Multi-factor Authentication for Office 365 – Step by Step User Setup Guide

Users will learn what steps they need to take when Multi-factor authentication is turned on for their Office 365 login.

Data Privacy Day 2019

Setting up multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your Office 365 account. MFA makes it more difficult for someone else to sign in with just a stolen password. If this is a work account, your administrator would have to enable multi-factor authentication for you. For a personal account, you can turn MFA on in your security settings.

This set-up process is meant to be intuitive, but even the best of us can get stuck on something wholly unknown to us. Here is what the steps in this process will look like.

Setup Steps

  • Start by going to Sign in to Office 365 with your password like you normally do. After you choose Sign in, you will see this prompt:
  • Choose Next
  • Then, select your authentication method. The default is authentication by phone, which is typically a cellphone that can receive texts and calls. Enter your country/region and phone number. Then select if you prefer to be called or texted with the authentication number and hit Next.
  • You will receive a text or a call with a verification code (depending on your selection in the previous step).
  • Enter the code in the box and hit Verify.
  • Most modern applications will allow multi-factor verification using this method. However, some older apps will require a specific new password. In the next step, you’ll get an app password that you can use with older versions of Outlook, and other apps.
  • Hit the “copy” icon to copy the password to your clipboard and enter into Outlook if needed. If you ever need this password in the future you can find it after signing into and going to security settings.
  • Once you complete the instructions to specify how you want to receive your verification code, the next time you sign in to Office 365, you’ll be prompted to enter the code that is sent to you by text message, phone call, etc. and hit Verify.

These next steps are optional but recommended

  • We recommend setting up more than one verification method. To do so, go to and go to your account settings.
  • Go to “Security & privacy” and then “Additional security verification”.
  • Select “Update your phone numbers used for account security” as indicated by the red arrow below.
  • On this page you can edit your default authentication method, add an alternate phone number (for example your office number that can be called if you lose or forget your cell phone), and/or set up the authentication app on your cell phone. Microsoft authenticator has a few more steps which you can find at this link: MS authenticator

Will I be prompted again?

Yes. In the future whenever you sign in to your Microsoft account you will sign in with your password and a code sent to your phone. As previously mentioned, you can decide the best method of receiving this code, via text, phone call, Microsoft Authenticator app or all of the above. Usually, you would remain signed in on computers you use regularly so you will mostly use this when signing in from a new location or device.

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