How to share files using Microsoft OneDrive

Learn how Microsoft OneDrive uses a variety of options to allow you to share files with one or more people.

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One of the many benefits of Microsoft OneDrive is its ability to share your files with other people--you can do this a few different ways. You can share files directly from your local computer or from your online storage site. You can share files with one or more people either through email or through a link. You can also determine if you want other people to be able to edit your OneDrive files or just view them. The only requirement is that your recipients must have Microsoft accounts to access your OneDrive storage space and files. Let's check out the various ways to share files from OneDrive.

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First, I'll assume you already set up and use OneDrive to store and synchronize specific folders and files. In Windows, open File Explorer or Windows Explorer. Open a folder that you sync with OneDrive and right-click a file you wish to share. From the popup menu, select the Share command with the blue cloud icon (Figure A).

Figure A

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At the Send Link window, click on the field for Anyone With The Link Can Edit (Figure B).

Figure B

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At the Link settings window, uncheck the box to Allow Editing if you want to limit the shared file to read-only. Set an expiration date if you want the file share to expire at a certain time. Set a password if you want to secure the shared file. If you do set a password, you'll need to share it with your recipient separately. Click Apply (Figure C).

Figure C

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At the Send Link screen, type the name or email address of the recipient and press Enter. You can add multiple recipients by typing their email address on each line. To email the shared link to your recipients, click Send (Figure D).

Figure D

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If you'd rather compose your own email or other means of communication, click the button to Copy Link. After the link is created, click the Copy button. You can then paste the link elsewhere. For other options, click the button for More Apps. At the Share window, you can now select a specific app or other way to share the file (Figure E).

Figure E

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Your recipients then receive an email with a link to the file. Clicking on the link prompts them to sign in with their Microsoft account to access the file.

You can change and manage access to the shared file. To do this, right-click on the file and select Share. In the Send Link window, click on the ellipsis icon in the upper right and select Manage Access (Figure F).

Figure F

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Your next options depend on how you shared the file. If you shared it via email, click on the name of any recipient. From the menu, you can change the permissions to allow that person to edit the file or only view it. You can also turn off file sharing completely for that person. If you created a shareable link or selected a specific app or service for sharing it, click the X next to the link to disable it (Figure G).

Figure G

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Finally, you can also share files from your online OneDrive storage space. Sign into your OneDrive page. Select the file you wish to share. Right-click on the file and select Share from the menu or select Share from the top toolbar. The options for sharing your file from OneDrive online are virtually the same as for sharing them from File Explorer or Windows Explorer. The only difference is that the online sharing doesn't offer the More Apps option to share the file via a specific app or service (Figure H).

Figure H

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