How to Share Files via OneDrive links

Stop sending attachments – unless it is mandatory. When you Share OneDrive Links you get many benefits. Assumption – you want to share the link to specific people. If the link is forwarded to other people, it should not work. Two ways of sharing . Outlook and from everywhere else.  Reading time 5 min.


Share OneDrive links from everywhere else

  • If you are using Word, Excel, PowerPoint click the Share button in the ribbon or File – Share option
  • In Windows file Explorer – right click the file(s) and choose Share
  • OneDrive on browser or OneDrive app – (Android or iOS) – click the … next to the file and choose Share

Using the Share dialog

Sharing OneDrive links using the Share dialog is exactly the same for all the above options.

1. Choose the option Anyone with a link
2. Choose Specific People
3. Decide whether to allow editing or not
4. Click Apply

In your organization, the default may already be Specific people.
In that case, go to step 5 directly.

Share OneDrive Links - Choose method of sharing

Share OneDrive Links - Choose Specific People

5. Type the email ids of person(s) you want to share it with
6. Type a message, as you would in a typical email
7. Click the Send button

Share OneDrive Links - add email id and send

Does the other party need Office 365 or OneDrive

No. They just need access to their email using a browser and internet connection. That’s all.

What about Teams and SharePoint

Same methods work. If on browser or mobile apps, click the … and Share. If synched to local drive, use the Windows file explorer option.

Share OneDrive links – Benefits

  1. File never leaves the storage. People come to the file – to view / edit.
  2. Multiple persons can edit the file – either together or separately
  3. For external parties, another one-time-code is sent to ensure that they actually own that email id. This makes it much safer than sending attachments.
  4. You can see the list of activities performed on the file on OneDrive browser version.
  5. Up to 500 versions of the file are saved whenever editing is done. So, if there is a mistake, you can always restore a previous version.
  6. Latest version is always available to everyone. Chances of people referring to an outdated file are completely eliminated.
  7. For files like reports or training material, you can block editing as well as downloading – which prevents misuse and protects the content.

When is sending attachments necessary?

Typically for legal, statutory or operational reasons. Proposals, legal notices, RFPs, etc. need to be sent as links. Even then for majority of cases you will be able to share OneDrive links.

OneDrive logo as end of article marker

6 Responses

    1. Yes Mult-select and share is available on Android and iOS apps. It will first download the files – zip them and then share the zip.
      If you multi-select and share files, it will NOT create a separate link for files. That will be confusing and unmanageable. Hence the zip approach.
      On the other hand, a single link cannot be created for multiple files – security will go for a toss.
      So what you really want is to first put the files in a folder and then share the folder.

  1. 1. Excel File stored in one drive and shared with another user.
    2. The user opened in Google sheets (how this is possible ?) and made some changes
    3. The changes could not be updated in original file when viewed in one drive again. The efforts of both users lost !

    1. There is an open in Google Sheets option. But the file must have been saved as a copy after editing.
      It should still be possible to convert the Sheets copy to Excel and merge the changes manually.

    1. Click the share button again. At the bottom you will see Shared With. Click on it to view people as well as links.
      For a single document, there could be multiple links. Choose the appropriate, copy and send.

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