Microsoft 365 ownerless groups policy email message body format and content

When you are creating or updating “Microsoft 365 ownerless groups policy” – you can customize email template subject and message body.

Here is how out-of-the-box email message looks like for admin:

Here is how out-of-the-box email message looks like for user:

You can customize subject, message body and link in the footer.
You can use variables: $User.DisplayName to insert the user’s name and $Group.Name to insert the name of the group.

Message body size is limited to 1040 symbols, so not much you can put there. Which means you’ll probably need to share the link to some page in SharePoint where you can provide users more information – explain everything – why it is happening and what are the actions need to be done with screenshots etc. So you’d need a link here – clearly visible in the e-mail body (OotB “Policy guideline Url” appears at the end of the email barely visible).

You’d also emphasize some elements of the message… but how?
It seems like e-mail template does not support HTML tags… and there is no WYSIWYG experience.

Here is what I found out: although policy e-mail template does not support markup, you still can use some tricks as long as e-mail client understands it. Specifically, you can use GitHub-style formatting as described here.

In my experience – both – outlook web-client and outlook desktop app interpret GitHub-wiki-style markup well. I.e. you can use headers, bold/italic text, lists/bullets, links and images.

Here is admin editing e-mail experience:

Here is user e-mail experience:


[Link Text](Url) - will look like a link
# will look like a header #
Please refer to a GitHub formatting syntax for a full syntax

N.B. if you forward the message – you might loose formatting.

You might want use Microsoft’s “My groups” page, or “Groups I own” and “Groups I am in” pages.

Example of e-mail subject:

Subject: $Group.Name group needs a new owner

Example of e-mail template:

Hi $User.DisplayName, 

This group currently does not have an owner:
## $Group.Name
You're receiving this email because you've been an active member of the group.  

Per organization's policy, the group requires an owner. **Ownerless groups are subject for deletion.**
For more details - please refer to ["Organization's ownerless resources policy"]( 
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4 thoughts on “Microsoft 365 ownerless groups policy email message body format and content

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  4. Ilan

    Have you been able to add an image to those emails? I have tried to use what is explained in, but it didn’t work. I was trying to add a banner to the top of the email to make a bit more personalized.

    I have also noticed that the email is double space. I have added, for example,

    M365 Governance Team

    and it’s double spaced in the email. Do you know if it’s possible to make this single spaced? I would think this is just how it is.

    I am testing adding *donotforward* in the body since forwarding this would not work.


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