Share OneDrive files and folders

Share OneDrive files and folders

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You can use Microsoft OneDrive to share photos, Microsoft Office documents, other files, and entire folders with people. The files and folders you store in OneDrive are private until you decide to share them and you can see who a OneDrive file is shared with or stop sharing at any time.

Note: Sharing is limited in basic or "storage only" OneDrive. Limits reset after 24 hours, but you can upgrade to a Premium subscription to get increased sharing limits and more sharing features.

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Note: The options you see may vary slightly between OneDrive and OneDrive for work or school, especially if your organization has restricted certain settings.

How do you want to share?

Choose this option to share items with lots of people you might not even know personally. For example, you can use these links to post to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or share in email or IM. Anyone who gets the link can view or edit the item, depending on the permission you set. Users with the link cannot upload new items. Keep in mind that the link can also be forwarded and sign-in is not required.

  1. Go to the OneDrive website and sign in with your Microsoft account or your work or school account.

    Note: For OneDrive for work or school users not using Microsoft 365, try Share documents or folders in SharePoint Server.

  2. Pick the file or folder you want to share by selecting the circle in the upper corner of the item. You can also pick multiple items to share them together (sharing multiple items at the same time is not available for OneDrive for work or school accounts).

  3. Select Share at the top of the page.

    Screenshot of selecting a file and clicking the Share command

  4. Select Anyone with the link can edit to customize the link options.

  5. Set the options you want on your link, then select Apply when you're done.

    • Allow editing - When you share items with this type of link, people can edit files, and can add files in a shared folder if they're signed in with a Microsoft account. Recipients can forward the link, change the list of people sharing the files or folder, and change permissions for recipients. If you're sharing a folder, people with Edit permissions can copy, move, edit, rename, share, and delete anything in the folder.

      Unchecking this box means that people can view, copy or download your items without signing in. They can also forward the link to other people. However, they cannot make change to the version on your OneDrive.

    • Set expiration date - The link will only work until the date you set. After that, the link will be invalid, and you will need to create a new link for users requiring access to your file or folder.

    • Set password - When a user clicks the link, they will be prompted to enter a password before they can access the file. You'll need to provide this password separately to users.

    Link Settings options for sharing a file in OneDrive

    OneDrive for work or school additional options

    OneDrive for work or school users also have the option to restrict the level of access (anyone with the link, only people within your organization, only people with existing access to the file, or only individuals you specify). Also, if you opt to disable editing, you can also opt to prevent viewers from downloading the file.

    • Anyone gives access to anyone who receives this link, whether they receive it directly from you or forwarded from someone else. This may include people outside of your organization.

    • People in <Your Organization> gives anyone in your organization who has the link access to the file, whether they receive it directly from you or forwarded from someone else.

    • People with existing access can be used by people who already have access to the document or folder. It does not change the permissions on the item. Use this if you just want to send a link to somebody who already has access. 

    • Specific people gives access only to the people you specify, although other people may already have access. If people forward the sharing invitation, only people who already have access to the item will be able to use the link.

    • Allow editing - When you share items with this type of link, people can edit files, can add files in a shared folder, and can delete files in a shared folder if they're signed in. Recipients can forward the link, change the list of people sharing the files or folder, and change permissions for recipients. If you're sharing a folder, people with Edit permissions can copy, move, edit, rename, share, and delete anything in the folder.

    Note: If a sharing option has been greyed out, your organization's admins may have restricted them. For example, they may choose to disable the Anyone option to prevent usable links being forwarded to others.

    By default, Allow editing is turned on. If you want people to only view your files, uncheck the check box. This can be further restricted by selecting the option to Block download, which means they cannot save a local copy. For Word files, you can also select Open in review mode only to limit people to leaving comments and making suggestions in the file. Note that if someone already has editing permissions for the item, selecting Open in review mode only will not prevent them from making edits. For them, document will open in edit mode.

  6. Once you're back at the main Share box, select Copy Link to copy the link to your clipboard.

    Copy Link confirmation when sharing files via link in OneDrive

    Note: "https://1drv.ms” is the shortened URL for OneDrive. Shortened URLs are useful for sharing via Twitter.

  7. Paste the link in an email message or wherever else you’re sharing the link.

Tip: You can also generate sharing links through the OneDrive desktop app for Windows 7, Windows 10, and Mac. All you need to do is right-click the file or folder in your OneDrive folder on your computer, and select Share a OneDrive link. This will copy a link to your clipboard that you can paste into an email, website, blog post, and so forth.

However, these links are set by default to Edit permission. If you only want someone to have View permission, you'll need to use the OneDrive website to generate the link (or modify the one you just created).

Choose this option if you want to send an email invitation to people or groups and keep track of who you invited. This lets you also remove permission for specific individuals or groups later if you need to.

  1. In the Enter a name or email address field, start typing the email addresses or contact names of people you want to share with. When you begin to enter info in the box, you can also choose a contact from the list that appears.

    Share files dialog box in OneDrive with email addresses added

  2. Add a note to recipients if you want.

  3. To change the permission level, select Anyone with the link can edit.

  4. Set the options you want on your link, then select Apply when you're done.

    • Allow editing - When you share items with this type of link, people can edit files, and can add files in a shared folder if they're signed in with a Microsoft account. Recipients can forward the link, change the list of people sharing the files or folder, and change permissions for recipients. If you're sharing a folder, people with Edit permissions can copy, move, edit, rename, share, and delete anything in the folder.

      Unchecking this box means that people can view, copy or download your items without signing in. They can also forward the link to other people. However, they cannot make change to the version on your OneDrive.

    • Set expiration date - The link will only work until the date you set. After that, the link will be invalid, and you will need to create a new link for users requiring access to your file or folder.

    • Set password - When a user clicks the link, they will be prompted to enter a password before they can access the file. You'll need to provide this password separately to users.

    Link Settings options for sharing a file in OneDrive

    OneDrive for work or school additional options

    OneDrive for work or school users also have the option to restrict the level of access (anyone with the link, only people within your organization, only people with existing access to the file, or only individuals you specify). Also, if you opt to disable editing, you can also opt to prevent viewers from downloading the file.

    • Anyone gives access to anyone who receives this link, whether they receive it directly from you or forwarded from someone else. This may include people outside of your organization.

    • People in <Your Organization> gives anyone in your organization who has the link access to the file, whether they receive it directly from you or forwarded from someone else.

    • People with existing access can be used by people who already have access to the document or folder. It does not change the permissions on the item. Use this if you just want to send a link to somebody who already has access. 

    • Specific people gives access only to the people you specify, although other people may already have access. If people forward the sharing invitation, only people who already have access to the item will be able to use the link.

    • Allow editing - When you share items with this type of link, people can edit files, can add files in a shared folder, and can delete files in a shared folder if they're signed in. Recipients can forward the link, change the list of people sharing the files or folder, and change permissions for recipients. If you're sharing a folder, people with Edit permissions can copy, move, edit, rename, share, and delete anything in the folder.

    Note: If a sharing option has been greyed out, your organization's admins may have restricted them. For example, they may choose to disable the Anyone option to prevent usable links being forwarded to others.

    By default, Allow editing is turned on. If you want people to only view your files, uncheck the check box. This can be further restricted by selecting the option to Block download, which means they cannot save a local copy. For Word files, you can also select Open in review mode only to limit people to leaving comments and making suggestions in the file. Note that if someone already has editing permissions for the item, selecting Open in review mode only will not prevent them from making edits. For them, document will open in edit mode.

  5. Select Apply to save the permission settings, and then select Send.

Notes: 

  • If you have trouble sharing from Outlook.com, see Can't share OneDrive files from Outlook.com.

  • If your Microsoft account is set with Family Safety, and your parent has turned off contact management, you can only share items with people who are already on your contact list.

  • Please respect copyright and be careful what you share online. Copying or sharing unauthorized materials violates the Microsoft Services Agreement.

Sharing folders

When you share folders with Edit permissions, people you share with can add the shared folders to their own OneDrive. This lets them keep the folder alongside their own folders and items, easily move items between folders, and more easily work on it offline. Any updates they make sync with the shared folder, so everyone with access to the folder is up to date.

Tip: The recipient can add shared folders to their OneDrive, not individual files. If you want the recipient to add files to their OneDrive, put the files in a folder first, and then share the folder.

Sharing with the OneDrive mobile apps

For information and help, see:

Learn more

Need more help?

Online

Get online help
See more support pages for OneDrive and OneDrive for work or school.
For the OneDrive mobile app, see Troubleshoot OneDrive mobile app problems.

OneDrive Admins can also view the OneDrive Tech Community, Help for OneDrive for Admins.

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Contact Support
If you still need help, contact support through your browser or shake your mobile device while you're in the OneDrive app.

OneDrive Admins can contact Microsoft 365 for business support.

Office 365 community forums

Got feedback?
OneDrive UserVoice is your place to suggest the features you’d like to see us add to OneDrive. While we can’t guarantee any specific features or timelines, we will respond to every suggestion that gets at least 500 votes.

Go to the OneDrive UserVoice.

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