SharePoint Share Link Settings

Tech Trek Log – 2019.02.02

It has been a challenge to find a resource that explains what Share option does after it became consistent across SharePoint and OneDrive. Although the Microsoft Support article below gives you the basics. It doesn’t really cover what happens behind the scenes after selecting each option. I’ll attempt to briefly explain the differences so that it could help you decide which option to choose for your needs.

Share SharePoint files or folders


Link settings:

  1. Anyone with the link.
    Available only when Anyone option is selected in External Sharing at Admin Center.
  2. People in <tenant> with the link (default option).
    Selecting this setting displays the Allow editing checkbox. Then, Block download becomes available when Allow editing is unchecked (view only mode).
  3. People with existing access.
    Allows share/copy the link without creating unique permissions for your SharePoint files or folder.
  4. Specific people.
    This is similar to Option 2 except Block download is no longer displayed since the link works only for those who have access to the site.

Ideally, Owners and Members should use Option 3 whenever possible so that it doesn’t create messy site permissions. Why? Selecting any other option creates unique object permission which may be useful in certain scenarios but it can be confusing and likely cause issues for SharePoint lists that has a lot of files/items. #FredO365tips #111

You can use Manage Access from the ellipsis (…) menu and click Advanced link as needed to find out whether someone already has access to the item.


The screenshot below is a sample file where an account already has access but I’ve used Share on two different occasions with Edit and View link options. As shown in Advanced permission settings, Fred account appears twice (Contribute and Read permission level) even though I already have that same profile via Members group.


When would you use the other options?
Typically, Options 1 (external) & 2 (internal) are intended when links will be re-shared to others. Just a fair warning, this can pose a security risk which is why Block download has been recently added as an option. #FredO365tips #42

Option 4 is a bit better but it still creates the unique object permissions via classic override instead of being added into a SharePoint group. Thus, someone receiving the link will need to have access to the site, in order to open the item.

Lastly, using Stop sharing link under Manage Access also creates unique permission and makes the item available only to Owners group. Thankfully, a site admin can revert back to the original state by using the Delete unique permission at Advanced settings page in a worst case scenario. Just a warning, this restore option may break previously shared links so you’ll have to advise users when performing this action.

The key takeaway is to educate users how to use these Sharing options, otherwise, it will result into an administration headache. Better yet, try to get your users into Microsoft Teams to minimize this issue and use Get link option instead to share files with other team members. #FredO365tips #112


I hope you’ll find this post useful as it does get confusing due to the number of possible combination when clicking Share button.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave …”
Walter Scott

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