Sharing Options Available in Microsoft OneDrive

With Pitt’s Box license ending in August 2022, Microsoft OneDrive is now the University’s primary cloud storage solution. Storing files on OneDrive instead of on your computer allows you to access them from any device at any time. OneDrive also natively offers several file-sharing options, enabling easy collaboration that doesn’t rely on endless email chains or access to shared network drives.

OneDrive’s various file-sharing options allow a file’s creator to control who can access a file. These options include:

  • Anyone with the link: Anyone who has the link to the file will be able to access it. This option is useful for non-sensitive files that will be widely shared inside and outside of Pitt. A note of caution—anyone you share this link with can then choose to share this same link with others, meaning that someone may access the file without your knowledge or explicit permission.
  • People in University of Pittsburgh with the link: Anyone who has the link to the file and is a member of the Pitt community will be able to access the file. After clicking on the link, collaborators will be prompted to log in to their Pitt account via Pitt Passport before they can view the file. This option is useful for files that will be widely shared within Pitt but should not be available to anyone outside of the university.
  • Specific people: Only collaborators that you specify by email address will be able to access the file, even if they forward the link on to someone else. This option allows precise control over file access.
  • People with existing access: This option does not change any sharing permissions, and only generates a sharing link that can be accessed by those you have already shared the file with.

With a few clicks, you can further customize any of the above file-sharing options to fit the specific needs of your project:

  • Allow editing: By default, collaborators will only be able to view files. If you would like them to make edits within the file, check this box.
  • Open in review mode only: With this option, collaborators will be able to leave comments and suggest document changes, but cannot directly edit the file.
  • Block download: When this option is enabled, file recipients will not be able to download a copy of the file. This option is useful when sharing proprietary information.

More than one of these file-sharing options can be used within the same file. For instance, you may send a file to your supervisor for their edits by sharing with “specific people” and checking “allow editing.” Once your supervisor has finalized the file, you can send a read-only link to your entire department by sharing with “people in University of Pittsburgh with the link.”

Though it is appropriate to store and share most work-related files on OneDrive, some types of sensitive information should not be shared via the cloud. For an overview of file-sharing guidelines, refer to Pitt’s page on Data Risk Classification and Compliance.

More information about sharing OneDrive files is available on Microsoft’s support site. Questions about OneDrive at Pitt, the university’s Box license, and other associated concerns can be directed to Pitt’s IT Help Desk.

~Julia Reese