Plan multi-factor authentication for Outlook 2016 for Windows


Applies to: Outlook 2016

Topic Last Modified: 2015-09-11

Summary: Plan multi-factor authentication for Outlook 2016.

Audience: IT Professionals

Outlook 2016 for Windows supports new authentication flows, including multi-factor authentication (MFA).


Are you a user?

If you’re not an administrator, this article is not for you.

Are you an admin?

If you’re an administrator, and your organization needs the additional security offered by multi-factor authentication, this article is for you.

Outlook 2016 can perform modern authentication through its support for MFA. MFA is an authentication process that requires a user to provide a second form of identification in addition to their password. For example, in addition to the user's password, a code might be sent to their mobile device, and the user would have to input the code to access the system. MFA is preferable because it offers additional protection and mitigates the security risks, such as a stolen or compromised password.

MFA is possible because Outlook 2016 uses the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL), which is sometimes also referred to as ADAL-based authentication. MFA is also built on OAuth, which is a standard for token-based authentication and authorization.

For more information about how MFA and ADAL-based authentication works, see Office 2013 updated authentication enabling Multi-Factor Authentication and SAML identity providers.

To enable multi-factor and ADAL-based authentication in Outlook 2016, the administrator performs the following steps.

  1. Check the latest information about Office support for modern authentication to ensure that none of the limitations mentioned in the article affect your organization.

  2. Enable OAuth on Office 365 using the instructions provided in this article: Plan for multi-factor authentication for Office 365 Deployments.

Office 2016 supports Office 365 by default, so no additional client configuration is needed.

The MFA support in Outlook 2016 was also added to Outlook 2013.