How to share a folder in SharePoint with external users

Perhaps you need to collaborate on documents, provide files for the external colleague to download, or even provide a location for them to upload files to your tenancy. If you need to share a folder with people outside of your organisation, you can do this securely with SharePoint.

Giving direct access to a location means that you don’t need to email copies of the files or use external sharing services. It also means that the folder can be shared securely only with specific people.

You should consider only sharing with email addresses that are for specific people, rather than something that is accessed, or appears to be accessed, by multiple people like info@ so you are sure that you are only sharing with the people you intend to have access.

Go to your SharePoint site and click the ⁞ next to the folder name

Select Share

Choose Specific People

Tick Allow Editing (if you want to allow editing of items in the folder, or uploading new items to the folder)

Enter the email address of the person you want to share it with. Add a short message to let them know what it’s for

The recipient will receive an email invitation

Clicking the link will take the recipient to the shared folder in their web browser.

The recipient enters their email address and receives a PIN. This is why you should only share with named email addresses, and not potentially shared accounts.

The email is received from no-reply@sharepointonline.com

Note that the message does not say what it is for or have any links to the folder that was shared. This is by design. This means that even if someone else were to get access to the PIN, they would not know what it was for.

Enter the PIN into the web page and click Verify

The recipient now has access to the shared folder.

You can check who has access to the folder by clicking the info button on the site. Here you also re-copy the link. The link is only valid for email addresses that you have shared the folder with.

Links shared like this are not time limited, so you should keep a record of what folders and with whom you are sharing with. Remove access once sharing is no longer required.

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Further reading

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