Announcing a more intuitive sharing experience across Microsoft 365 for better collaboration

Published 06-01-2021 11:48 AM 27.8K Views
Microsoft

Collaboration is a critical part of virtual work. At Microsoft, we’ve seen firsthand that the way people work together has fundamentally changed over the past year. More people are using Microsoft 365 applications like Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint to connect with internal team members across their organizations and with external colleagues than ever before. The Share dialog appears in more than 40 areas of Microsoft 365 and is accessed about 400 million times a month. That’s why we’ve been gathering feedback and capturing data to understand how you collaborate—and more specifically, how you share and work together with teammates on files—so we can make the right investments to make sharing options more intuitive across Microsoft 365 apps and make collaborating easier for you.

 

What we’ve learned

 

Based on our research, we discovered five key areas we wanted to address:

  • You want an easier way to change link permissions for viewing, commenting on, or editing files.
  • You want seamless sharing with external colleagues.
  • Having a clear, at-a-glance view into who you’ve provided shared access to a file is invaluable.
  • Many of you are unaware you can share files directly via Office apps. Instead, you attach files to an email or open another application like Teams to upload and share files.
  • With more than 250 million monthly active users like you on Teams, you want to share Word documents, PowerPoint decks, and Excel spreadsheets directly to Teams without switching apps.

 

Introducing the Year of Sharing

 

Over the next year, we’re using an incremental, data-driven approach for rolling out updates to improve the sharing experience across all Microsoft 365 and Office applications for all platforms (desktop, web, and mobile). We’ll be making those incremental changes gradually, so we can continue to collect feedback and learn from you, improving the experience as we go to ensure we’re making it easier for you to collaborate with your colleagues in ways that work best for you.

 

 

Quick permissions & Link settings

 

Setting access control is critical to sharing content with people within or outside your organization. A quick and robust way to grant access to files for easier collaboration has been a top priority for us, so we’re excited to announce new functionality for

Quick permissions
.

Now when you select Share and enter a recipient’s name or email address in the to field, you no longer have to go into the link settings to select their permission level. Instead, you can quickly select it from a more intuitive and discoverable drop-down menu next to their name. You can select a permission level: Can edit, or Can view (read only). When you select send, you get a confirmation showing you have shared the file.

 

Quick permissionsQuick permissions

 

 

We’ve also added an additional entry point  to Link settings from the Quick permissions dropdown that provide more granular sharing control, so you easily can change link types and sharing permissions.

 

Link settings entry point to update link types and sharing permissionsLink settings entry point to update link types and sharing permissions

 

Quick permissions (Roadmap ID: 70806 ) and Link settings (Roadmap ID : 81958 ) are available now.

 

Copy link

 

Currently, after setting link permissions, when you select the Copy link button, you see a confirmation window that displays an auto-generated link that you can copy and share with your team. However, to change the link permissions, you must recreate a new link. Now, we’ve changed this flow to make it more user friendly.

Instead of a Copy link button, you’ll see a footer where you can set permissions for the link and then copy it to share it with recipients. If you need to update the link permissions, you can do it directly from the Link Created dialog box as well. 

Copy link will be rolling out later this year. Please follow the roadmap entry 83728 for further updates.

 

 

Updated Copy link experienceUpdated Copy link experience

 

 

Shared with & Manage access

 

At the bottom of the Share dialog, the Shared with list gives you an at-a glance view of everyone you’ve given access to the file. You will now have the ability to see who has access and how many people have access to your shared file. Selecting that list takes you to the Manage Access settings, which offers you additional controls for how recipients access files you’ve shared. After sharing a file with someone, you will also have the ability to see visual confirmation of who you’ve just sent it to.

 

 

Shared with list gives you an at-a glance view of everyone you’ve given access to the fileShared with list gives you an at-a glance view of everyone you’ve given access to the file

 

 

We’ll be updating our Manage Access experience to make it more efficient and easily accessible.

By default, you can see the list of People you’ve granted access to this file. You can also view the Groups who have access, as well as the various types of Links you might have shared for this file with distinct sharing permissions and from different applications like Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, or Office.

 

Updated manage access experienceUpdated manage access experience

 

 

You can view the permissions for each person directly from the People list. When you select a name, you can see the access summary describing all the way this person has been granted access: via direct access, groups, or links. You can change direct access permissions via a drop down, allowing recipients to edit the shared file or restricting it to view-only access.

 

 

View  and update the permissions for each person directly from the People listView and update the permissions for each person directly from the People list

 

You can also drill down into the group or link information to see exactly which group that person belongs to, or which links have been shared with them and their respective sharing permissions. 

 

 

Drill down into the group or link information to view or change the sharing permissionsDrill down into the group or link information to view or change the sharing permissions

 

You can also revoke all access to the file and stop sharing entirely.

We’ve redesigned the Share dialog to give you easier access to the Manage Access view and give you more visibility into who has access to your content.

 

Shared With and Manage Access will be rolling out later this year. Please follow the roadmap entries 83725 and 83726 for further updates.

 

 

Share menu dropdown

 

We’re updating the Share button to provide easy access to additional sharing options. Soon, when you select Share in OneDrive, SharePoint, or Teams (at the top of the page) or in an Office app (top-right corner), you'll see a contextual menu with all choices available to you for sharing files or folders with your teammates:

  • Email: Email the file directly to a one or more recipients.
  • Copy link: Copy a link to share with recipients directly.
  • Teams: Share the file directly to Teams.

 

Dropdown menu for Share function in command barDropdown menu for Share function in command bar

 

Post sharing, the contextual menu will also display an option to select the the Manage access settings for additional sharing controls as explained above.

 

Share menu dropdown will be rolling out later this year. Please follow the roadmap entry 83727 for further updates.

 

 

Learn more and stay engaged...

 

We continue to evolve OneDrive as a place to access, share, and collaborate on all your files in Office 365, keeping them protected and readily accessible on all your devices, anywhere.

Check out the documentation on how to share and collaborate with stakeholders within and outside your organization as well as how to  manage internal and external sharing.

To learn more about OneDrive,

Thank you again for your support of OneDrive. We look forward to your continued feedback and hope to connect with you at another upcoming Microsoft or community-led event.

 

Thanks for your time reading all about OneDrive,

Ankita Kirti | OneDrive

21 Comments
Frequent Contributor

Still I would like to see expiring / time limited links on internally shared items. Similar to the anyone link options. Saving people the need to clean up their sharing links make a much cleaner experience. 

 

That and I hope block video file type downloads is still on the roadmap. 

Occasional Contributor

Looks great! Still would love to restrict non-microsoft apps from being downloaded. My staff share loads of MP4s with external parties but can't restrict them from being downloaded in an easy way.

New Contributor

1. When sharing anonymously a folder of pictures/images will it show a photo gallery or a file directory?  We want to show a photo gallery, most common usage!

 

2. When using OD on IOS/Android for scanning to OD, can you add pages to an existing PDF, order the pages using hand gestures? I.e., you need to be able to update an existing PDF not always assume it is "new" data.

 

3. Anonymous Sharing must be true anonymous sharing not requiring the login to any microsoft system.

 

4. Differential file sync for all file types?

 

5. Handling simultaneous open files when connected users are engaged with a r/o version similar to how "local" file systems works?

New Contributor

Agree that there is a need to have expiration for internally shared links. Even being able to configure an org-wide setting of expire after a set time period (6 mo., 1 year, two years, etc.) would help.

Being able to share files and folders easily and have granular control over permissions is essential for us, so this is a nice improvement.

 

However, we’re in much bigger need of a way to see what is actually currently shared from a Teams/SharePoint site. At this point, document libraries in SharePoint don’t have an icon that shows when a file or folder is shared, neither when viewing through a browser or when it is synced to file explorer. Also, there isn’t a menu that shows “Shared by us”, only “Shared with us”, the latter of which is the least important of the two. Site owners can go produce an Excel report, but that’s not very useful, as people in our organization are not minded enough for IT to understand it.

 

Having an easy way to keep overall tabs of what is being shared, is crucial, if you want to really be able to keep sharing permissions up-to-date and in line with what is needed/necessary, so that you don’t needlessly share with too many people for too long, which is important for GDPR compliance.

 

Another much needed feature, when talking about sharing, is the ability to select a bunch of files at once and share them to email, both from SharePoint and from within Teams.

 

I’ll add one final thing, which is that for individual users, improvements to “Shared with me” are needed. It needs to be easier to identify where a shared folder or file was shared from, especially when shared from SharePoint. Right now you only see the last part of the path underneath the shared folder or file, which means you can't easily see which sharepoint site or team it was shared from. You also can't group by those sites, which would be useful.

 

Thanks for listening :)

Senior Member

I understand the need to make it easy for people to share documents but there does need to be some recogntion that SharePoint permissions are usually set for a reason i.e. to limit access to a specified group of people with a common purpose. Sharing a file or folder outside of that group breaks the inheritance of permissions and can cause havoc if there is a need to amend the site permissions at a later date. The new permissions will not ripple down to any files or folders with unique permissions. For that reason we now disable file sharing at site level by default. 

 

I assume that the improvements announced above will not override any existing site settings? It would be helpful to make any site restrictions really clear at the point of sharing to minimise persistent requests to site admins.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Microsoft

Love seeing all the comments, questions and feedback here! Let me take a crack at answering as much as I can!

Microsoft

@Philip Worrell@Michael Hunsberger 

 

I don't have a timeline for either of these yet (expiration on internal links, block download for all video file types) but we are absolutely tracking both of these!

Microsoft

@George P 

 

1. When sharing anonymously a folder of pictures/images will it show a photo gallery or a file directory?  We want to show a photo gallery, most common usage!

You would see a file directory today I believe. This is a great request though!

 

3. Anonymous Sharing must be true anonymous sharing not requiring the login to any microsoft system.

It is. No identity required.

 

I am not sure on the other questions unfortunately, sorry!

Microsoft

@Allan With Sørensen, lots of great feedback here, thank you! I'll definitely pass along to the rest of the team for us to noodle on!

Microsoft

@Shelagh Russell,

 

Also great feedback! We always strive to find the right balance and levels of customization so that each customer can set up the product in the way that matches how they work. Nothing we announced will change how our settings work today and we're actually looking at how we can better message and inform users about policies/settings that may be impacting them. 

 

Hope that helps!

@Stephen Rice thank you for listening :) - and let me be clear: I'd like to see these additions in both SharePoint and Teams.

 

Making the experience of working with files smooth in Teams is crucial to adoption for us, as we, like so many others, are coming from a world of old-fashioned file shares and working with file explorer. I know that it is perhaps the least "sexy" part of Teams, but we're not getting people to look at the rest of the features, when they are preoccupied with seeing the hurdles. You could say, it's like a Maslows pyramid of Teams adoption :) - Files are at the bottom.

 

Another example of making it easy to share (from Teams), would be the ability to drag and drop (one or more) files from Teams to Outlook (or the desktop). I realize it isn't easy to do, when it's essentially a web page we're looking at, and that many others have requested it, but never miss a chance to bring it up, right? :)

New Contributor

I'm grasping at straws now so I apologize if this isn't the right place for this. But I have a user who relies heavily on the Preview Pane in File Explorer for previewing files. I never use this feature so don't know its normal behaviour. My user insists that up until a couple of days ago, she was able to preview all types of files for any file stored in OneDrive in the cloud. However now, she can only see previews for some image file types, but no document types. On my own computer I can see previews for .png, .jpg, ,ico, .svg and others, but I cannot see previews for .pdf, .docx, .xlsx, .ini, .txt or any other similar file types. I have tried numerous preview pane repair options, MS Office repair options, uninstalled and reinstalled OneDrive and so far nothing is fixing things.

During one set of internet searches I was finding some information that seemed to imply that NO cloud based files would provide a preview until downloaded to the computer. Being able to see SOME previews for some file types would indicate that implication is wrong. Today, while doing further searches, I've found information that seems to indicate that I should be able to see previews for over 300 file types! Yet this information is not clear on whether or not these files can exist only in the cloud and still provide a preview, or if they must be downloaded first.


My user is confident she was able to preview all file types without needing to download them first. And with her being an Executive level individual, I really don't want to have to tell her that the thing she could do fine last week is no longer possible.

So please, can anyone point me in the direction of some useful information on fixing this or that will clearly and definitively indicate what is and isn't possible?

Thank you.

New Contributor

Stephen,

 

Appreciate your responses.  I would like to take a moment to perhaps provide some "insight".  It is critical for Microsoft, their reputation and the value of their products for the product teams to recognize that day to day tasks MUST be 100% bullet proof, not just "sort of" handled.  It is the reason why the products are not taken seriously or lauded.  They are used because of price points not reliability or capability.

 

1. Being able to view pictures in a gallery isnt a "nice feature request", it is a requirement.  Think about it, if you share images with others, what are they going to do with a file directory, it makes it NOT useable.  Sharing pictures is not a new concept how can the product teams not respect that?  Sometime ago sharing of a directory and knowing it was images was supposed to be live, never happened.

 

2. Sharing anonymously has existed now for some time, however, it has NEVER been reliable, many times with broken links or requiring logins.

 

3. When you say it will be possible to limit access to only the "email address" provided, when sharing anonymously that would be impossible without credentials... those types of clarities need to be made.

 

4. Differential sync, should have existed day 1, do you have any idea of how much data/time has been wasted because it didnt exist and then because it was only partially implemented?

 

5. R/O when accessing shared documents deals with overwriting data, so even though OD distributes data, having the ability to lock 2nd file makes sense.  Of course MS's answer to this is to allow multiple people to edit documents at the same time.  Of course that makes sense but the option of R/O and R/W should still exist.

 

6. The ability to scan and add to an existing document using the scan function is an obvious requirement... Not considering it just makes it an R&D project / proof of concept project.

 

Whether these items are considered important or not, my point is do what people do on a daily basis and do it 110% half measures are just annoying and they get old.  It is why there is no excitement or loyalty... just waiting for another half measure to nowhere!

 

It's like in this exchange, cant reply to your reply... really?  Have to create a new comment.

Visitor

Good stuff

 

Not a comment on this directly but still on collaborating and sharing: A very nice feature would be able to chat more easily with the colleague you are editing a document/file with. Say in Word, have a Chat button that would open a chat panel/pop up window to chat with the person(s) who are editing the document at that time.

Contributor

Seems good.

 

Another good sharing expérience will be that when we add a web file in Outlook Desktop by "Joining a file/Onedrive document" will be that it create a OneDrive link (or let the choice) not insert the document in the mail.

It works for recent files not for other files comes from OneDrive.

New Contributor

@Ankita Kirti or anyone else that can help.  I noticed the OneDrive release notes page says that starting on 05-24-2021, that page stopped providing release notes for the OneDrive Insider ring release builds. 

Is there a page that is providing that information?  I cannot find any such page.  If one does exist, then a point in the right direction would be helpful.  Furthermore, @Ankita Kirti, if there is such a page, please start including that link in your "Learn more and stay engaged..." section at the bottom of posts.  Obviously, it would be nice if the OneDrive release notes page would also say something to the effect of "Click here for OneDrive Insider ring release notes." (and here would be a link).

Thank you in advance for the help.

Occasional Contributor

@Stephen Rice Sounds all good but I have one important question: is it still possible for a user that have read access to a file to create a shared edit link? This is a big security leak. We won't disable the share function because it's a basic collaboration requirement but in some cases we must do due to security issues.

 

It would also be great to prohibit the creation of shared edit links on list, site or enterprise level. Users that have write access to a file would get the edit access via library or file permission setting and others shouldn't get edit rights with this backdoor.

Microsoft

Hi @Ingrid Schiele,

 

First, a user must have edit permission in order to be able to share. It is possible to restrict this further (more in a moment) but this is the bar. If a user has read access, they will not be able to create new sharing links. 

 

If you want to further restrict sharing, you can disable the "Members Can Share" feature. Once disabled, only users who have owner permissions will be allowed to share files & folders. This is set on a per-site collection basis. 

 

Hope that helps!

 

Stephen Rice

Occasional Contributor

@Stephen RiceThanks for your reply.

Unfortunately it is not granted that an user that has read access to a file can't create edit or read links for a file. I've double checked it in our environment.

To reproduce this, I do a test with my testuser, that would sent me an edit link (I dont have access to the library or file).

 

The situation: We've implemented an approval process and when the file is approved, we break the permission inheritance at file level and give all users except the owner read rights to the file.

 

As you can see on the screenshot, the testuser has only read permission

2021-06-17 Testfile_Read_Perm.png

 

 

 

Now he creates the link and sent it (see the screenshots below)

2021-06-17 Testfile_Share.png

2021-06-17 Testfile_create_edit_link2.png

2021-06-17 Testfile_Link_sent.png

With this link, I received, I get edit access to the file.

And now, the really strange thing is, that the shared link the testuser creates DON'T appear in the manage access panel. (I've checked it with the user that sends the link and the library owner account)

 

As I mentioned in my comment before, the users should have the possibility to share files, even if they have just read access. (If they can't to that they will copy and paste those files and thats the worst thing.) But they shouldn't be able to manipulate the permissions settings an owner has done at the source. Thats a big security and compliance leak and a big problem for us.

 

The setting "Just Owners are able to create links" is not practicable and it doesn't make sense for us. An owner acts as an admin and it's not the user that daily works with the library and the library content.

 

Regards,

Ingrid

 

 

 

Microsoft

Hi @Ingrid Schiele,

 

Thanks for putting this together! I am a little unclear on the repro here. In the 3rd screenshot, does "Ingrid" already have access to this file? Interestingly, the sharing dialog here is showing that you are requesting access for the listed person vs. actually sharing the item. The flow here is generally:

 

1) User A has Read access to the item (and Access Requests are on). User B is the owner of the location

2) User A wants to share with User C. They get the experience above where they are "requesting access on behalf of User C".

3) User B, as the owner, gets an automated e-mail saying that User A is requesting access for User C. 

4) User B approves the request and the file is then shared with User C.

 

Thanks!

 

Stephen Rice

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