Sharepoint 2013 : Creating team sites (part 3) - Sharing sites, libraries, and files

10/10/2013 7:47:25 PM

Sharing sites, libraries, and files

Making it easy for users to share sites, libraries, and files (without the need to understand SharePoint permissions) is one of the key new concepts in SharePoint 2013. Sites and libraries are for sharing with people that you need to collaborate with, and sharing a site is simple in SharePoint 2013.

Sharing items with team members in a location such as a document library is easy—if everyone has access and is aware that you are putting in the files. However, if they are not following the library or a member of the site, it may be necessary to grant them permissions and let them know that you have files you would like to share with them. The tools and process for sharing and notifying them are significantly enhanced in SharePoint 2013.

As shown in Figure 8, the Share button is ubiquitous in SharePoint sites and libraries. You will find it in the upper-right part of the page. Just click Share, and then using the new people picker, type in the username of people with whom you want to share.

A screenshot of the Share button enabling the user to share an item with a single click.

Figure 4-8. The Share button appears in many locations throughout SharePoint.

After you have shared a site, library, or document with someone, that person will be notified via email, as shown in Figure 9.

A screenshot of an email that was sent by SharePoint indicating that Garth Fort has shared a document with the recipient of the email.

Figure 9. A recipient’s email link to a document that has been shared with him or her.

External sharing

If you use Office 365 for your SharePoint environment (SharePoint Online), and if your administrators have configured the farm for external sharing, SharePoint 2013 provides the option of easily sharing items with external users as well. People who need to view or edit your content but do not have user accounts for your SharePoint Online farm are referred to as external users. This “extranet collaboration” scenario is one of the most popular motivations for business customers to use SharePoint Online. It is relatively quick and simple to get set up for external collaboration in a cloud-based instance of SharePoint relative to an on-premise environment.

The external sharing process is the same as sharing with internal team members, except that you enter the external person’s email address. As before, you can send that person an invitation via email, and he or she will get a link to the document.


Before external users can access the item you shared, they will need to link their email accounts to a Microsoft LiveID.

In some cases, you may want to share an item with external users without requiring any permissions at all (that is, anonymous access). An example might be a product brochure that you want to share with several of your customers for viewing, but you do not want to email it to them. Perhaps the document is in Word format.


The ability to share anonymously with external users is dependent upon the SharePoint farm being configured to allow external sharing.

To share an item externally without email notification, first put the item in your personal SkyDrive Pro library. Then using the ellipsis, click Share for the item you wish to extend to external parties. As shown in Figure 10, type in the email addresses (or Everyone if applicable). Change the permissions level to Can View, and clear the Require Sign-In check box.

A screenshot of the sharing interface where the user is sharing a document with the Everyone security group. They have selected the option allowing anyone in the group to have view access to the item.

Figure 10. A file is shared with the Everyone security group from SkyDrive Pro.

After you have made those selections, click Share. After you have done that, go back to the menu using the ellipsis, and an option to get a guest link appears, as shown in Figure 11.

A screenshot of a document library where the user has selected a document and is seeing a hover panel. In the hover panel, the option to get a “guest link” to the document is being called out.

Figure 11. The option to get a guest link appears within a hover panel in a document library.

The guest link can then be used in whatever way you need (email, link on a webpage, and so on). As shown in Figure 12, when external users click the link, they will be taken to the Office Web App for whichever file type you are sharing (assuming that it is a Office file type). When they enter the web app, they will either be able to edit, or just view, depending on what level of permission you granted. The entire process from initially putting the file into SkyDrive Pro, to sharing it, and then external users consuming it in the Office Web Apps, is seamless and easy.

A screenshot of a Microsoft Word document being opened in the Word Office Web Application.

Figure 12. A Word document is opened in the Word Office Web Application.

Checking sharing permissions

Checking to see the people with whom something is shared is much easier in SharePoint 2013. You can choose the Shared With option in a document, library, or site. For a library, the Shared With button is on the ribbon in the browser, as shown in Figure 13.

A screenshot of the Shared With interface as seen from within a document library. The user is seeing a list of users who have access to items within the library.

Figure 13. The Shared With window indicates who has access to items within a document library.

To do the same check for an entire site, look under the Settings menu in the upper-right corner of the browser. Then click Shared With, and you will see the people who have access to the site.

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