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Microsoft is bringing this 'highly requested' account switching feature to Microsoft 365 web apps

This feature should make it easier for you to work with multiple accounts from a single browser.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Microsoft is making life easier for people who use Office web apps with a work account, but who also need to switch to a personal account or another work account.  

It's another way Microsoft is catering to the new world of hybrid work and will be viewed as a positive step by people who rely on an Azure Active Directory login for access to Office apps at work, but then use a personal Microsoft Account for other activity. 

In the second quarter of the year, Microsoft 365/Office 365 users will be able to sign into multiple accounts in the same browser and then switch between personal and work accounts (or other work accounts) when accessing different Microsoft web apps. 

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The major annoyance it addresses is that today you need to sign out of the app and then sign back in with another account. Alternatively, the user might do work from another account in a different browser or device. 

"Today, web users can only work with a single account inside of a Microsoft 365 web app, and to use a different account, they must either sign out, use an InPrivate browser window, or a different browser or device altogether," Microsoft explains in a blogpost.

From April to June the single-browser account switching feature will come to Office.com, Word, Excel, PowerPoint for the web, Outlook on the web, OneDrive for the web, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365 admin center.   

What's more, the feature is not just for switching between a work account and a personal account. As Microsoft notes, some workers have two work accounts for roles in different organizations. These people could use a regular browser and a separate "InPrivate" browser window to work across the two organizations, but account switching allows that person to switch between their accounts at the two organizations within the same browser. 

There are some limitations to account switching though, so you can't flick between tabs across accounts within the same browser. You can add multiple accounts in a Microsoft 365 web app, but only one account will be active per app at a time, according to Microsoft. 

"If a user ends up with two or more browser app tabs with different accounts, users will be notified to refresh the tabs with non-active accounts," says Microsoft. 

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Also, account switching for Microsoft 365 web apps works on a "per browser" basis. So, if a person adds a personal and work account to a Microsoft app on Edge and then opens Chrome, their accounts don't automatically appear there. 

This feature is different to Edge profiles, which allows different profiles with different accounts. User will still be able to switch profiles, whereas account switching – a "highly requested feature", according to Microsoft – allows the user to switch accounts while staying in the same profile and browser. 

Microsoft says it is actively working on bring the feature to other Microsoft 365 apps. 

"The account switching functionality is not available for Microsoft 365 operated via 21Vianet, or Microsoft 365 Government and Germany cloud environments," Microsoft says in an FAQ.  

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