Sharing and Collaborating on Files and Folders

When you first create a site, you are the only owner and member of your site – you are the only person that can see and edit your site contents. SharePoint supports many ways for you to control who has access to your site content.

If you want someone to have view or edit access to all files and folders on your site, you can make them a site member. For example, if you are working with a team on a research project, you’ll likely want your team members to have edit permissions to all files and documents on the site. Or, if you are using your site to showcase department policy documents, you might want to give the whole department view-only access to all site documents. (Jump to sharing your team site or to sharing your communication site).

Alternatively, you may want to share specific files or folders with people who don't have access to the entire site. When you share specific files and folders, you can add individuals as editors or viewers.

Note: Inviting a person to a folder in SharePoint gives that person the same permissions for all files and folders within the originally shared folder- you don’t need to add that person to each item within that folder.

Ways to Share Specific Files and Folders

SharePoint gives you two ways to share your files and folders with individuals outside your site: You can invite people or you can provide a shared link. There's an important difference between these two sharing methods.

  • Inviting people - Inviting people on an individual basis to view or edit gives you have more control over who has access to your content.
  • Shared link - Enabling a shared link gives people you a link you can copy and paste to people in Microsoft Team chat, put in an email, etc. You can change who this link works for (everyone at Tufts, anyone with the link, etc) and if the link allows anyone to edit or view the file or folder.

To read about all options available when sharing a specific file or folder, see Microsoft’s support page “Share SharePoint files or folder”.

 

Changes that are made to shared files and folders affect everyone that has access to it – everyone is editing the same file! Make sure your site members, site owners, and document editors are in communication with each other to avoid unexpected file deletions and changes. When adding multiple editors to a file, Tufts recommends requiring file checkouts before a user can edit.

Be careful about what privileges you give and who you give them to! This is particularly important for sensitive information. Tufts recommends giving the fewest privileges necessary for an item and only to people for whom it is absolutely necessary. Be careful of broadly sharing a folder and later adding a sub-folder with sensitive information – every individual with access to a folder will also have access to all folders inside of it.

When you invite specific people to a file or folder, SharePoint will send them an email invitation. SharePoint will also track who has permissions to each file or folder, which lets you later remove permission for specific individuals or groups later if you need to.

  1. Open the document library with the file or folder you want to invite people to.
  2. Hover over the folder or file row you’d like to share and click the three vertical ellipses for more options.
    More options is to the right of Share
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, click Share.
    Share is the third menu option
  4. A sharing panel appears. In the Add users field at the top, type in the name of the person you want to share the file or folder with. SharePoint will suggest names from the Tufts Directory as you type. Click on the person you want to invite. Repeat as necessary for all individuals you’d like to have the same permission level. If you would like to add some individuals as viewers and some people as editors, share the file or folder in two batches, assigning different permissions to each batch.
  5. Click on the dropdown arrow to the right of the name field. By default, people whom you invite will be given View permissions.
    The default permissions are view
  6. Add a personalized Message to go in the email SharePoint will send the user (optional).
  7. Click Send.
  8. A confirmation panel will appear that the link has been shared. Click the X in the top right corner to close this panel.
  1. Open the document library with the file or folder you want to create or manage the shared link for.
  2. Hover over the folder or file row you’d like to share and click the three vertical ellipses for more options.
    More options is to the right of Share
  3. In the dropdown menu that appears, click Copy Link.
    Copy link is the fourth menu option
  4. A panel appears that tells you the current permissions level of who can use this link.
     
  5. Click Copy.
     
  6. A panel appears confirming that the link has been copied to your clipboard. By default, this link will only work for individuals already invited to your file. Before closing this panel, double check he access and permissions level of your link.
     
  7. Below the link, click the current access permissions.
     
  8. A panel appears with options on whom the link should work for and if people accessing the file or folder via the link should have edit access. Because this link will work for anyone you specify, limit the permissions as much as possible.
     
  9. When you are satisfied with the permissions and access of this link, click Apply.
     
  10. You’ll be back on the copy panel. Click the X in the top right corner to close the panel.