Integrating SharePoint 2013 with Azure Active Directory – Part 1 Configuration

NOTE:  I updated this 10/9/2013 because some of the Url references I had below had changed between when I did it (when AAD was in preview) and now (RTM).

The Azure Active Directory (AAD) team has made the first release of their product.  Along the way they’ve added functionality that allows you to configure AAD as an identity provider in ACS.  With these features, AAD and ACS become a natural combination to use with SharePoint when you are interested in securing your site using SAML claims.

You may question using AAD, when you’ve obviously got Active Directory to begin with.  In my own experience, the majority of people using SAML are also using ADFS and AD for their identity provider.  In those cases, as well as when you want to share a common directory store and authentication provider across multiple web applications (SharePoint or otherwise), AAD is a natural fit.  The real value add with AAD is that unlike most other SAML providers you use with SharePoint, it has a built-in queryable directory.  You still end up having to write a custom claims provider, but the Graph API built on top of AAD gives you the hooks you need to wire up your claims provider, which is a big advantage over what we typically have to work with.

In order to configure SharePoint 2013 with AAD, it uses a lot of steps and concepts that you’re already familiar with if you have configured SharePoint with SAML authentication before, or if you’ve read my blog before on SAML, ACS, ADFS and SharePoint.  I’m going to use a combination of pointers to other postings, some copy and paste from some other blog posts (mine and others), and some new content.  Here’s the process for getting this set up; for the first four steps I recommend you read Vittorio’s blog on configuring AAD with ACS at

Step 1:  Create or ReUse an ACS Tenant

One quick point here – why use ACS?  There is a capability to have AAD act as an identity provider on its own (see the walk through here:  Well the problem we need to work through is that AAD uses SAML 2.0, and SharePoint only works with SAML 1.1.  Since ACS understands both formats, we will use it as the intermediary to transform the token formats between SharePoint and AAD. 

So, to create or reuse an ACS tenant, use the new Azure Portal at  You’ll see “Active Directory” listed in the left navigation pane.  Click on it and you can see your existing ACS tenants and use one of those, or create a new one.  Once you have the tenant you want to work with, go ahead and click on it, then click on the Manage button in the bottom bar.  That takes you to the older ACS tenant management page.  In my case I created a new tenant called DreamSwirls, so when I click on the management button it takes me to

 Step 2:  Create an Azure Active Directory Tenant

I’ll assume that you haven’t created a tenant yet, but if you have already then you can certainly reuse it.  You’ll just want to make sure you follow the step below about configuring directory sync and SSO.  To create a tenant go to to set one up.  If you already have a tenant you can go to to manage your existing tenant.  Vittorio’s post has more details if needed.  In my case, I created a new tenant called DreamSwirls.

Step 3:  Provision a Service Principal in ACS

This step I’m not going to cover in any detail because Vittorio’s post does so beautifully.  Read his post to get the link to download the MSOL PowerShell tools as well as the four lines of PowerShell you need to create the Service Principal.  Spoiler alert – it’s easy!  🙂  NOTE:  I downloaded the MSOL Powershell from

Step 4:  Add AAD as an IdP in ACS

I tried but could not think of any more acronyms to add to step 4.  Suffice to say this step is also pretty easy, and you can get the blow by blow steps on Vittorio’s blog.  In a nutshell though, you’re just going to head over to the management page for your ACS tenant, as described at the end of Step 1.  Click on the Identity Providers link in the left pane and then click on Add to create a new IdP.  Select the option to create a new WS-Federation identity provider and then click the Next button.  In the new Identity Provider pages you’ll paste in the link to the Federation Metadata XML file from AAD; by default this is at   In my case, since my tenant name is “DreamSwirls”, my metadata Url is   That’s really all you need to get your AAD tenant registered in ACS and ready to use by SharePoint.

 Step 5:  Set up Directory Sync and SSO with your AAD Tenant

The guidance for doing these steps is happily progressing and getting much better over time.  When you visit your AAD tenant at, there is a link on the home page that says “Integrate with Active Directory”.  I’m not going to cover this in any real detail here, because there are several steps, some downloadable tools required, and excellent instructions in the AAD tenant.    In a nutshell though what you’ll end up doing is adding your domain to your tenancy, which will require you adding a simple TXT entry to your DNS so it can be validated that you own it.  Then you’ll download and configure directory synchronization between your local domain and your AAD tenant – that’s how all of your AD users and groups will get replicated up to the cloud.  Finally, you’ll configure SSO, and when you do that you’ll provide the Url to your ADFS farm where your domain users can authenticate.  That allows you to manage your accounts, groups, and passwords in your local AD as you are used to doing.  When you’re done with this step you should be able to see all your AD accounts in your AAD tenant, make one of them a global administrator, and then log into the tenant with the AD credentials for that user against your ADFS farm.

UPDATE 10/9/2013:  You can now manage your AAD tenant directly in the Windows Azure Portal at

 Step 6 – Create a Relying Party for SharePoint in ACS

Now that I have my IdP all set up, I still need to create a new relying party in ACS for SharePoint.  I covered this in my post here:  Scroll down to step #3 for step by step instructions to create the relying party for SharePoint in ACS.  The main things to remember are that you want to configure the Return URL to be https://yourSharePointSite/_trust/, and to write down the realm you use because you’ll need that in Step 8 when you create an SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer; in my case I’m using “urn:sharepoint:aad” as the realm.  In the identity provider section of the ACS relying party configuration, check the box next to your AAD IdP.  Also remember to configure the Token Format to be SAML 1.1. 

UPDATE:  As Ken mentions in the comments below, you should increase the token lifetime to a bigger value.  It’s 10 minutes by default, and your login token window is 10 minutes by default, so if you don’t change it you will just end up constantly looping back and forth between SharePoint and ACS to authenticate.  Set it to a number that’s reasonable for your environment; I normally use 10 hours but your mileage may vary.

Finally, leave the box checked to Create A New Rule Group at the bottom of the page

Step 7 – Edit the New Rule Group

For reasons I’ll explain later on in this post, you want to first create a rule that will just pass through all claims from the IdP to SharePoint.  To do that, on the ACS management page click on Rule Groups.  When you created the relying party you checked the option to create a new rule group.  You should see a new rule group now that has a name that “Default rule group for nameOfMyRelyingParty”; click on that link.  Click the Add link to create a new rule.  The Identity Provider drop down should have your AAD IdP selected already.  This is really all you need to do; you can enter a description if you wish like “Passthrough all claims from AAD”, then click the Save button and that takes you back out to the Edit Rule Group page.

When AAD released, they also made one other important change you’ll find in the release notes (, which is that they no longer expressly include the UPN claim; it’s value however is included in the Name claim.  As you get into building the custom claims provider to use with AAD, you’ll see that UPN is one of the two ways in which you can query for user attributes (the other is object ID or oid, and is generally not useful for the humans).  In order to get the UPN claim to us then we’ll create an additional claim mapping in our Rule Group to send the value of the Name claim back in a UPN claim.  To do that:

  1. Click on the Add link to create a new claim rule.
  2. In the Identity Provider drop down, select your AAD provider if it is not already.
  3. In the Input claim type section, click the Select type radio button and then select in the drop down.
  4. In the Output claim type section, click the Select type radio button and then select in the drop down.
  5. Give it a description if you wish, like Name Claim to UPN then click the Save button.

Once you’ve done this you’re returned to the Edit Rule Group page and you can just click the Save button again to keep your changes.

 Step 8 – Set up the SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer in SharePoint

This step is fundamentally the same process as you did in SharePoint 2010.  It’s always a little trickier with ACS though, specifically getting the token signing certificate.  I covered had to do that in this post:  Scroll down to step 6 and look at c) for details on how to get the token signing certificate and save it to disk.  Once you have it saved to disk then it’s a fairly straightforward and familiar set of PowerShell commands to create your SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer.  Here it is, with a few comments to follow:

$cert = New-Object System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates.X509Certificate2(“c:\dsAcsTokenSigning.cer”)

New-SPTrustedRootAuthority -Name “ACS Dream Swirls Token Signing Certificate” -Certificate $cert

$map = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType ”” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “UPN” -SameAsIncoming

$map2 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “Role” -SameAsIncoming

$map3 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “EmailAddress” -SameAsIncoming

$map4 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “GivenName” -SameAsIncoming

$map5 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “SurName” -SameAsIncoming

$map6 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “JobTitle” -SameAsIncoming

$map7 = New-SPClaimTypeMapping -IncomingClaimType “” -IncomingClaimTypeDisplayName “Office” -SameAsIncoming

$realm = “urn:sharepoint:aad”

$ap = New-SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer -Name “AAD” -Description “ACS Using Azure Active Directory Identity Provider” -realm $realm -ImportTrustCertificate $cert -ClaimsMappings $map,$map2,$map3,$map4,$map5,$map6,$map7 -SignInUrl “” -IdentifierClaim ””


Here are the comments:  I saved the token signing certificate from ACS as c:\dsAcsTokenSigning.cer, so that’s what I referred to in my first line of PowerShell.  I also have to add that certificate to my list of trusted root authorities, as I do with all token signing certificates, so that was the next line of PowerShell.  The claim mappings should be straightforward, but I’ll explain a little more about that in a bit.  The $realm variable is what I defined in my relying party configuration in the Step 6.

Secondly, not all of these claim mappings in the PowerShell will work.  What I mean by that, is not all of those claims are going to be returned.  Even though ACS is configured to pass through all of those claims from AAD, your AAD tenant will not return all of those claims.  When AAD redirects you to authenticate against ADFS, it won’t just do a pass through itself of the claims it gets back.  The claim set I am currently getting back (and this is subject to change as AAD updates the service) based on my claim mappings looks like this:  Steve  Peschka|aad||aad|  trusted:AAD  trusted:AAD True  23883b79-ac8e-4ddb-8666-007d9ac296db|aad|,0e.t|aad|,1301blah blah blah

Also note that there may be other claims coming back from ACS, but if I haven’t created a claim mapping for them then I won’t see it in SharePoint.  That’s why I purposely created my PowerShell like I did – to illustrate that the claims being returned from ADFS are not getting sent all the way back to SharePoint.  This is something you’ll need to think about, but actually when you consider how user rehydration works in SharePoint 2013 (for more details see this is not necessarily a bad thing.


At this point SharePoint is pretty much ready to go – there are just a few more steps that you should be able to do without step by step instructions:

  1. Configure a new or existing web application to use your SPTrustedIdentityTokenIssuer
  2. Create a new site collection at the root of that web application
  3. Use the UPN (since it’s the identity claim) of one of your domain users as the site collection administrator
  4. Log into the site collection


Here’s what the whole process looks like to log into the site using ACS, AAD and ADFS:


I hit the site and get redirected to ACS, where it asks me to select the IdP I want to use:



I get redirected to my AAD tenant, where I provide the domain credentials I want to use; since I’m signing in using an account in a domain that is configured for SSO it automatically redirects me to sign in at the ADFS site I’ve configured:



I get prompted by the ADFS server I configured for to enter my credentials:



After I authenticate I get bounced, bounced, bounced all the way back to my SharePoint site.  Here you can see the home page of my site and all of the claims that came back with me (provided by my SharePoint Claims Enumeration web part I updated for SharePoint 2013 at



There you go – that’s your end to end configuring SharePoint 2013 with Azure Active Directory and ACS.  In Part 2 of this series ( I will write a post about using the Graph API on top of AAD in a custom claims provider for SharePoint.



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