External sharing or sharing of contents, files, folders outside tenant/organization is possible on SharePoint online. It can be implemented at tenant as well as at site collection level. Let’s see how we can do the same…
External Sharing – Tenant level:
Login to SharePoint Admin Center. On the left navigation click on the sharing link. It will show the sharing setting page where we can enable / disable external sharing.
Fig 1 : SharePoint Online – External Sharing – SharePoint Admin Center
Fig 2: SharePoint Online -Tenant – Sharing
Here the available options are as follows,
- “Don’t allow sharing outside your organization”. This will not allow sharing outside the organization.
- “Allow sharing only with the external users that already exist in your organization’s directory” – It will allow the external users those are known to the organization in other words already have access to the sites.
- “Allow users to invite and share with authenticated external users” – It will enable the internal users to share content/site with external user. In this case the external user will receive an invitation mail and need to login to the SharePoint as a Guest user.
- “Allow sharing to authenticated external users and using anonymous access links” – This option will allow us to create an anonymous access link of a document.
We need to Chose as per our requirement.
Fig 3: SharePoint Online – External Sharing-Anonymous Access
Here, there are several options by which we can control the level of access the recipients will get. We can specify the access link expire by days, Edit/View permission to the file, View/Edit/ Upload files on Folder.
There are other parameters we can set at tenant level as well, such as
Fig 4: SharePoint Online – External Sharing-Additional Settings
“Default Link Type” – Chose as per your organizational policy. Here only anonymous access will enable external users to access the document other two are limited to organization only.
Similarly “Additional Settings” enables us to put some extra restrictions at tenant level for sharing to avoid any confidential data accessible outside organization.
External Sharing – Site Collection level:
External sharing for a particular site collection is enabled at “SharePoint Admin Center”. It is important to remember that if the external sharing is restricted at the tenant level then it will not be possible for us to enable for the site collection. Let’s see how we can enable the sharing for a particular site collection.
I have enabled external sharing as follows,
Fig 5: SharePoint Online – External Sharing – with anonymous access, view, edit and upload.
Fig 6: SharePoint Online – External Sharing – Default Link Type– with anonymous access
Now, Click on the site collection link, select the site collection we wanted to share and click on share button on the ribbon,
Fig 7: SharePoint Online – External Sharing – Site Collection sharing
It will show us a popup window,
Fig 8:SharePoint Online – External Sharing- popup window
Here, we can change sharing settings for selected site collection. Which ever options are chosen here, will be applied to this site collection only. If we override the tenant level anonymous access and restrict the external sharing here, then the content belongs to this site collection will not be accessible to external recipients.
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