How to add multiple users with bulk import in Office 365

In my last post, I talked about how to create a new user account using Office 365 admin account. That procedure is good if you have to create 5-10 user accounts, but if you are connecting with a big team of more than 10 people, then you must try the bulk import feature of Office 365.

This feature allows you to import multiple users information into Office 365 from a single file source. The file must be a comma-separated values (CSV) file and adhere to the required format. It will then automatically do the rest of the thing for you.

So, before I will start telling you steps to use the bulk import you must first know about CSV file and how to create a Office 365 supported file.

A CSV file is an easy way to transfer a large amount of data between programs. It is a plain-text file that stores database-style information in a special format. The format requires one record on each line. Fields within records must be separated by commas.

You can use the Bulk add users wizard to upload an existing CSV file, or you can use the provided blank CSV template and edit it in a text editor such as Notepad.

The template contains user data column labels under which you enter information about the users that you want to import. The wizard also includes a sample CSV file that provides a correctly formatted example containing sample user data.

When you create a CSV file, you can enter user data column labels in any language or characters, but the order of the labels as shown in the sample is important for the correct fields to be populated. You can then make entries into the fields, using any language or characters, and save your file in a Unicode or UTF-8 format.

The minimum number of rows is two, including the first row of user data column labels (the second row is a user). The maximum number of rows is 251, including the first row of user data column labels. Only the user name and display name are required entries. If you need to import more than 250 users, create multiple CSV files.

The user data column labels and maximum character length for each in the sample CSV file are:

  • User Name (Required): The maximum total length of the user name is 79 characters (including @ symbol), in the format name@domain. The user’s alias cannot exceed 30 characters and the domain name cannot exceed 48 characters.
  • First Name: 64
  • Last Name: 64
  • Display Name (Required): 256
  • Job Title: 64
  • Department: 64
  • Office Number: 128
  • Office Phone: 64
  • Mobile Phone: 64
  • Fax: 64
  • Address: 1024
  • City: 128
  • State or Province: 128
  • ZIP or Postal Code: 40
  • Country or Region: 128

While making your CSV file for Office 365, you must keep these few these things in mind or else you will get an error:

  • If you are importing users from different countries or regions, we recommend creating a separate CSV file for each country or region and performing a bulk import operation for each CSV file. This is because you will be indicating the location of the users in the CSV file as part of this import process, and only one location can be selected per bulk import operation.
  • Make sure that the User Name column of your CSV file contains the full email address (for example, bob@contoso.com) for each of your users, or you will receive an error when you upload the file.

Add users with bulk import in Office 365

Once your CSV file is ready, you are now ready to add multiple users. Take the following steps to perform the action.

1. In the header, click Admin.

2. In the left pane, under Management, click Users.

3. On the Users page, click the arrow next to New, and then click Bulk add users.

4. On the Select a CSV file page, do one of the following, and then click Next.

  • Click Browse to specify an existing CSV file on your computer.
  • Click Download a blank CSV file to create a CSV file using the template provided.
  • Click Download a sample CSV file to open a correctly formatted example containing sample user data.

Do not add, change, or delete column labels in the CSV template or sample file, and make sure that you save the file with a .csv extension, or the file may not upload correctly.

5. On the Verification results page, confirm that there are no errors in your CSV file and that the number of users to import is correct. To review errors in the log file, click View. If you have errors in your CSV file, click Back. Open your CSV file and make the corrections, and then perform step 4 again. Once your CSV file has passed verification, click Next.

6. On the Settings page, under Set sign-in status, select Allowed to allow users to sign in to Office 365 and access licensed services, or Blocked to block users from signing in to Office 365 and accessing licensed services. Under Set user location, select the users’ work location, and then click Next.

7. On the Assign licenses page, select the licenses that you want to assign to all the users being imported, and then click Next.

8. On the Send results in email page, select Send email to send a user name and temporary password for the added users to yourself and/or recipients of your choice. Enter preferred email addresses separated by semicolons (;), and then click Create.

9. On the Results page, a list of successfully imported users and their temporary passwords is displayed, as well as any errors that occurred during the import process.

If a user was not imported, you will receive a status message indicating the reason. If you chose not to send yourself this information by email, you can click View to open the log file, and then print or save the information.

10. When you have finished reviewing the results, click Close.

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Nitin Agarwal is an MVP alumni and a Pro Blogger. He was awarded as Most Valuable Professional for 3 times by Microsoft in Windows Expert – Consumer category. He is immensely inspired by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and APJ Abdul Kalam.