Share SharePoint Information Outside the Tenant

A SharePoint Online tutorial by Peter Kalmström

SharePoint iconOne of the most important reasons for using SharePoint is that you want to share information within a company or organization. However, sometimes you also need to share SharePoint sites or files with people outside the tenant.

You can of course send a document to the external people who need to see it, but you will have better control and you can keep metadata and workflows if you instead share the document from inside the library.

In the demo below Peter Kalmström, CEO and Systems Designer of Business Solutions, shows how to use the 'Share' command to share a whole SharePoint site or just one document with people outside the tenant without having to create user accounts for them.

SharePoint Share and Get a link commands

There are two kinds of external users:
  • Authenticated users have a Microsoft account or another Office 365 account, and they are asked to log in before accessing the site or file. When authenticated users log in for the first time, they are added to the tenant's users list, and permissions and groups work as they do for internal users.
  • Anonymous users can view or edit files without having to log in. You can set an expiration date for the sharing link. Only files can be shared with anonymous users.
Important to consider if you use the Share command:
  • By default, all users get Edit permission, even if they are external.
  • When you share with authenticated users, you can see which user has made any modifications.
  • When a file has been changed by an anonymous user, you can only see that it is modified by a 'Guest Contributor'.
Administrators can set rules for external sharing in the SharePoint Admin center, so all options shown in the demo might not be visible in your tenant. (The site collection setting is shown in the beginning of the next demo, which is about Excel Surveys.)

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