What to do when an External User gets “Account not found in SharePoint Directory” Error

BScott Zischerky Rick Berryman

When a user attempts to log into their SharePoint site and gets a “Not found in SharePoint Directory” error, this usually means that the user received the External User invite at one email address, but used a different email address to accept the invite. When this occurs, the only fix is to remove all occurrences of both the user’s accounts (invite and acceptance) on the SharePoint site, explain the error to the user and how to properly accept the invite, then re-send the invite.

NOTE: In order to remove the email accounts of the external user, the person performing this task must have Site Collection Administration rights.

Removing the External User accounts from the SharePoint site

  • Remove the user from the Azure Active Directory
  1. Navigate to the Office 365 Admin Center, open the Admin Centers pulldown menu, and select Azure Active Directory
  2. Select “Users” from the left side navigation menu
  3. In the Name box near the top of the page, enter the email account you are searching for
  4. When the user is displayed, hover over the user name and click on the box that appears.
  5. Click on the “Delete User” link at the top of the listing.

At this point, the user losses the ability to log into the SharePoint site, but the user accounts still exist in the Site Collections or Permissions Group that the account was given. These accounts must now be removed.

  • Remove the user from all Site Collections and Permission Groups
  1. Navigate to the site collection root page
  2. Click on the cog wheel and select Site Settings
  3. On the Site Settings page, click on People and Groups
  4. In the URL line (at the top of the page that starts with “Secure | http://”) change the number at the end of the URL to 0 (zero).
  5. Click on the Settings Link, and click on List Settings. This will display the User Information List settings. You want to change the view to display the Work email and OtherMail fields.
    1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Default View
    2. Scroll through the list of names on the left side of the page and click on the Work Email and OtherMail boxes.
    3. Click on OK. You will be returned to the User Information List page.
  6. Click on the work email title and click on “Show Filter Choices”. This will open a window with all of the alphabetized Work Emails in the list. Scroll down the list until you find the desired email, and click on it.
  7. Click on the gray box to the left of the Name field
  8. Click on the Actions link above the Name field and select Delete Users from Site Collection.
  • This will remove the user from all Permissions Groups and from the Site Collection entirely.

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