Share SharePoint files or folders

Applies to: SharePoint Online Office for business, Office 365 Admin, Office 365 Small Business, Office 365 Small Business Admin, SharePoint Server 2019 Office 365 operated by 21Vianet Office, 365 operated by 21Vianet – Small Business Admin Office, 365 operated by 21Vianet – Admin SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet, SharePoint Online Small Business.

The files you hold on a SharePoint site are normally available to everyone with permissions to the site, but you might decide to share particular files/folders with individuals with no authorised access to the website. When you share files and folders, you can choose people’s permissions to modify a file or simply view them. them. You can see who a SharePoint file is shared with, and stop sharing SharePoint files or folders, or change permissions, at any time.

(Want to share the entire site?)

Tip: Take a look at these YouTube videos from SharePoint community experts to discover about working in SharePoint!

Share a file or folder

Here’s how you share files or folders in SharePoint:

  1. Pick your desired file or folder to share, and then click Share.
Screenshot of sharing dialog box showing a sharing link for people inside the organization.
  1. (Optional) Press the drop-down list to edit the type of link. The Details pane appears, where you can change who can enter the link and whether people have editing permissions.

Options for Who would you like this link to work for (options differ based on admin settings):

  • Anyone provides access to anyone who receives this link, whether directly from you or forwarded by someone else (may including people beyond your organisation.

Note: This option is not available in SharePoint Server 2019.

  • People in <Your Organisation> allows anyone in your organisation who has the link access to the file, whether they obtain it directly from you or forwarded from another person.
  • People with existing access can be applied by users with current access to the document or folder. Use this if you only want to send a link to somebody with prior access. 
  • Specific people offers access solely to the people you specify, even though other people could already have access. If people forward the sharing invitation, only people with previous access to the item can use the link.

Note: If a sharing option has been greyed out, your organisation’s admins may have restricted them. For example, they may choose to disable the Anyone option to prevent usable links being forwarded to others.

Automatically, Allow editing is activated. If you want people to only read your files, uncheck the checkbox.

When you’re finished, press Apply.

  1. Type the people’s names of the you want to share with and an optional message.
  1. Once you’re ready to send the link, press Send.

Note: When sharing a file, if you select the Outlook option, this only allows you to include a link to the file in the email message. If you want to attach the actual file, you must download a local copy from SharePoint, then attach the file to the email.

Get a link to a file or folder that you can copy

Another way to share is to obtain a link to a file or folder that you can copy and paste in a text message or on a website. These links can also be forwarded by people you share with to to others.

  1. In SharePoint, select Copy link. The link is instantly copied to your clipboard.
Screenshot of the copy link dialog box
  1. (Optional) Click the drop-down list to alter the type of link. The Details pane displays, where you can edit who can access the link and if people can edit the item you’re sharing.

Options for Who would you like this link to work for (options adapt based on admin settings):

  • Anyone gives access to anyone who receives this link, whether directly from you or forwarded by someone else (possibly including people beyond of your organisation).
  • People in <Your Organisation> offers anyone in your organisation who has the link access to the file, whether they acquire it directly from you or forwarded from another person.
  • People with existing access can be used by people with current access to the document or folder. It leaves the item’s existing permissions. Use this if you only want to send a link to somebody with prior access. 
  • Specific people provides access only to the people you state, although other people could already have access. If people forward the sharing invitation, only people with current access to the item will be able to use the link.

Automatically, Allow editing is switched on. If you want people to only read your files, uncheck the checkbox. This can be further constrained by choosing the option to Block download, meaning they cannot save a local copy.

Once you’re done, press Apply.

  1. Paste the link (Ctrl+V) to your preferred location, like a text message or on a website.

Notes: 

  • The permission supplied by a sharing link lasts only as long as the link exists. For example, when a link is disabled, access is revoked (though people may still have access to the file via other means).
  • Once Allow editing is picked: After they sign in, people in your organisation can edit, copy, or download the files. When Allow editing isn’t selected, people in your organisation can view, and may be able to copy or download the files.
  • Site administrators can limit sharing so that only owners can share files and sites.
  • If site administrators have not restricted sharing to site owners, any user with Edit permissions to a file or folder can share that file or folder with others by pressing Share or Copy link. Users who don’t have edit permissions can use Copy link to get a link that will work for users who already have permissions to the file or folder.

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