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How to grant all employees access to a SharePoint site via Everyone except external users Group

Posted on October 4, 2018

As you create SharePoint sites in your Intranet, I am sure you have a need to make the site available to everyone in your organization. An example could be an HR Employee Site or an Intranet Homepage site – these sites would typically be visible and should be visible and accessible to everyone in your organization. How do you go about adding all the employees without typing everyone’s name? Well, there is a quick way to do so that is available to you, via Everyone except external users group. Let me explain.

Two built-in Domain Groups

Anytime you add someone as a user in Office 365 or synchronize them from your Active Directory, the users end up in 2 built-in domain groups: Everyone and Everyone except external users. You have no control over these groups or their membership – everyone by default ends up in there. The users (whether internal or external) do not necessarily need to have an Office 365 license. As long as a new user exists in Office 365 or stored in Active Directory/Azure – they all end up in a corresponding group.

Everyone except external users

That group captures all internal users only. Internal means they have been assigned your domain name when set up in Office 365.


It does not matter whether the user has been granted an Office 365 license. In any instance, the user is part of the group.


Up until recently, this group included all internal and all external users.

Anytime you shared your sites or content externally in SharePoint, authenticated external users would end up in Everyone group. These users would be without your company’s Office 365 account and would usually appear like this in the Office 365 User panel.


I clarify this further and provide additional details on the whole concept and mechanism of External Sharing in this slide deck.

That said, due to a recent announcement by Microsoft, this group no longer includes all external users by default. So I would not want to waste your time with this group. Forget about it – it is useless now.

How to add “Everyone except external users” domain group to a SharePoint site

Back to the original topic of the post. So if you now want to, say, add all internal employees to your SharePoint site, all you have to do is add that domain group to a site. You can either add the domain group directly to a site with proper permission level or insert into the existing SharePoint Group (best practice).

To do this:

  1. Gear Icon > Site Settings Everyoneexceptexternalusers3
  2. Under Users and Permissions, click on Site permissions Everyoneexceptexternalusers4
  3. Click on the group where you want to add everyone in your organization to Everyoneexceptexternalusers5
  4. New > Add Users Everyoneexceptexternalusers6a
  5. Inside of the Share window, start typing “Everyone.” As you type – two groups will appear, and in this instance, you will choose “Everyone except external users.” Click Share and you are done! Nice and easy! Everyone except external users

About Me

I’m Greg Zelfond, a U.S. based SharePoint consultant, and I provide affordable out-of-the-box SharePoint consulting, training, and configuration assistance to small and medium-sized businesses all over the world.

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