Chapter 3 - Creating Your Sandbox

A visual accompaniment to an in-person workshop, "Building Your Microsoft 365 Training Program From The Inside" at the Microsoft 365 Collaboration Conference (Spring 2021)

Sean Bugler | @sbglr | June 11, 2021, 9:00AM PST
Image courtesy of Markus Spiske |
Chapter 3 Highlights

What is a Microsoft 365 developer tenant?

To start at a high level, a "tenant" is Microsoft's terminology for a single Microsoft 365 workspace. It's a whole world wrapped up in a single package. You can learn more about exactly what comes with a developer tenant on their official FAQ page here.

You should know that a developer tenant lasts for approximately 90 days on, what Microsoft descibes as, a rolling renewable basis as long as it's being used for verifiable developer activity. There is practically zero clarity on what that actually means, but in practice what that means for you is don't store any data of value here.

On the off chance your developer tenant does expire, you can always create a new one in the future.

Why would we create a separate sandbox? Doesn't that mean double work?

You could look at it that way. I tend to look at it as an opportunity to push all the buttons and pull all the levers to get a sense of which direction you might want to go.

Giving yourself a sandbox empowers you to get aggressive with the changes you make, or the things you test out. Particularly with the litany of new tools and services coming online, Microsoft 365 is increasingly interconnected.

With the sample users we'll provision in Step 4, you can also really get a sense for how certain changes and arrangements impact others.

Creating a Microsoft 365 Developer Tenant

  1. Navigate to M365 Developer Portal:
  2. Click Join Now and, if you're not already, sign in with a personal Microsoft account.


Don't want to use a personal account? That's okay! Generate a temporary email address at

  1. Click Set up E5 Subscription and complete the prompts. Make a note of your developer tenant login credentials!


A phone number is required here and is, regrettably, unavoidable. Microsoft doesn't use the number for anything other than verification that you're 1. Not a robot, and 2. Not using this for malicious purposes.

  1. Install the Users sample data pack (this will create 16 sample users in the workspace)

Optional: If you'd like, go ahead and install a couple of SharePoint site templates. Provisioning can take some time, so I'd advise bookmarking this site and coming back later. 5. Time to visit your new tenant! Navigate to and sign in with the developer tenant credentials you created in Step 3.


There's a pretty good chance many of you already have a Microsoft account of some sort. To avoid a clashing of accounts, I highly recommend using a web browser that supports Profiles, like Chrome or Microsoft Edge (the new one).

Once discussions have wrapped up, click the button below to proceed to Chapter 4.