Assign licenses to users

You can assign licenses at the same time that you're adding users to your Visual Studio Online account. That way, you can make sure that each user gets the correct access to the features they need.

What licenses do users need?

Users need an eligible MSDN subscription, a Visual Studio Online monthly license, or a Stakeholder license. You can add unlimited eligible MSDN subscribers and stakeholders at no extra charge. And, Visual Studio Online includes 5 free Basic monthly licenses for those who don't have MSDN subscriptions. You can also get more monthly licenses after you set up billing with an Azure subscription. Find out more about licenses and pricing.

Check your license

As a new user, you automatically get a Basic monthly license. But you can change it, if you have or need a different license.

  1. Sign in to youraccount.visualstudio.com as the Visual Studio Online account owner or project collection administrator.

  2. View your licenses.

    Go to the Users hub

    Your current license appears in the Users hub

  3. Edit your license. Save your changes when you're done.

    Edit your license

    Visual Studio Online validates your license the next time you sign in. Why won't my subscription validate?

    For example, Francis has a Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscription. This subscription includes Visual Studio Online. So, she changes her license from Basic to Eligible MSDN Subscriber. This also frees up a Basic license.

  4. Add yourself to a team project, if you want.

Add other users and licenses

  1. Sign in to youraccount.visualstudio.com as the Visual Studio Online account owner or project collection administrator.

  2. View your licenses.

    Go to the Users hub

    Now you'll give users access to your Visual Studio Online account by adding them and assigning licenses to them.

    Unless your Visual Studio Online account uses a directory to control access, you'll add users with the sign-in addresses for their Microsoft accounts. Otherwise, you can only add users from the connected directory. You'll see a list of directory members when you start to add users.

  3. Add users who have eligible MSDN subscriptions.

    Add users with eligible MSDN subscriptions

    Visual Studio Online validates their subscriptions after they sign in.

    MSDN subscribers validated after signing in

  4. Add up to 5 free Basic users.

  5. Assign the Stakeholder license license to anyone who just needs access to your backlog and work items. Find out more about working as a stakeholder.

  6. Buy Visual Studio Online monthly licenses if users don't have eligible MSDN subscriptions or need access to additional features.

    1. Set up billing for your Visual Studio Online account with an Azure subscription.

    2. Buy additional licenses through Azure.

    3. Go to the Users hub.

    4. Add users and assign their licenses, or update their current licenses. Save your changes after editing a license.

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

    Add users and assign additional licenses

  7. Now add these users to team projects as necessary.

Remove users from your account

When users don't need access to your Visual Studio Online account anymore, remove them.

  1. Sign in to youraccount.visualstudio.com as the Visual Studio Online account owner or administrator.

  2. If you're the account owner or project collection administrator, go to the Users hub to delete the user.

    Delete users from the Users hub

    Otherwise, go to your account's security settings to delete the user.

    Go to your account's Security settings

    Delete users from your account's security settings

    If they have a Visual Studio Online license, you can now reassign that license. Or, if you don't need that license, and you bought that license through Azure, go to the next step.

    My account uses a directory to control access. Can I just delete users from the directory?

  3. If the user has Visual Studio Online license that you bought but don't need anymore, make sure to reduce your licenses in Azure. That way, you're not charged for that license in the next billing cycle.

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

    2. Select your Visual Studio Online account.

      Select your Visual Studio Online account

    3. View your purchased licenses.

      Go to the Scale page

    4. Reduce your licenses, then save your changes.

      Drag the sliders to adjust your licenses

Try this next

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

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 (MPN). 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 (MPN). Visual Studio Professional (MPN) is the subscription offered to Microsoft Action Pack partners in the Microsoft Partner Network and was formerly called "MSDN for Action Pack."

Find out more about Visual Studio Online with MSDN subscriptions here.

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

A: Here's how they compare:

  • Visual Studio Online Basic has the same features as Visual Studio Professional with MSDN.
  • Visual Studio Online Advanced has the same features as all the other eligible MSDN subscriptions.
  • Visual Studio Online Professional is the same as Visual Studio Online Basic but with a monthly subscription to the Visual Studio Professional IDE.

Find out more about Visual Studio Online with MSDN subscriptions here.

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

A: Select this license when the user has an active and eligible MSDN subscription and when you have the sign-in address that's linked to this subscription. If you select "Eligible MSDN Subscriber", but the user doesn't have an eligible MSDN subscription, they can only work as a stakeholder.

If the user has a different sign-in address for Visual Studio Online and for their MSDN subscription, they must make sure that their Visual Studio Online sign-in address is associated with their subscription on their MSDN My Account page. Find out how to change the Microsoft account associated with your subscription.

Q: Why do I have to add users to a directory?

A: Your Visual Studio Online account uses a directory to control access. All users must be in the directory to get access.

If you're a directory administrator, you can add users to the directory. If you're not, work with your directory administrator to add users. Find out more about controlling access with a directory.

Q: Why won't my MSDN subscription validate?

A: If your subscription is new, there might be a 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 your MSDN My Account page. Or try these sign-in 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, Stakeholder. 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: What happens if a user's subscription expires?

A: If no other licenses are available, they'll work as a stakeholder. To restore their license, they must renew their subscription.

Q: My user can't see certain features anymore. What happened?

A: This happens when their assigned license isn't valid anymore, and no other licenses are available. They'll continue working as a stakeholder. If their MSDN subscription expired, they must renew it to restore their features. If their Visual Studio Online license is inactive, check that you still have an active credit card for billing your Azure subscription.

Q: How do I know if my Visual Studio Online account is connected to a directory?

A: Here's how:

  1. Go to your account settings.

    Go to your account settings

  2. Check whether your account uses a directory to control access.

    Check if your account is connected to a directory

    Find out more about setting up work access for your account with a directory. That way, you can only add users from your company's directory.

Q: My account uses a directory to manage access. Can I just delete users from the directory?

A: Yes, but this removes their access to all Visual Studio Online accounts and other assets associated with that directory. You must be the directory administrator to delete a user from the directory.