Assign or remove licenses

Users need licenses to use Outlook, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, and other services. As an admin, when you create a user account, the licenses provided with your subscription are automatically given to the user. You can change this by editing user accounts.

When a license is assigned to a user, the licensed services is set up for that user:

  • Exchange Online: A mailbox is automatically created for the user.
  • SharePoint Online: The user is automatically assigned edit permissions for documents on the team site, and can use all the SharePoint Online features that are associated with the license.
  • Lync Online: The user automatically has access to the features that are associated with the license and can participate in online meetings.
  • Office 365 Small Business Subscription: The user will be able to download the latest version of Office on up to 5 Macs or PCs.

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

What do you want to do?


Figure out how many licenses are valid and available

To find out how many licenses are valid and available for your subscription:

  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.

Assign or remove a license for one user

  1. Go to Admin > Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. Check the box for the name of the user who you want to add or remove a license for.
  3. Click Edit Edit > Licenses.
  4. On the Assign licenses page, check or uncheck the box for the license you want to add or remove.
  5. Click Save.
  6. If you have removed a license from a user and want to assign it to another user, repeat this procedure.

 Caution    When you remove a license from a user, all the data associated with that user for that service is 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, that user’s mailbox is deleted. The mailbox can be recovered within 30 days by reassigning an Exchange Online license to the user associated with it. After 30 days, the mailbox and its contents are permanently deleted. For more options when assigning licenses, see Reassign licenses or change your license amount.

Assign or remove licenses for several users at once

Add or replace a license for several people.

  1. Go to Admin >Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. Check the boxes for the name of the users who you want to add or remove licenses for.
  3. Click Edit Edit.
  4. On the Details and Settings pages, click Next.
  5. On the Assign licenses page, click Replace existing license assignments or Add to existing license assignments, and then check or uncheck the boxes for the licenses you want to change.
  6. Click Submit > Finish.
  7. If you have removed licenses from a set of users and want to assign them to other users, repeat this procedure.

 Caution    When you remove a license from a user, all the data associated with that user for that service is 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, that user’s mailbox is deleted. The mailbox can be recovered within 30 days by reassigning an Exchange Online license to the user associated with it. After 30 days, the mailbox and its contents are permanently deleted. For more options when assigning licenses, see Reassign licenses or change your license amount.

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 10 gigabytes (GB).

 Note    If your resource, room, or shared mailbox goes over its quota of 10GB and you don’t assign it a license, after one month the shared mailbox will be locked. You can avoid having to assign the license by using archiving to avoid going over your quota.

For more about non-user mailboxes, see:

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Office 365 Small Business admin