Importing users to Office 365 from CSV file – username must be in UPN format

Every now and again, I come across a piece of advice on the net from seemingly authoritative sources that’s just plain wrong. Or at least it’s factually correct but doesn’t answer the question that was asked.  One such example was a few weeks ago when I was uploading user details via CSV to bulk provision cloud accounts in Office 365.

The import was failing, telling me that “The user name is not valid. You can only use letters and numbers. No spaces”. Except that’s not really the problem here – we were using the CSV template downloaded from the Office 365 Admin Center and there were no letters and spaces.

Stupidly, I’d put in the user names – like MarkWilson – but of course Office 365 usernames are in UPN format.  What the message could (more helpfully) have said is “The user name is not valid. It should be in the format username@fullyqualifieddomainname”.

Unfortunately, there is a “verified answer” on a Microsoft Community forum post that is incorrect. It tells the original poster to download a blank CSV file from the portal and to populate that but that’s exactly what they (and I) did. The correct answer (which is a “suggested answer”, but not a “verified answer”) says to include the @domainname in the user name field in the CSV file. In my example, that would be (assuming no other domain names have been associated with the tenant). So far, my requests for Microsoft to get this fixed have failed… here’s hoping that my blog post comes up in the next person’s Google/Bing search…

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