Collaborate with guests on a document

If you need to collaborate with people outside your organization on documents in SharePoint or OneDrive, you can send them a sharing-link to the document. In this article, we'll walk through the Microsoft 365 configuration steps necessary to set up sharing-links for SharePoint and OneDrive for the needs of your organization.

Video demonstration

This video shows the configuration steps described in this document.

Azure external collaboration settings

Sharing in Microsoft 365 is governed at its highest level by the B2B external collaboration settings in Azure Active Directory. If guest-sharing is disabled or restricted in Azure AD, this setting overrides any sharing settings that you configure in Microsoft 365.

Check the B2B external collaboration settings to ensure that sharing with guests is not blocked.

Screenshot of Azure Active Directory Organizational Relationships Settings page

To set external collaboration settings

  1. Log in to Azure Active Directory at https://aad.portal.azure.com.
  2. In the left navigation pane, click Azure Active Directory.
  3. Click External identities.
  4. On the Get started screen, in the left navigation pane, click External collaboration settings.
  5. Ensure that Admins and users in the guest inviter role can invite and Members can invite are both set to Yes.
  6. If you made changes, click Save.

Note the settings in the Collaboration restrictions section. Make sure that the domains of the guests that you want to collaborate with aren't blocked.

If you work with guests from multiple organizations, you may want to restrict their ability to access directory data. This will prevent them from seeing who else is a guest in the directory. To do this, under Guest user access restrictions, select Guest users have limited access to properties and membership of directory objects settings or Guest user access is restricted to properties and memberships of their own directory objects.

SharePoint organization-level sharing settings

In order for people outside your organization to have access to a document in SharePoint or OneDrive, the SharePoint and OneDrive organization-level sharing settings must allow for sharing with people outside your organization.

The organization-level settings for SharePoint determine the settings that will be available for individual SharePoint sites. Site settings cannot be more permissive than the organization-level settings. The organization-level setting for OneDrive determines the level of sharing that will be available in users' OneDrive libraries.

For SharePoint and OneDrive, if you want to allow unauthenticated file and folder sharing, choose Anyone. If you want to ensure that people outside your organization have to authenticate, choose New and existing guests. Anyone links is the easiest way to share: people outside your organization can open the link without authentication and are free to pass it on to others.

For SharePoint, choose the most permissive setting that will be needed by any site in your organization.

Screenshot of SharePoint organization-level sharing settings

To set SharePoint organization-level sharing settings

  1. In the Microsoft 365 admin center, in the left navigation pane, under Admin centers, click SharePoint.
  2. In the SharePoint admin center, in the left navigation pane, under Policies, click Sharing.
  3. Ensure that external sharing for SharePoint or OneDrive is set to Anyone or New and existing guests. (Note that the OneDrive setting cannot be more permissive than the SharePoint setting.)
  4. If you made changes, click Save.

The default file and folder link settings determine the link option that will be shown to users by default when they share a file or folder. Users can change the link type to one of the other options before sharing, if desired.

Keep in mind that this setting affects SharePoint sites in your organization, as well as OneDrive.

Choose a link from any of the following types which is then selected by default when users share files and folders:

  • Anyone with the link - Choose this option if you expect to do a lot of unauthenticated file and folder sharing. If you want to allow Anyone links but are concerned about accidental unauthenticated sharing, consider one of the other options as the default. This link type is only available if you've enabled Anyone sharing.
  • Only people in your organization - Choose this option if you expect most file and folder sharing to be with people inside your organization.
  • Specific people - Consider this option if you expect to do a lot of file and folder sharing with guests. This type of link works with guests and requires them to authenticate.

Screenshot of SharePoint organization-level files and folders sharing settings

To set the SharePoint and OneDrive organization-level default link settings

  1. Navigate to the Sharing page in the SharePoint admin center.
  2. Under File and folder links, select the default sharing link that you want to use.
  3. If you made changes, click Save.

To set the permission for the sharing link, under Choose the permission that's selected by default for sharing links.

  1. Select View if you do not want unauthenticated users to make changes to the files and folders.
  2. Select Edit if you want to allow unauthenticated users to make changes to the files and folders.

Note that the above two premission-options can be applied not only for guests/external users but also for internal users. The permission-option you choose is determined by self-discretion.

To set permissions for links that allow sharing with anyone

  1. Under the These links can give these permissions: sub-pane,
    1. From the Files drop-down list,
      • Select View and edit if you want to allow unauthenticated users to make changes to the files.
      • Select View if you do not want unauthenticated users to make changes to the files.
    2. From the Folders drop-down list,
      • Select View, edit, and upload if you want to allow unauthenticated users to make changes to the folders.
      • Select View if you do not want unauthenticated users to make changes to the folders.

SharePoint site-level sharing settings

If you're sharing files and folders that are in a SharePoint site, you also need to check the site-level sharing settings for that site.

Screenshot of SharePoint site external sharing settings

To set site-level sharing settings

  1. In the SharePoint admin center, in the left navigation pane, expand Sites and click Active sites.
  2. Select the site on which you want to share files and folders with guests.
  3. Scroll right across the row (in which the selected site is present) and click anywhere in the External sharing column.
  4. From the page that pops up, click Policies tab.
  5. Under the External sharing pane, click Edit.
  6. Ensure that sharing is set to Anyone or New and existing guests.
  7. If you made changes, click Save.

Invite users

Guest-sharing settings are now configured; so users can now share files and folders with people outside your organization. See Share OneDrive files and folders and Share SharePoint files or folders for more information.

See also

Best practices for sharing files and folders with unauthenticated users

Limit accidental exposure to files when sharing with guests

SharePoint and OneDrive integration with Azure AD B2B