePoint Online service.

      Unselect a service for a license.
    • To unassign a license from the user, unselect the box for the license you want to remove.

      Unassign a license from a user.
  7. Click Save.

  8. If you have removed a license from a user and want to assign it to another user, repeat this procedure.

Assign or unassign a license for one user (All other business subscriptions)

Watch the video or follow the steps listed below the video to learn how to assign or unassign a license for one user for any of the other business or enterprise subscriptions, such as Office 365 Business Premium, or Office 365 Enterprise E3.

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.
To assign or unassign a license for one user (All other business subscriptions)
  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Select Users > Active Users.

    Screen shot of the Users menu with Active Users highlighted.
  4. Check the box for the name of the user who you want to add or remove a license for.

  5. Click Edit Edit

    Edit a user account

  6. Select Licenses.

    Click Licenses

  7. Under Assign licenses, do one of the following:

    • To assign a license to the selected user, select the box for the license you want to assign.

      Tip   When assigning a license to a user, you can also select which services are enabled by that license the user can use by selecting the down-arrow next to the name of the license and unselecting the services that you want to restrict from that user.

      Assign a license to a user.

      For example, if you want the user to have access to all available services except Lync Online, you can unselect the Lync Online service.

      Unselect a service from a license.
    • To unassign a license from the user, unselect the box for the license you want to remove.

      Unassign a license from a user.
  8. Click Save.

  9. If you have removed a license from a user and want to assign it to another user, repeat this procedure.

Assign or unassign licenses for several users at once

In addition to assigning or unassigning licenses for single users, you can also do this in bulk.

Caution   When a user’s license is removed, all data that is associated with that user account is held for 30 days. After the 30 day grace period, the data is deleted and can’t be recovered, except for documents that are saved on SharePoint Online. For information about how to block a user’s access to Office 365 data after their license has been removed and how to get access to the data afterwards, see How to block employee access to Office 365 data.

To assign or unassign licenses for several people
  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Select Users > Active Users.

    Screen shot of the Users menu with Active Users highlighted.
  4. Select the boxes for the names of the users who you want to assign or unassign licenses for.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • For Office 365 Business Premium, click Edit

    • For all other business and enterprise subscriptions, click Edit Edit.

  6. On the Details page, click Next.

  7. On the Settings page, click Next.

  8. On the assign licenses page, do one of the following:

    • To assign licenses to the selected users, select Add to existing license assignments, and then select the boxes for the licenses you want to assign.

    • To unassign licenses from the selected users, select Replace existing license assignments, and ensure that the boxes for the licenses you want to unassign are unselected.

  9. Select Submit > Finish.

Delete a user account to free a license

If a user no longer needs licenses, like when an employee leaves an organization, you can delete that user’s account. When you do this, any licenses that were assigned to that person become available to assign to another user.

Caution   When a user’s license is removed, all data that is associated with that user account is held for 30 days. After the 30 day grace period, the data is deleted and can’t be recovered, except for documents that are saved on SharePoint Online. For information about how to block a user’s access to Office 365 data after their license has been removed and how to get access to the data afterwards, see How to block employee access to Office 365 data.

Typically, you would delete users only if you are certain that they won’t need this data in the future. For more information, see How to troubleshoot deleted user accounts in Office 365.

To delete the account for one or more users
  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • For Office 365 Small Business Premium, under users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.

      Select the Add users, reset passwords, and more link.
    • For all other business and enterprise subscriptions, select Users > Active Users .

      Screen shot of the Users menu with Active Users highlighted.
  4. Select the name of the user or multiple users that you want to delete, and then do one of the following:

    • For Office 365 Small Business Premium, click Delete icon..

    • For all other business and enterprise subscriptions, click Delete icon.DELETE.

    Click Delete to delete the user account

  5. In the confirmation box, click Yes.

Note   For information on restoring users, see Delete or restore users (for Office 365 Enterprise, Office 365 Business Essentials, or Office 365 Business Premium).

View a list of unlicensed users

Complete these steps to see a list of users who don’t have a license assigned to them.

Note   Viewing a list of unlicensed users is not supported by Office 365 Small Business Premium subscriptions.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

    Tip   You need to sign in as either a Global admin or a Billing admin.

  2. Select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.

    How to get to the admin page in Office 365 for business and Office 365 Small Business Premium.

    Note   You won’t see the Admin selection if you’re not signed in as an admin.

  3. Select Users > Active Users.

    Screen shot of the Users menu with Active Users highlighted.
  4. In the Select a view list, select the down arrow and in the list of views select Unlicensed users.

    View a list of unlicensed users

    Any user accounts that don’t have a license assigned to them are displayed in the list.

    Note   From this list, you can add licenses to the users one at a time or in bulk by using the instructions in this article.

Understanding licenses for non-user mailboxes

You don’t need to assign licenses to resource mailboxes, room mailboxes, and shared mailboxes, except when they are over their storage quota of 50 gigabytes (GB).

For more about non-user mailboxes, see the following articles:

Find out who can assign licenses

Different types of admins can work with licenses in different ways, depending on their roles. The following table lists the most common options. For a complete list of admin roles and privileges, see Assigning admin roles.

Admin role

Assign a license

Remove a license

Purchase more licenses

Delete a user

Global admin

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Billing admin

No

No

Yes

No

User management admin

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Service admin

No

No

No

No

Password admin

No

No

No

No

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Still need help?

Get help from the Office 365 community forums Admins: Sign in and create a service request Admins: Call Support

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See Also

Buy licenses for Office 365 business subscriptions

Remove licenses from Office 365 business

Cancel my office 365 subscription

Applies To: Outlook Web App, Office 365 Admin, Outlook on the web for Office 365 Business



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