Horrible sharing URLs in Sharepoint

Copper Contributor

What is the story with Sharing URLs - they are horrible!


In classic SharePoint you could click/drag over a document and you had a user-friendly URL that linked to the document and could be pasted directly into documents, emails etc.  Permissions were set once based on the organisation's policy.  The link was completely separate to access.


Now it creates a horrible unprofessional looking GUID filled thing!  In addition, you now have to specify the type of sharing/access you are providing - in most cases existing access is fine! - which can then result in completely unnecessary permissions entries that now have to be managed/audited.


Not only was it fine the way it was, it was better!  Any chance of sorting this out?

11 Replies

@John Minihan 


This feedback looks like it has been rejected by Microsoft in uservoice - https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/329214-sites-and-collaboration/suggestions/12298959-sharepoi... 


You can set the tenant or site default for the type of links that are created. So if you want all users to be presented with a link with the setting "Existing access" that is possible. 


Site - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/change-default-sharing-link


Tenant - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/turn-external-sharing-on-or-off

Hi @Andrew Hodges , thanks for the response.


The rejected idea was to provide a new format short URL.  I'm looking to revert back to the way it was before - a user-friendly URL displaying the Item Title.


As to the permissions, Existing Access is only available through the individual Active Sites panel - that's fine for the SharePoint Root site (and I've changed that setting now, thanks) but I'd have to go each of the myriad sites created by Office365 groups, Teams, PWA, etc. and then there's OneDrive!  Head - wrecking!  ... and I'd still have the ugly URL format...!


I'm just amazed that Microsoft haven't seen this as a real barrier to user adoption.  Every (as in EVERY!) user I've dealt with has mentioned it to me.  We have a large variety of solutions (workarounds!) - from getting the ugly URLs (meaning the emails/IMs are, generally, unreadable), to people using the Share via email and sending a sharing request every time, to people not providing a link and just referring, in text, to the document location, to people sending attachments.  Ultimately, people are not happy with this!


Part of the frustration is that I had created videos and instruction Wikis showing people how easy it was to get a neat user-friendly link; one of the catalysts for adoption was me demonstrating how easy it was to get a neat link! - and then Microsoft changed it without asking...!   Aaaarrgh!




John M

Hi @John Minihan,


I just wanted to pop my head in here and say hello :)


@Andrew Hodges has already provided all of the guidance that I would have around changing the default link behavior. We've also recently released the ability to set "People with existing access" as the default link on a per-site collection basis. You can do this in the SharePoint Online Management Shell or via the modern SharePoint Admin Center.


Sharing URLs are absolutely something that we at Microsoft look at and what you see today is the result of a number of different efforts over the last few years. We've moved away from path-based url's as we found that A) they could get unnecessarily long, B) they could get cluttered as we added important query string parameters to the link (more on this in a moment) and C) we actually found that users would try and parse/change the link (resulting in things breaking down the line). 


I wanted to specifically callout that one of the reasons the links look the way they do today is that it helps us guide users down the golden path when they click that link. An easy example is ensuring the links go to our fast preview experiences vs. going to download. 


About two years ago, we did make a major effort to shorten the links as much as possible which we announced at Ignite. I think the language we used to describe them was "carry-on" sized (not as big as it could be but not necessarily as small as we might like).


The team is continuing to listen to feedback here and we'll continue to look for opportunities to improve this further. All that being said, I know this isn't the answer you were looking for but hopefully it shines some light on how we got to where we are :)




Stephen Rice

Senior Program Manager, OneDrive

@Stephen Rice what are you talking about 'the golden path'.. have you seen what shared links look like? They are massively long URLs that provide no content or information to the user about what it is or where it is. Single handily the worst part about Teams/Onedrive - everyone in my org complains about it and hurts adoption. 



I agree. These are unfriendly URLs - @Stephen Rice 

@Stephen Rice I was disappointed in your reply which, to me, reads like the ol' "its-a-feature-not-a-bug" approach. It doesn't seem to acknowledge the user's issue, at all. But there could be a disconnect on the nature of the URL issue.


Here is a URL structure that, I would think, leads a user down the "golden path": https://domain.com/top-level-directory/category/sub-category/tag/readable-file-name


There's nothing special about the above. It's well-codified best practice in web-based information systems.


Here's what my Sharepoint URL's look like: https://subdomain.sharepoint.com/sites/SITENAME/pagename/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx?view...


(Interesting to see that this forum truncated the example URL because IT'S TOO LONG!)


Low-hanging fruit on this could be to implement some logic to strip out the spaces ('%2F'). This IS a usability issue.

Whenever I'm copying a link to a folder it starts out in the address bar like:


But I've learned a trick! I can take the above and simplify it to:


How beautiful is that? And it works fine!

I just wish SharePoint was clever enough to keep such simple URLs in the address bar as you navigate around a site.

@ralmin Why not consider

1. A tiny URL internal system. All these complexities could be hidden.


2. Minimalistic approach https://company/server/document-id

Reducing the cognitive load increases productivity. The long URL may help the system to run efficiently, but not the individuals.

@gcarbo @John Minihan @ralmin @dbrogan955 @jdee17 


There is another way to copy direct link to documents which provides URL in standard format like: 




ganeshsanap_0-1709882419023.pngReferenceSharePoint Online: Copy direct link to document library files 

Please click Mark as Best Response & Like if my post helped you to solve your issue. This will help others to find the correct solution easily. It also closes the item. If the post was useful in other ways, please consider giving it Like.

This is the best way to do it. Only downside to this is: once you add a lot of changes to a document, you keep scrolling until you can finally select that button. Not always, but very often.