OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud-based data repository and every Microsoft account includes a minimum of 15 GB of free OneDrive space. You can manually upload files to your OneDrive space or you can install Microsoft’s OneDrive app on your Mac, Windows computer, laptop, tablet or phone and sync files between your online OneDrive space and all your devices (there are compatible apps for Windows-, Android- and iOS-based devices).
Your OneDrive space can be your own private data repository or you can use it to collaborate with your friends, family members, clubs, groups, coworkers, or customers by sharing your OneDrive folders and files with other people. When you share folders or files with others, you also set permissions that define how the shared files can be accessed by others. You can grant permission to others to only view the files or you can grant permission to view and edit the files.
Sharing folders and files
To share folders and files with others:
- Log into your OneDrive account from your computer’s browser or from a OneDrive app (Note: the various OneDrive apps have different levels of functionality and are not consistent with each other nor do they provide the full range of functionality that direct website access provides. I created the screenshots that are used in this article from my computer, using Firefox).
- Click the Share menu item or right click on a folder or file you want to share and select “Share” from the popup menu.
Invite people to the Folder or File
Click the “Invite people” option and Input the email addresses for the people you want to share the folder or file with into the “To” box.
Input any message you want included in the email in the “Add a quick note” space provided in the input form.
Grant Permission to Recipients
Click the down arrow to the right of the first line (Recipients can only view) and change to “Recipients can edit” to grant them permission to view and edit the files.
Click the down arrow to the right of the second line (Recipients don’t need a Microsoft account) and change to Recipients need to sign in with a Microsoft account (if you want to restrict access to the folder or files only to recipients of the Microsoft Accounts whose email addresses you referenced in the To: Field. If you want to allow your folders or documents to be freely available to anyone by just clicking a link, you can leave the permission at “Recipients don’t need a Microsoft account.
After you’ve input the email address(es) of all your intended recipients in the To: field, input whatever personal message you want them to see in the quick note box and assigned view/edit permissions, click the blue Share button to send an email to your intended recipients via your Microsoft account email address. Each recipient will receive an email that is similar to the one below. In this example I shared a folder that included a couple of subfolders and several files, and the email below provides a detail list of the contents of the shared folder.
Get a link to the Folder or File
You can also select the “Get a link” option, you’ll still grant permission to view only or view and edit the folder and files by clicking the down arrow to the right of the “View Only” line and select from the other options: View only; Edit; Public (the documents are freely available to anyone who clicks the link).
The “Shared with” area of the screenshot below shows the people you have shared the folders or files with. You can manage their continued access of shared files and folders or revoke their access altogether of shared files and folders by clicking the person’s name, then viewing and changing their permissions. Clicking the down arrow that is just to the right of the blue “Can edit” link lets you change the permissions of the shared file or folder to “view only (for those users who have edit permission) or “stop sharing” to revoke a user’s access to the folder or file altogether.
For the Greatest Flexibility, Share Your Files With Your Other Microsoft Accounts
If you’re like me and have multiple Microsoft Accounts, you’ll want to share the OneDrive documents and folders that are stored in your Microsoft Accounts with your other Microsoft Accounts (all of the accounts I used in this demonstration are my own separate Microsoft Accounts). By sharing your documents with yourself (which you do when you share your OneDrive documents in one account with another Microsoft Account you use), and by setting the permissions on the documents to “Can edit,” you’ll ensure your full access to all your files across all the Microsoft Accounts you use on your Windows Phone.
Sharing OneDrive Documents en Masse
There isn’t an option share all the folders and documents that are stored in OneDrive at the same time, but it’s easy enough to select all the folders in OneDrive and then share all the selected folders to the same set of email addresses.
Note: Sharing a folder, shares the entire contents of that folder, including all of the documents stored within the folder as well as any subfolders and their related documents that are stored within the folder.
Here’s a copy of all the highest level folders that are stored in the OneDrive space of the Microsoft Account I use to store and manage my teaching materials. I clicked the small white box in the right upper corner of each folder to select all the folders in this account.
Since I want to share all the documents in my teaching Microsoft Account with the Microsoft Account I use on my phone, I input the email address that I used when I set up my Windows Phone in the space provided. Then I clicked the “Recipients can only view” link to change it to “Recipients can edit” and clicked the Share button. Now I can view, download, and edit any of the documents that are stored in any of the folders or subfolders within OneDrive on my teaching Microsoft Account from my Windows Phone.
Okay, You’ve Shared Some Files, Now What?
You can view and work with shared OneDrive folders and files on the phone via the Office Hub.
Please see the article, entitled “Working with Documents on a Windows Phone via the Office Hub” to learn more.