The following guide is for when someone outside the organization receives an email invite for access to a SharePoint site. A few things to note before we get into the step-by-step:
- The steps below may change slightly over time. It's important to bear in mind that while a single screenshot might change, the overall process and concepts involved should not.
- These steps are for a guest access who doesn't already have any type of Microsoft account. If you already have some type of Microsoft account (and you might have a gmail account and not even realize it's signed up for Microsoft in the past), your sign in experience may differ from this guide.
- Always keep the original email invite to SharePoint handy. You might need it to access that SharePoint folder again, and the original email invite with the sharing link is always a far more reliable way to open SharePoint than simply bookmarking the site in your web browser.
- If you encounter any issues, the very first troubleshooting step you should take is to copy the link from the original sharing email into a brand new, InPrivate Microsoft Edge web browser session. Microsoft SharePoint is optimized for the Microsoft Edge browser. You can even install Edge on a Mac or Linux computer.
- If you still experience issues after that, you should contact your IT support group for further support.
- If your IT provider can't resolve the issue:
- Please see this guide: How do I open a OneDrive or SharePoint link shared with me?
- And then you can ask whomever shared this link with you to contact the help desk. However, please note that our troubleshooting is mostly limited to testing with a brand new, outside-the-organization test account to verify that the sharing system is working as intended.
While the number of steps below may seem a little involved, please keep in mind that once you have completed the initial set up, future sign-ins should usually go quicker. The second important factor is that due to organizational policies and past data leaks for other organizations around the world that have resulted in catastrophic results, the management team for this organization has implemented security around its SharePoint sites to help prevent unauthorized access. Also keep in mind that some of these security features are hard-coded by Microsoft and can't be changed.
Step-by-step initial guest sign in process
Click Open on the email with the sharing link:
Create a password for your new guest account, feel free to show password if needed, and click next:
Enter your DOB:
It'll ask for a code, so go back to your Inbox:
Open the email with the code in your Inbox:
Copy the code:
Paste the code in, and we recommend you uncheck the marketing box to avoid those types of emails, then click Next:
Here's a part that might look different. In some way, you'll probably be asked to prove you're a human:
Solve the puzzles, etc:
Read through the terms and if you agree please click Accept (this is required for access to SharePoint):
You may or may not see this image. If you do, while it looks like a major error message, it simply means that Microsoft hasn't had time to create your new Microsoft account yet. Please ignore this message and wait about five minutes, then go back to your Inbox:
After you've waited 5-10 minutes or so, back in your Inbox, open the original email with the SharePoint sharing link, and click Open:
You should see a new message, click Next:
Now you will set up MFA. To do so, please install the Microsoft Authenticator App on your smart phone if it's not installed already. Searching in the Play or Apple store for "Microsoft Authenticator" should bring up the correct app to install, and its author will be Microsoft. If you installed that app on your phone, then back on your computer, click Next:
Moving from your computer to your phone, open the Microsoft Authenticator App, and tap the plus sign in the top right:
Still on your phone and in the Microsoft Authenticator App, choose Work or school account:
Still on your phone in the MS App, choose Scan QR code:
Back on your computer, there should be a QR code. If not, you might need to click Next until a QR code appears, scan that QR code with your phone, then on your computer click Next and a number like this will pop up on your computer:
Enter that number on your phone in the MS Auth. App to confirm:
Back on your computer, click Next:
Back on your computer, click Done:
At this point, your Edge web browser should redirect you to the SharePoint site or folder that you've been given access to: