How to Connect to SharePoint Online from PowerShell?

I know I said it several times, but I’ll say it again: I Love PowerShell! PowerShell is a Microsoft administrative task automation and configuration management framework that allows you to administer Microsoft products, including SharePoint Online. PowerShell makes repetitive tasks easier and makes our lives smarter, and it helps to automate complex tasks and reduces the risk of human errors.

Managing SharePoint Online through the graphical user interface can be slow and cumbersome when you need to make a lot of changes or handle repetitive administration tasks. That’s why Microsoft provides the incredibly helpful SharePoint Online Management Shell – to give admins access to a rich toolset of PowerShell cmdlets for streamlining management. In this post, we’ll walk through exactly how to connect to your SharePoint Online environment from PowerShell.

How to Connect to SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

Why should we use PowerShell to Manage SharePoint Online? If you’re a SharePoint administrator, you know that PowerShell is your best friend. With PowerShell, you can automate many tasks that would otherwise take a long time to complete. Not just that, There are several reasons why we use PowerShell:

  • Perform bulk operations and speed up the process – E.g., Applying settings to all sites, document libraries, etc.
  • Generate reports – E.g., Export all user permissions from a site
  • Certain operations and configurations can only be done and are available only through PowerShell
  • Automate common repetitive tasks with the help of the Windows Task Scheduler.
  • Query and Filter the data
  • Configure services, manipulate objects, Monitoring, etc.

In this post, I will show you how to connect to SharePoint Online using PowerShell as a beginner. So, to start with, follow these steps to connect to SharePoint Online via PowerShell:

Step 1: Install the SharePoint Online Management Shell or SharePoint Online PowerShell Module

Make sure You have PowerShell and SharePoint Online PowerShell Module Installed. To download Windows Management Framework 3, which includes PowerShell 3.0: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34595

Download and Install SharePoint Online Management Shell
To get started with SharePoint Online PowerShell, You have to download and install SharePoint Online Management Shell. Download PowerShell for the SharePoint Online module at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35588, and run the installer in administrative mode.

install powershell for sharepoint online

This allows you to automate common tasks and perform bulk operations on your SharePoint Online environment.

Update: Instead of downloading and installing the MSI file, you can also install the PowerShell module for SharePoint Online from PowerShell Gallery, if you are running with an operating system like Windows 10, that supports PowerShell version 5 or newer: Install-Module -Name Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell, Refer here for more info: Install SharePoint Online Management Shell Module via PowerShell

How to check the SharePoint Online Management Shell version? Use Control Panel >> Add/Remove programs to find out the installed version of SharePoint Online Management Shell! You can also use Control Panel – Add/Remove programs to uninstall the SharePoint Online management shell.

Step 2: Connect to SharePoint Online PowerShell using the Connect-SPOService cmdlet

Once the SharePoint Online Management Shell is installed, the next step is to connect to the SharePoint Online site using PowerShell. How do I access SharePoint Online Management Shell? Launch the “SharePoint Online Management Shell” command prompt from the start menu and connect to SharePoint Online Administration Center first and run the following command to connect to SharePoint Online: (Or you can use the Windows PowerShell console / PowerShell ISE as well to run a PowerShell script)

Connect-SPOService -Url https://salaudeen-admin.sharepoint.com `
           -credential salaudeen@salaudeen.onmicrosoft.com

This cmdlet must be executed before we use any other SharePoint Online cmdlets. As soon as you hit enter, you’ll get a login prompt to enter your username and password. Make sure you connect with an account with minimum permission of the SharePoint Online administrator and use HTTPS in the admin site URL. You’ll get a prompt for the password.

Connect to SharePoint Online with PowerShell

Step 3: Start using SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlets!

How to use SharePoint Online Management Shell? Once connected, you can start managing SharePoint Online with PowerShell cmdlets for the SharePoint Online tenant or for individual sites, E.g., Get-SPOSite cmdlet. Here are some examples of how to use the SharePoint Online Management Shell. Let’s create a site collection in SharePoint Online using PowerShell.

SharePoint Online PowerShell Examples

Here are some examples of common tasks for managing SharePoint Online using PowerShell:

SharePoint Online PowerShell to Create Site Collection

Now you can access SharePoint Online from PowerShell and start managing SharePoint sites (From PowerShell console/SharePoint Online Management Shell or from PowerShell ISE). Let’s create a new SharePoint site with the following cmdlet.

#Lets create a new Site collection:
New-SPOSite -Url https://salaudeen.sharepoint.com/sites/Sales `
   -Owner salaudeen@salaudeen.onmicrosoft.com -StorageQuota 1000 -Title "Sales Site" 
powershell script to connect to sharepoint online

Once you’ve finished, You can disconnect the PowerShell session with “Disconnect-SPOService”. However, it’s not mandatory. Generally, it’s a good idea to leave the connection open until and unless you work with different tenants.

Do I need Global Administrator rights to run PowerShell Cmdlets for SharePoint Online?
You need SharePoint Online administrator or Global Administrator rights in order to run these PowerShell scripts. However, to run CSOM or PnP PowerShell scripts at the site level, You just require site collection Administrator rights.

Create a group in SharePoint Online with PowerShell ISE

How to run a PowerShell script for SharePoint Online? You can use PowerShell ISE to run the PowerShell script for SharePoint Online. Let’s create a group using PowerShell for SharePoint Online with the below commands.

#sharepoint online powershell create group:
Import-Module Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.Powershell -DisableNameChecking

#connect to sharepoint online site collection using powershell
Connect-SPOService -Url https://salaudeen-admin.sharepoint.com `
      -credential salaudeen@salaudeen.onmicrosoft.com

#create group
New-SPOSiteGroup -Site https://salaudeen.sharepoint.com/sites/Sales  `
            -Group "Sales Managers" -PermissionLevels "Full Control" 
how to run powershell on sharepoint online

Get Tenant Settings using PowerShell

Even more generic code to connect to SharePoint Online through PowerShell would be with the below cmdlets:

#Import SharePoint Online PowerShell module
Import-Module Microsoft.Online.Sharepoint.PowerShell -DisableNameChecking

#SharePoint Admin Center URL - Set it accordingly
$AdminSiteURL= "https://crescent-admin.sharepoint.com"

#Get credentials to connect
$Credential = Get-Credential

#Connect to SharePoint Online services
Connect-SPOService -url $AdminSiteURL -Credential $credential

#Get Tenant settings
Get-SPOTenant

Connect to SharePoint Online using Saved Credentials

What if you don’t want to get the credentials prompt? E.g., Save credentials in the script and schedule them in the Windows task scheduler. Here is how to connect to SharePoint Online from PowerShell using the user ID and password:

#Variables for processing
$AdminCenterURL = "https://crescent-admin.sharepoint.com"

#User Name Password to connect 
$AdminUserName = "Salaudeen@crescent.com"
$AdminPassword = "Password goes here"

#Prepare the Credentials
$SecurePassword = ConvertTo-SecureString $AdminPassword -AsPlainText -Force
$Credential = new-object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $AdminUserName, $SecurePassword
 
#Connect to SharePoint Online
Connect-SPOService -url $AdminCenterURL -Credential $Credential
 
#Get all Site colections with SharePoint PowerShell
Get-SPOSite

All these methods apply to OneDrive for Business as well, to connect from PowerShell. There is no separate PowerShell module available for OneDrive.

Connect SharePoint Online PowerShell with MFA (Multifactor Authentication)

How do I connect to SharePoint Online with MFA enabled accounts from PowerShell? To connect with SharePoint Online, where multifactor authentication is enabled, simply remove the -Credential parameter from the “Connect-SPOService” cmdlet.

Connect-SPOService -Url https://YourTenant-admin.sharepoint.com

Hit Enter, and You’ll get a popup (which is MFA aware) to enter the credentials and the code from multifactor authentication. To learn more about connecting to SharePoint Online with MFA-enabled accounts, refer to my other post: PowerShell: Connect to SharePoint Online with MFA

PowerShell commands for SharePoint Online – Index of SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlets:

For the list of available cmdlets for SharePoint Online, Refer to SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlets at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fp161364.aspx. You can also use this cmdlet to list SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlets:

Get-Command -Module Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell
connect to sharepoint online using powershell

This lists all Sharepoint Online PowerShell commands available. You may have noticed all the cmdlets will follow the pattern: <Verb>-SPO<Noun>. E.g., Add-SPOUser.

Limitation: Unlike SharePoint on-premises, SharePoint Online offers only the least set of PowerShell cmdlets to manage SharePoint Online. E.g., There are no direct PowerShell cmdlets to activate a feature, create a subsite, create a list, add a list item, get data from SharePoint list, download files from SharePoint, etc. The solution would be utilizing the client-side object model (CSOM) components with PowerShell! How to Connect to SharePoint Online using CSOM PowerShell?

Client Side Object Model (CSOM) is a subset of SharePoint Online Management Shell!

Most Common PowerShell Cmdlets to Manage SharePoint Online

Here are the most common PowerShell cmdlets for SharePoint Online from the SharePoint Online Management Shell:

CmdletDescriptionReference
Get-SPOSiteGets one or more site collectionsSharePoint Online: Get All Site Collections using PowerShell
Set-SPOSiteUpdates property values on a site collectionSharePoint Online: Change the Storage Quota of a Site Collection using PowerShell

SharePoint Online: How to Lock a Site Collection using PowerShell?
New-SPOSiteCreates a new site collectionHow to Create a SharePoint Online Site Collection using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOSiteDeletes a site collectionHow to Delete a SharePoint Online Site using PowerShell?
Get-SPOUserGet all users for a site collectionHow to Get All Users in a SharePoint Online Site Collection using PowerShell?
Get-SPOHomeSite, Set-SPOHomeSite, Remove-SPOHomeSiteGets/Sets a SharePoint Site as a Home Site.Getting Started with Home Site in SharePoint Online
Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation, Get-SPOHubSite, Register-SPOHubSite, Remove-SPOHubSiteAssociationGets/Associates/removes a site with a hub site.How to Create Hub Sites in SharePoint Online: Step by Step
Get-SPOOrgAssetsLibrary, Add-SPOOrgAssetsLibraryGets/Designates a library to be used as a central location for organization assets across the tenant.How to Create an Organization Assets Library in SharePoint Online?
Add-SPOSiteCollectionAppCatalogAdds a Site Collection scoped App Catalog to a site.How to Create an App Catalog Site in SharePoint Online?
Add-SPOSiteDesign, Add-SPOSiteScript, Invoke-SPOSiteDesignCreates a new site design and site scripts available to users when they create a new site from the SharePoint home page.How to Create a Site Design and Site Scripts in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Get-SPOTheme, Add-SPOThemeCreates a new custom theme, or overwrites an existing theme to modify its settings.How to Create a Custom Theme in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Add-SPOUserAdds an existing Office 365 user or an Office 365 security group to a SharePoint group.How to Add user to Group in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Connect-SPOServiceConnects a SharePoint Online administrator to SharePoint Online Administration Center.How to Connect to SharePoint Online from PowerShell?
Enable-SPOCommSiteEnables the communication site experience on an existing classic team site.How to Convert Classic Team Site to a Communication Site in SharePoint Online?
Export-SPOUserInfoExport user information from site user information list.How to Export User Information List in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Get-SPOBrowserIdleSignOut, Set-SPOBrowserIdleSignOutUsed to retrieve/update the value for Idle session sign-out policy.How to Change Idle Session Timeout Settings in SharePoint Online?
Get-SPODeletedSiteReturns all deleted site collections from the Recycle Bin.How to Get All Deleted Sites in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Get-SPOExternalUserGets all external users in the tenant.How to Find All External Users in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Get-SPOHideDefaultThemes, Set-SPOHideDefaultThemesGets/Hides the default themes in SharePoint OnlineHow to Hide the Default Themes in SharePoint Online?
Get-SPOSiteGroupGets all the groups on the specified site collection.How to Get All SharePoint Groups in a SharePoint Online site using PowerShell?
Get-SPOTenant, Set-SPOTenantGets/sets tenant settingsGet SharePoint Online Tenant Settings using PowerShell

How to Enable or Disable the “Everyone” Group in SharePoint Online?

How to Enable or Disable Comments in SharePoint Online List?
Get-SPOWebTemplateDisplays all site templates that match the given identity.Get Site Templates in SharePoint Online using PowerShell
Invoke-SPOSiteSwapInvokes a job to swap the location of a site with another site while archiving the original site.How to Replace a Classic Root Site Collection with a Modern Site in SharePoint Online?
New-SPOSiteGroupCreates a new group in a SharePoint Online site collection.How to Create a SharePoint Group using PowerShell?
Remove-SPODeletedSiteRemoves a SharePoint Online deleted site collection from the Recycle Bin.How to Remove a Deleted SharePoint Online Site Collection from Recycle Bin using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOExternalUserRemoves external users from the tenant.How to Remove External Users in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOSiteGroupRemoves a SharePoint Online group from a site collection.How to Delete a SharePoint Group from SharePoint Online site using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOThemeRemoves a theme from the theme gallery.How to Remove a Custom Theme in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOUserRemoves a user or a security group from a site collection or a group.How to Remove a User from SharePoint Online Site Collection using PowerShell?
Remove-SPOUserProfileRemove user profile from the tenant.How to Delete a User Profile in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Request-SPOPersonalSiteRequests that one or more users be enqueued for a Personal Site to be created.How to Create OneDrive for Business Site Collections using PowerShell?
Restore-SPODeletedSiteRestores a SharePoint Online deleted site collection from the Recycle Bin.How to Restore a Deleted SharePoint Online Site Collection using PowerShell?
Set-SPOUserConfigures properties on an existing user.How to Add a Site Collection Administrator in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

How to Remove a Site Collection Administrator in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Set-SPOWebThemeSets the theme for a SharePoint site.How to Apply a Theme in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?
Start-SPOSiteRenameChange the site collection URL, and, optionally, the site titleHow to Change the Site URL in SharePoint Online?

The key cmdlets allow you to manage site collections, sites, and lists in your SharePoint Online environment. Things like getting, setting, creating, and deleting sites and lists are essential SharePoint admin tasks.

PnP PowerShell Module and cmdlets

SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) is a cross-platform PowerShell module that contains a library of PowerShell cmdlets that allows you to perform complex operations in Microsoft 365 products such as SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Planner, Power Automate, etc., with one single cmdlet. To connect to SharePoint Online using the PnP PowerShell module, refer to How to Connect to SharePoint Online using PnP PowerShell?

Wrapping up

Connecting to SharePoint Online with PowerShell opens up many possibilities for efficiently managing your SharePoint environment. After going through the one-time setup of installing the SharePoint Online Management Shell and connecting to SPO, you unlock access to hundreds of PowerShell cmdlets for administration.

We walked through the essential steps of getting set up for SPO PowerShell. This includes installing the modules, loading your tenant admin credentials into a PSCredential object, and then connecting to the SPO service with that credential. Now that you have connected, you can run PowerShell cmdlets to manage site collections, sites, lists, libraries, users, and permissions – almost every aspect of your SharePoint Online portal. Automating tasks with PowerShell saves enormous amounts of time compared to clicking around the UI.

In summary, mastering SharePoint Online PowerShell administration unlocks simpler management, richer reporting capabilities, and automation to handle repetitive tasks. I encourage you to further explore the vast set of available cmdlets. Microsoft expands the functionality of the online service every year. Refer to the SharePoint Online PowerShell Official Documentation to leverage the latest and greatest features through PowerShell.

How do I create a new site collection in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

To create a modern Team site collection in SharePoint Online, use New-SPOSite PowerShell cmdlet.
New-SPOSite -Url “Site-URL” -Owner “User-ID” -StorageQuota 2048 -Title “Site-Title” -Template “STS#3”
More info: PowerShell to Create a modern site collection in SharePoint Online

How do I run a PowerShell script in SharePoint Online?

You can run a PowerShell script by simply right-clicking on the .ps1 file and choosing “Run with PowerShell” from Windows File Explorer! You can also use PowerShell ISE to create, debug, and execute PowerShell scripts for SharePoint.
More info: How to Execute PowerShell Scripts in SharePoint?

How do I connect to SharePoint Online with MFA enabled accounts from PowerShell?

Just run the cmdlet “Connect-SPOService” without any “Credentials” parameter to it. This leads you to an MFA-enabled login popup for modern authentication. More info: Connect to SharePoint Online from PowerShell with MFA

How do I get items from a SharePoint Online list in PowerShell?

You can use CSOM or PnP PowerShell methods to get items from a SharePoint Online list. E.g., “Get-PnPListItem -List ‘List-Name'”
More info: Get a list of items from a SharePoint list in PowerShell

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

8 thoughts on “How to Connect to SharePoint Online from PowerShell?

  • I need to connect to SPO using credentials(username and password) and not MFA but while connecting I am encountering Identity Client Runtime Library error, is there any change with the SharePoint module or is there any prerequisite that I need to know before connecting to SharePoint.

    Reply
    • Check these:
      1. Verifiy that the user is SharePoint Admin
      2. double-check the URL of the SharePoint site to ensure it’s accurate.
      3. Check if you are using valid credentials for the SharePoint site

      Reply
  • I’m having problems using code using SPO commands outside of the Sharepoint Online Management Shell. eg from the Windows terminal or VSCode?

    For example If I try to use “connect-sposervice -Url https://oursite-admin.sharepoint.com/”, I get the ‘not recognised as a name of a cmdlet’ error. It all works fine inside the SOMS but I’d rather get to grips with Sharepoint scripting using VS code. Have I missed a step or is it just not possible?

    Reply
  • How to get the list of existing sites and select the required.

    Reply
  • Is very helpful

    Reply
  • How to take backup and restore the site collection from dev to uat in sharepoint online

    Reply

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