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 life smarter, and it helps to automate complex tasks and reduces the risk of human errors. I’m exploring how to use PowerShell with SharePoint Online in this article.
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 Windows Task Scheduler.
- Query and Filter the data
- Configure services, manipulate objects, Monitoring, etc.
In this post, I am going to 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.
This allows you to automate common tasks and perform bulk operations on your SharePoint Online environment.
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 email@example.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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org -StorageQuota 1000 -Title "Sales Site"
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.
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 email@example.com #create group New-SPOSiteGroup -Site https://salaudeen.sharepoint.com/sites/Sales ` -Group "Sales Managers" -PermissionLevels "Full Control"
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
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
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?
PnP PowerShell 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?
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
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?
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
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