Removing External Users fully from a SharePoint Tenancy using PowerShell

This blog post has all come about as the client I was working for was having problems sharing documents in SharePoint with some external users. It turned out that the user was already in Azure AD as a Contact which is part of Exchange. This meant when an internal person attempted to share/Invite into SharePoint/MSTeams it all appeared to work correctly for the external user, but sometimes it didn’t. When looking at external users through the Admin portal, this external user was showing, but their email address was blank. After speaking with Microsoft, it turns out, because the email address was already found within the tenancy, it creates a unique violation when adding the external user to the Active Directory.

I have been working with Microsoft support regarding this, and the resolution was that this is as design!!??! Only by feeding back on the Office 365 uservoice this issue “might” looked at and fixed. See resolution notes below:

When you invite external users who exist as contacts in your environment, their email does not get populated in their guest user ID which results in them not being able to login to your environment and access the shared data.
The issue is coming from a conflict caused by the email address which is already populated for the mail contact.
This is behavior by design as all objects in Azure AD have to be unique.
You cannot have 2 objects with the same email address.

When you invite one of your contacts to your content in O365, it actually creates a completely new guest user object in your environment and since the email address which is supposed to be populated in the email attribute is already in use by the contact, the email address does not get populated.

The only way to resolve this issue at the moment is to eliminate any conflicts that are in place, by removing the conflicting email contact and re-invite the user to your content.
More information:
The best thing I can offer to you is the following:

Please go to our UserVoice portal where other people are facing the same behavior and up-vote it, comment and have the whole IT department do the same as well.

Allow a “Guest User” to be converted to a different account type

This led me to working on a process and script that would remove the users from everywhere.

Locations to remove the External User from:

  • Contacts
  • Azure AD Guest Users
  • Azure AD Deleted Users
  • All SharePoint Sites
  • All SharePoint Hidden User lists
  • SharePoint User Profile


To remove the External User from the contacts you will need to use the MSOL PowerShell module.

Or you can manually do this by going to and under Users -> Contacts select the user and click Delete contacts.

Azure AD

To remove the External User from Azure AD you will still require using the MSOL PowerShell module. In fact, this script and the above script could be merged.

To do this manually, in under Users -> Guest Users, select the user and click delete.

Then go into Users -> Deleted users and remove them from there.

Remove from SharePoint

To remove from SharePoint, if you have a large tenancy and you don’t know all the places where the external user could have been shared with, then you will have to use the following script. This script will remove the external user from the SharePoint Site, ensure that they are removed from the User Information list, and then lastly it will clear the person from the SharePoint User Profile.

I discovered that if I didn’t remove them from the User Profile, when attempted to reshare a document with that user, the people picker would grab the internal userprincipalname (<ExternalUserEmail>#EXT#@<Tenant> as the email address and then prevent me clicking the Sharing button. This is because the people picker uses Graph API /Me/People and grabs the value from there. Once removed from everywhere, including the User Profile this no longer happens.

The following script uses SPO PowerShell Module and you will need to connect first using Connect-SPOService. The account that you use, needs to be a SharePoint Global Administrator.

The script checks if it can find the ExternalUser, and if it can remove the user using Remove-SPOExternalUser.

Then it loops through every site collection and looks for the user using Get-SPOUser with the internal userprincipalname. If found it removes the user using Remove-SPOUser. Once it has looped through all SharePoint sites, it then checks the SharePoint User Profile and removes the user from UserProfile Remove-SPOUserProfile. This command will remove a user from the UserProfile if they in the “Active Profiles” or the “Profiles Missing from Import”

If the plan is to add the external person back into your tenant, once the script has run, you will need to wait at least a few hours (maybe leave it for a day to be sure) to ensure all back end processes of Microsoft have completed.

When you share a document/folder with the external user they will get the invited link and enter a code experience, this way they do not turn up inside you Azure AD. However, if you share a site with them, or add them to a MS Teams, they will appear in your Azure AD correctly.

View Trace Logs with PnP Provisioning Templates using PowerShell

When running the Get-PnPProvisioningTemplate and the Apply-PnPProvisioningTemplate it is sometime necessary to see what is going on while the call is processing.

Just run the following command first before calling your Get/Apply -PNPProvisioningTemplate command.

Set-PnPTraceLog -On -Level:Debug

If you need to turn it off again

Set-PnPTraceLog -Off

PnP Provisioning Templates Adding – Everyone except external users

On a recent project of mine, I’ve been working with the PnP Provisioning engine using PowerShell. It’s really the first time I’ve really worked with it, and I must say I’m impressed at how easy it is to use.

If you have never used it before I recommend you checking out the following articles on MSDN.

Basic installation setup

If you have a Windows 10 device or have installed PowerShellGet, to check if you have the latest version installed in your PowerShell environment, run the following below

Get-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell* -ListAvailable | Select-Object Name, Version | Sort-Object Version -Descending

I already have the latest version at the time of writing this 2.17.1708.1.

You can install or Upgrade the SharePointPNPPowerShell with the following commands.

To Install

#SharePoint Online
Install-Module SharePointPnpPowerShellOnline

#SharePoint 2016
Install-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell2016

#SharePoint 2013
Install-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell2013

To Upgrade

Update-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell*

Everyone and Everyone Except External Users

The quickest way to create a PnP Provisioning template ready to use again, is to create your site within SharePoint using point and click.

I’ve created my site with Members set up to “Everyone except external users” and Visitors set up to “Everyone”.

After you have created your site, you use the following commands to connect and export the template.

Connect-PnpOnline -Url: -Credentials: (Get-Credential)
Get-PnPProvisioningTemplate -Out 'pnpExample.xml'

If you open the XML file, and look in the <pnp:Security> section, you will see that Additional Members has c:0-.f|rolemanager|spo-grid-all-users/{GUID} and Additional Visitors has c:0(.s|true. These represent Everyone except external users and Visitors respectively.

If you are only using this template to create more sites in the same tenant that you exported it from, then you are good. The GUID after ‘spo-grid-all-users’ will always be that GUID in your tenant. However, when you want to use this template in other tenants – for example you have a staging and production environment – then this GUID will not work and the importing of the template will not add Everyone except external users to your members group.

What is the GUID after spo-grid-all-users?

It turns out that the GUID relates to the Authentication Realm ID of your tenant, and luckily PnP have a PowerShell command


How does that help us?

You can pass parameters into the Apply-PnPTemplate. First we need to change the XML inside <pnp:AdditionalMembers>


<pnp:User Name="c:0-.f|rolemanager|spo-grid-all-users/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxx" />


<pnp:User Name="c:0-.f|rolemanager|spo-grid-all-users/{parameter:AuthenticationRealm}" />

Save the XML template and now you can run the following commands to apply the template to a new site in a different tenant. (Please note my team site I’m applying this to has already been created)

Connect-PnpOnline -Url: -Credentials: (Get-Credential)
$AuthenticationRealm = Get-PnPAuthenticationRealm
Apply-PnPProvisioningTemplate -Path:'pnpExample.xml' -Parameters:@{"AuthenticationRealm"=$AuthenticationRealm}

After applying the template to another tenant, you will see your “Everyone except external users” inserted correctly.

Using the Windows Credentials Manager with PnP PowerShell

Do you get fed up keep typing in your username and password when you are connection to SharePoint via PowerShell? Or you have to keep changing between multiple tenants and get fed up keep typing in the username and password? Did you know you could use the built-in Windows Credential Manager to help ease your pain?

  • Open your Credential Manager

  • Under the Generic Credentials, click ‘Add a generic credential

  • For each tenant/user account you need, create a Generic Credential.
    • Put a label name to indicate what the permissions are for (e.g DevAdmin, TestAdmin, TestUser etc)
    • Put the username of the account
    • Put the password of the account

  • After you have created your Generic Credential(s), when you try to Connect to SharePoint using PNP, you can pass your Label to the credentials.
    Connect-PnPOnline -Url "" -Credentials:devAdmin

    In the screenshot below, I’m connecting to my tenant using a label I created called CFAdmin1

Using the above technique of Credential Manager labels, you can make your PowerShell scripts easier by creating a string variable called label and pass it in. This will make running the same script for multiple environments easier.

    # The environment label to use for connection

    # The URL of the tenancy to create the site collections in, do not include the -admin
if ($VerbosePreference) {
    Set-PnPTraceLog -On -Level:Debug
else {
    Set-PnPTraceLog -Off
Connect-PnPOnline -Url:$URL -Credentials:$Label
… #Additional code to update Web

If the above file was called UpdateWebSite.ps1 I would type in the following:

.\UpdateWebSite.ps1 -Url:'' -Label:devAdmin

Power BI using Parameters to use the same PBIX file for different tenants

In the past I, have created a Power BI file connecting it to the developer tenant data, design the reports based on the dummy data in my development tenant, before publishing it to the production tenant using the production data. For those that have done this before, you will know it’s not easy because all your data queries are pointing to the URL you first used, every query you have created will have this URL in, also GUIDs for lists filters etc could all be different in another tenant.

I will be continuing from my last example of a movie database from my previous post. I will be updating the queries so that in future, there is one location to change my parameters. My previous post has 4 queries which was my main Movies list from SharePoint, the TaxonomyHiddenList from SharePoint, and two references of the TaxonomyHiddenList renamed and filtered for Genre and Country.

First I need to think what might be different in the other tenant compared to my original one.

  • Tenant Name
  • Site/Web URL
  • Genre TermSet Id
  • Country TermSet Id

I need to create 4 paramters and name them to correspond with possible changing values. To do this, I need to ensure I’m in the Edit Queries. From your report, on the ribbon click Edit Queries. This will bring up the Edit Queries editor.

Underneath your current queries, right click and from the context menu, select New Group. Name the group Parameters. Your original queries will be places in a group folder called Other Queries.

Right click the Parameters folder, and from the context menu, select New Parameter…

Add 4 new parameters:

  • Tenant:
    • Name: Tenant
    • Required: True
    • Type: Text
    • Suggested Values: Any
    • Current Value:
  • WebSiteUrl:
    • Name: WebSiteUrl
    • Required: True
    • Type: Text
    • Suggested Values: Any
    • Current Value: /sites/taxonomy
  • GenreTermSetId:
    • Name: GenreTermSetId
    • Required:True
    • Type: Text
    • Suggested Values: Any
    • Current Value: f46ebfeb-cc18-479f-bac8-48fdca36dd6c
  • CountryTermSetId:
    • Name: CountryTermSetId
    • Required: True
    • Type: Text
    • Suggested Values: Any
    • Current Value: 6e0c3d2e-5514-4744-a08d-7318fd437a45

Click OK.

You should now have 4 parameters showing in your Query window. Now we need to use these.

Starting with the CountryTermSetId, previously my Country query was filtered on a text value that was the GUID of the TermSetId. Now I have a parameter I can use instead. I will want to update my query to use a parameter instead of free text. In the Applied Steps for Country, I can click the cog next to Filtered Rows which is step 2.

This brings up a Filter Rows dialog, where you can see it current is using a Text value to query against.

By selecting the dropdown where it currently shows ABC, you can select parameter instead. Then in the last dropdown box you are given all your parameters, here I would select CountryTermSetId.

I then repeat those steps for Genre query, using the GenreTermSetId instead.

For the movies query, I need to click the Advanced editor from the ribbon bar to amend the query to use parameters.

The text in this window is the query that has been currently set.

    Source = SharePoint.Tables("", [ApiVersion = 15]),
    #"acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547" = Source{[Id="acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547"]}[Items],
    #"Renamed Columns" = Table.RenameColumns(#"acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547",{{"ID", "ID.1"}}),
    #"Removed Other Columns" = Table.SelectColumns(#"Renamed Columns",{"Title", "Total Worldwide Box_", "Genre", "Country"}),
    #"Expanded Genre" = Table.ExpandRecordColumn(#"Removed Other Columns", "Genre", {"TermGuid"}, {"Genre.TermGuid"}),
    #"Expanded Country" = Table.ExpandRecordColumn(#"Expanded Genre", "Country", {"TermGuid"}, {"Country.TermGuid"})
    #"Expanded Country"

We need to change the Source row (Line 2), and the #”acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547″ (Line3).

The Source row (Line 2), would need the URL part changed from

Source = SharePoint.Tables("", [ApiVersion = 15]),


Source = SharePoint.Tables("https://"&tenant&WebSiteUrl, [ApiVersion = 15]),

You can see we are inserting the parameters names and concatenating them using the ampersand.

The Line 3 row we are using the Title of the list instead of the ID as this would be different in another tenant.

#"acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547" = Source{[Id="acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547"]}[Items],


#"acd616ae-ee59-4597-86f3-3d5b65e64547" = Source{[Title="Movies"]}[Items],

We would also do something similar to the TaxnomyHiddenList query too. Changing the first 3 lines from:

    Source = SharePoint.Tables("", [ApiVersion = 15]),
    #"63f7f485-a5ca-4be5-815f-d0e3235e96d1" = Source{[Id="63f7f485-a5ca-4be5-815f-d0e3235e96d1"]}[Items],


    Source = SharePoint.Tables("https://"&Tenant&WebSiteUrl", [ApiVersion = 15]),
    #"63f7f485-a5ca-4be5-815f-d0e3235e96d1" = Source{[Title="TaxonomyHiddenList"]}[Items],

If you have followed this correctly, you would find that your data still works, and there are no issues. Click Close & Apply from the ribbon. The apply query changes will happen but your data will be the same. In the future when you want to publish to a different tenant you just need to change your parameters, instead of going to each query and updating the URL ID’s/GUIDs.

Setting the landing page for a wiki library

When you create a new wiki library, just by clicking on the library takes you directly to the home page of the wiki. Not to the list of pages like you would get if you clicked on the document library, or even the Site Pages library (Which is also a wiki library). In wiki libraries, this happens because there is a value in the property bag of the list called “vti_welcomepage”. This value is set to a page within the library, typically “home.aspx”. This can be change, unfortunately it can only be changed in code. I haven’t found a way to do this in the GUI.

UPDATE: As pointed out to me by Ronnie Holm (Thanks), you shouldn’t modify the vti_welcomepage value in the property bag. There is a method on the RootFolder called “WelcomePage” that you can get or set this value. I wasn’t aware of this method originally. When changing the WelcomePage via this method it automatically changes vti_welcomepage in the property bag.

The below PowerShell will be able to make the change for you, just update the page name to the name you wish to use.

$UserName = Read-Host -Prompt "UserName" 
$Password = Read-Host -Prompt "Password" -AsSecureString 
$Url = "" 

Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll" 
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll" 

$ctx = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($Url) 
$ctx.Credentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($UserName, $Password) 

$list = $ctx.Web.Lists.GetByTitle("My Wiki") 
$list.RootFolder.WelcomePage = "What you should know about wiki's.aspx" 


Write-host("Current Welcome Page : " + $list.RootFolder.WelcomePage);

Now when you click on your wiki library or navigate to the URL of the wiki library, it will redirect and display the wiki page you have set as the home page.