Assign licenses to users

Assign licenses when you add users to your Visual Studio Online account. This way, you control how licenses are assigned.

Users will need an eligible MSDN subscription or a Visual Studio Online monthly license. You can add unlimited eligible MSDN subscribers at no extra charge. You get 5 free Basic monthly licenses for those who don't have MSDN subscriptions. If you need more monthly licenses, set up billing for your account through an Azure subscription. You can then buy the licenses that you need and come back here to assign them.

If you have users with organizational accounts, set up organization access so that those users can sign in.

Set up your own license

  1. Sign in to as the account owner or project collection administrator.

  2. Go to the Users hub.

    Go to Users hub

    You automatically get a Basic license as a new user.

    Your account appears on the Users hub 
  3. Edit your license, if you want. Save your changes when you're done.

    Edit a license

    For example, Francis has an MSDN subscription for Visual Studio Ultimate. This subscription includes Visual Studio Online. So, she changes her license from Basic to Eligible MSDN Subscriber. This also frees up a Basic license. Visual Studio Online validates and updates her license the next time that she signs in.

    Why won't my subscription validate?

Add other users and licenses

  1. Sign in to as the account owner or project collection administrator.

  2. Go to the Users hub.

  3. Add the sign-in addresses for users who have eligible MSDN subscriptions. Set them to Eligible MSDN Subscriber.

    Add eligible MSDN Subscribers

    These subscriptions are validated after users sign in. If your Visual Studio Online account is connected to your organization's Azure Active Directory, users must be directory members to access your account.

    MSDN Subscribers validated after signing in
  4. Add your 5 free Basic users. They can use the core Visual Studio Online features with Visual Studio Express.

  5. Get licenses for users who don't have eligible MSDN subscriptions or those who want to use additional Visual Studio Online features:

    1. Set up billing in Azure.
    2. Buy user licenses in Azure.
    3. Go back to the Users hub. Add those users and assign their licenses.

      For example, suppose you set up billing for your account and bought more licenses for your team: 3 more Basic licenses, 1 Professional license, and 5 Advanced licenses. Now you'll assign them.

      Assign licenses after buying more licenses

Remove users from your account

If your account is connected to your organization's Azure Active Directory, deleting users from the directory is enough to revoke their access. But if your account isn't connected to a directory, or if your users have licenses that you want to reassign or remove, follow these steps.

  1. Sign in to as the account owner or an administrator.
  2. If you're the account owner or project collection administrator, go to the Users hub and remove the user.

    Delete users from the Users hub

    Otherwise, go to your account's Security settings to remove the user.

    Go to Security settings  Delete users from Security settings 
  3. If these users have Visual Studio Online licenses that you don't need anymore, reduce those licenses in Azure. This way, you won't get charged for them at the next billing cycle.

    1. Sign in to Azure as the Visual Studio Online account owner.

    2. Go to Visual Studio, select your account, then go to the Scale page.

      Select your Visual Studio Online accountGo to the Scale page 
    3. Reduce your licenses, then save your changes.

      Drag the sliders to adjust your licenses 

Q & A

Q:Why can't I assign licenses?

A:Only the Visual Studio Online account owner and project collection administrators can assign licenses.

Q:Which MSDN subscriptions are eligible?

A:These MSDN subscriptions include Visual Studio Online at no extra charge:

  • Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Premium with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Professional with MSDN
  • MSDN Platforms

You can also use these subscriptions when you get them through the BizSpark program or Microsoft Partner Network. Or you can use a Visual Studio Online monthly license instead. You get 5 free Basic licenses with your Visual Studio Online account.

Subscriptions that aren't eligible: MSDN Operating Systems, MSDN Essentials, and Visual Studio Professional subscriptions offered through the Microsoft Action Pack program

Q:What's the difference between the Visual Studio Online licenses and MSDN subscriptions?

A:Here's how they compare:

Q:When do I select "Eligible MSDN Subscriber"?

A:When you know that the user has an active and eligible subscription and that you have the sign-in address that's linked to their subscription. If they use different sign-in addresses with Visual Studio Online and their subscription, they can relink their subscription to their sign-in address.

Q:Why won't my MSDN subscription validate?

A:If your subscription is new, there might be some delay. Make sure that your subscription is eligible, active, and that it's linked to your Visual Studio Online sign-in address. If you're not sure, check this on your MSDN account portal. If your subscription isn't linked to the correct sign-in address, relink your subscription. If you still can't sign in, try these troubleshooting tips. If you need more help, contact Support.

Q:What happens if I add people outside of the Users hub?

A:They'll get the next available license in this order: Advanced, Basic, Professional. Although you can change these licenses, add your users through the Users hub. You can then control how licenses are assigned. You can't add users outside of the Users hub if you don't have available licenses.

Q:I was an early adopter, but now I can't sign in. What do I do?

A:The Early Adopter program ended on May 7, 2014. If you had the Early Adopter license, you'll need either a Visual Studio Online license or an eligible MSDN subscription.

Your account also changed back to the free limits:

  • 5 free Basic users
  • 60 monthly minutes of cloud-hosted build time
  • 15,000 monthly virtual user minutes of cloud-hosted load testing

To get more user licenses or shared resources, set up billing for your account by linking it to an Azure subscription.

Try this next

  • Set up billing for your account to get more user licenses or resources, like build or load testing capacity.