It’s been a while since my last post. I’m quite busy and don’t always have time to write things down and clear my head. Anyway, I’ve found a new topic that needs addressing.
In previous versions of SharePoint (2007, 2010 to name but a few) our end-users were able to send an email containing the link to a document stored in SharePoint.
Okay, big deal, right? Well, this nice little feature has been removed from SharePoint (2013 or Online). Why? Who knows. Anyway, a lot of organisations still need this little button. Because they’re promoting SharePoint as alternative to sending attachments in mail.
Send a link instead of the attachment!
Okay: where is this option? I can hear people scream. Or better yet: “Our current platform X does have such a feature”.
So, as consultant you try to explain that you can send a link to the document-id (when activated) or use the document details pop-up to copy/paste a direct link.
All very nice. But there is a new option which might do this trick as well, when correctly configured! And this option is the Share button.
We all know this button, but what does it do? In the most basic scenario’s, it will send a link to the people you are sharing the site or document with.
Hey, wait up! Sharing the site? What’s this? Yes, you can also send a link concerning the entire site to anyone. But here’s the catch. If not configured correctly, this Share button will break any security and/or inheritance you have set-up. I’ll try to explain. Beware though: the information below only concerns non-administrator users.
First off all, you will need to know what the options are for the sharing functionality. These can be found at the site settings | site permissions | access requests settings.
This should already tip you off that you’re working with access levels here….
Multitude of options….
One of the options you can select here is the default behavior of SharePoint when an unauthorised user wants to access a site (or part of the site). If you don’t have access requests activated, the user will simply receive an error message. If the option is activated, all access requests will be sent to the mailaddress. In addition, these requests will be stored in an access request list. This option is: Allow access request.
The other two control the behaviour of the Share button. When the first is enabled, the Share button will send a link to the addressees. If the users already have access to the site/documents, then only a link is send.
If these users don’t have access to the site or the document which is shared, the following will happen:
- Files/folder: break the security inheritance, create individual user rights to the document, send the link.
- Site (when the second option is not enabled & Allow access request is enabled): No link is send. Instead, an access request is sent to the mailaddress stated.
- Site (when the second option is not enabled & Allow access request is not enabled): No link is send. Instead, the user receives an error message.
- Site (when the second option is enabled): The most devious of all options: The link is send and the users are added to the SharePoint user-group.
So, what if both options are disabled, but access requests are enabled? In this scenario (in my opinion, the most relevant), the Share button is still there. But no link is send. Instead, an access request is send to the mailaddress stated.
Use this option wisely! Don’t be fooled by Microsoft which stated that the Share button is the most ingenious invention since the wheel!
You can explain this feature to the users as the alternative to the “send a link” option. But be prepared to explain the limitations as well.