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What is my user ID and why do I need it?

Published: April 16, 2012

Updated: May 21, 2014

Applies To: Azure, Office 365, Windows Intune

This topic provides online help content for cloud services, such as Windows Intune and Office 365, which rely on Microsoft Azure Active Directory for identity and directory services.

A user ID is required by every user in your organization that needs to sign-in to any Microsoft cloud services that you have subscribed to.

A user ID is a unique identifier for an account stored in Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Microsoft Azure AD) that is intended to represent a single user in your organization. User accounts stored in Azure AD are referred to as organizational accounts.

Each user ID has a user principal name (UPN) suffix associated with it that is constructed using the accounts User Name (which must be unique) attribute value, the @ symbol and the Internet domain name value that were assigned to it by the administrator who created that users account in Azure AD. For example, the construction of the initial user ID that was specified by the person who created your tenant might look similar to admin@contoso.onmicrosoft.com.

The domain you assign to a user ID can be either the default “.onmicrosoft.com” domain that you specified when you first signed up for a Microsoft cloud service or another custom domain that you later registered in your tenant. For example, if you specified treyresearch.onmicrosoft.com as your organization’s domain name when you created for your tenant, and you specified a User Name value of natep, your user ID would be natep@treyresearch.onmicrosoft.com.

If you want your user IDs and email address to use your custom domain—as in, for example, nicolep@treyresearch.com—instead of the initial onmicrosoft.com domain, you can add and register another domain to your tenant.

From an end user point of view, you will need to have a user ID associated with your organizational account in order to sign in to the cloud services that your organization has subscribed to.

From an administrator’s perspective, you will need to create user IDs for each user that requires access to the Microsoft cloud services that you have subscribed to in your tenant. Azure AD generates a temporary password that you can give to new users, along with each user’s user ID, so they can sign in to the cloud service(s) that you have assigned those licenses to. You can think of user IDs as being similar to standard on-premises user accounts in that you can assign different levels of permissions or roles to each user ID in your tenant.

By default, the user ID specified by the person who initially created your organizations Microsoft Azure AD tenant will automatically be granted global administrator permissions so that they have full access to set up the tenant. For more information about global administrator permissions, see Assigning administrator roles.

The act of subscribing to a Microsoft cloud service such as Windows Intune or Microsoft Office 365 for the first time automatically creates a Microsoft Azure AD tenant that makes it possible for you to administer a single set of user accounts across one or more Microsoft cloud services that your organization has subscribed to. For more information, see What is an Azure AD directory?.

During the sign-up process you must specify:

  • A new domain name that is unique to your organization.

  • An existing email address as your alternate contact email address.

  • A new user ID that will be used by that person to sign-in to your new tenant.

After you complete the signup process, you’ll get an introductory email message at your existing email address that includes your user ID and the URL of the page where you will sign in to the cloud service. If you forget your user ID, or if you don’t remember the URL of the portal, look at the introductory email message to find this information.

The alternate email address you are asked to provide during the signup process is used for important communications, such as administrator password resets. Information about service and billing, and promotional information that you choose to receive, will also be sent to this email address. If you are an administrator, you can change this email address on the My Profile page.

If you already have an existing Microsoft Azure AD tenant with established user IDs and you are about to subscribe to another Microsoft cloud service, it is recommended that you use your same tenant account when you sign-up for your new Microsoft cloud service subscription so that you can leverage the same group of user IDs across all the services in your organizations tenant.

If you do not select the option to sign-in using your existing Microsoft Azure AD tenant organizational account when signing up for another Microsoft cloud service, a new Microsoft Azure AD tenant will be created for you instead and you will not be able to share the same group of users across all of the Microsoft cloud services you were subscribed to in your original tenant. For more information, see What is an Azure AD directory?

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