Reassign licenses or change your license amount

Your Office 365 subscription comes with a set amount of licenses to services such as Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. As your organization grows or changes, members may join, change roles, or leave the organization. As this happens, you may want to change how many licenses you have in your subscription and who they’re assigned to.

First, figure out how many licenses are valid and available for your subscription.

For Office 365 Enterprise or Office 365 Midsize Business:

  1. Click Admin > Licensing > Licenses.
  2. Check the Valid, Expired, and Assigned columns for your subscription. To figure out how many valid licenses are still available, subtract the number of Assigned licenses from the Valid licenses.

For Office 365 Small Business:

  1. Click Admin, and then, if you see it, click Hide Getting started experience in the middle of the page. You will see Manage your organization settings at the top of the page.
  2. Under Licenses, you can view how many licenses that are available out of the number you have already purchased. For example, if you have 10 licenses and have assigned 4 of them, it will say 6 out of 10 available.

What kind of license changes do you need to make?

 Note    Watch the video about managing user licenses for Office 365 Small Business.

  • Departing users:    If members leave your organization without being replaced, you can delete licenses from your subscription.
  • License conflicts:    If you have assigned more licenses than you have purchased, you will have to resolve license conflicts by removing licenses from users, deleting users, or renewing your subscription.

Remove a license from a user and assign it to another

If a user’s job responsibilities change, a global admin or user management admin can remove 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 you remove a license from a user, all of the data associated with that user for that service will be deleted and—after a grace period of 30 days—can’t be recovered, except for documents saved on SharePoint Online. For example, if you remove a license for Exchange Online from a user:

  • The user’s mailbox and all messages in it are deleted. The mailbox can be recovered within 30 days by reassigning a license to it. After 30 days, the mailbox and its contents are permanently deleted.
  • All email aliases associated with the user account are deleted. If you need someone in your company to receive email at those aliases, assign them to another user.
  • The user's Lync Online Contacts list may be deleted. If you restore the Exchange Online license within 30 days, the Contacts list will be restored as well. For more information, see Removing a user’s license for Exchange Online may also remove their Lync Online Contacts list.

To remove a license from one user and assign it to another user

  1. Go to Admin > Users and groups (or Add users, reset passwords, and more).
  2. Check the box for the name of the user who you want to remove a license from.
  3. Click Edit Edit > Licenses.
  4. On the Assign licenses page, uncheck the box for the license you want to remove.
  5. Click Save.
  6. On the Active users (or Users & groups) page, check the box for the name of the user who you want to assign a license to.
  7. Click Edit Edit > Licenses.
  8. On the Assign licenses page, check the box for the license you want to add.
  9. Click Save.

You can also remove and assign licenses to several users at once. For more information, see:

  1. Assign or remove licenses, or view a list of unlicensed users (for Office 365 Enterprise or Office 365 Midsize Business)
  2. Assign or remove licenses (for Office 365 Small Business)

Delete a user 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 had been assigned to that person can be assigned to another user.

 Caution    When you delete a user account, it becomes inactive. During this inactive period, you have up to 30 days to fully restore the account. After 30 days, all data for that user is permanently deleted—except documents saved on SharePoint Online. 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. Go to Admin > Users and groups (or Add users, reset passwords, and more).
  2. Click the names of the users that you want to delete, and then click Delete.
  3. In the confirmation box, click Yes.

For information on restoring users, see:

  1. Delete or restore users (for Office 365 Enterprise or Office 365 Midsize Business)
  2. Delete or restore users (for Office 365 Small Business)

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Buy more licenses

  1. Go to Admin > Licenses (or Manage and purchase licenses) > Subscription name.
  2. On the Subscription details page, click Change quantity.
  3. Follow the steps in the Change quantity wizard to complete your order.

If you paid for your subscription by credit card, any new licenses that you order are available immediately after you receive an order confirmation. If you’re invoiced for subscription payments, you might have to wait for a credit check.

 Note    Not all services are available in all locations. For a list of restrictions, see License restrictions for Office 365.

Delete licenses from your subscription

You can also delete licenses from your subscription entirely, for example, if your organization has gotten smaller and no longer needs the amount of licenses you originally purchased. There are two ways to do this, depending on your subscription type.

Delete licenses from month-to-month subscriptions on the Office 365 portal

If you have a subscription to either Office 365 Small Business Premium (Month to Month) or Office 365 Small Business (Month to Month), you can remove licenses from your subscription in the Office 365 portal:

  1. Go to Admin > Manage and purchase licenses > Subscription name.
  2. On the Subscription details page, click Change quantity.
  3. Under Do you want to add or remove licenses? select Remove licenses and click Next.
  4. On the Remove licenses page, in the Change to box, type the number of licenses you want to keep, and click Finish.
  5. On the Order confirmation page, review the information, and then click Finish again.

Delete licenses from other subscriptions by calling support

If you have any other type of subscription, and you meet the following criteria, you can delete licenses by calling billing support.

  • You bought the licenses within the last 90 days
  • You are getting ready to renew your subscription
  • You want to upgrade your Office 365 plan

Resolve license conflicts

If you have assigned more licenses than you have purchased, you will have license conflicts. You can resolve these by:

  • Removing a license from a user:    See Remove a license from a user and add it to another
  • Deleting a user:    See Delete a user to free a license
  • Renewing your organization’s subscription if it has expired:    Most organizations choose to have their subscription to Office 365 renew automatically. You can turn off automatic renewal; however, if you do so, when the subscription expires you will have a license conflict for every user and every service in that subscription. You can resolve these conflicts by renewing your company’s subscription.

For more information auto-renewal settings, see:

  1. Buy subscriptions for your organization (for Office 365 Enterprise or Office 365 Midsize Business)
  2. Buy subscriptions for your organization (for Office 365 Small Business)

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Applies to:
Office 365 Enterprise admin, Office 365 Midsize Business admin, Office 365 Small Business admin