Sharing = scaring (part 1)

Sharing=scaring1If you thought that only “Get a Link” and Access Requests can upset the carefully constructed permissions settings in your site, you have not used “Share” yet 🙂

How “Share” works

Currently you can share a site, folders *, documents and items tem via this option. It does not work for libraries and lists, but I expect this is a matter of time.

(* only when a specific setting has been enabled)

If you select a document and click Share, or go to the Share button to share the site, a pop-up opens and you can:

  • Add the person (pick from people picker or type email address)
  • Select role (“Can View” or (the default!) “Can Edit”)
  • Add a message
  • Determine if sign-in is required (if you allow anonymous access)
  • Determine if you want to send an email (recommended; otherwise people may not know something has been shared with them)
  • If this is a site and you are the Site owner, you can select the desired permission group (recommended) or a permission level.

The person you share with will receive an email, and you will get a copy.

The Sharing screen. If you share the site and are the Site owner, you will see an option to add the person to a group.

New Share interface

During my experiments, I noticed a difference in Share interface between sharing from a Document library web part on a page (screenshot above) and from the native Document library (screenshots below).

CHAOPS has already written about it.

The new Share interface. You get this when you share from the Document library itself.
If you select a different option than “Anyone” in the screenshot above, you will see these options.

Sharing a site

Sharing a site (using the Share button top right on any page of a site) is actually a faster way to add someone to your site than going to Site Settings > Site Permissions.
From the Share pop-up you can add people to a site group.

I recommend this to Site owners.

Sharing documents/items with people who do not have access

I am quite alone in my tenant, so I can only share with externals. However, externals have exactly the same options as employees so it does not really matter. My tenant allows anonymous access, so I can decide between “no sign in required” (anonymous access) and “sign in required”.

This is my test document library.


I have inherited the permissions for the Newsfeed, so I have very straightforward site permissions before I start sharing.

I wish I knew how to change the permission level descriptions to English!

I share the document numbers as follows:

  1. Can View with Durian Grey, no sign in
  2. Can Edit with Durian Grey, sign in
  3. Can View with Mystery Guest, sign in
  4. Can Edit with Mystery Guest, no sign in

Without those people even accessing the documents, here’s what happens:

  • The permission inheritance for each document breaks as soon as you hit Share.
All shared documents get unique permissions
  • If you do not require sign-in, the permission inheritance is simply broken with no people added or anything.
Sharing-5-anonymous access
With anonymous sharing, permission inheritance for the document breaks, nothing else.
  • If you require sign-in, the person who you share with is added to the permissions with Read (if you select “Can View”) or Contribute (if you select “Can Edit”), as an individual user, NOT in a group.
Sharing 4- signinuser added as individual
In case of “sign-in required”, you see that Durian Grey is added as individual with Contribute permissions.
  • The persons you share with get “limited access” to your site and will show up in that yellow bar. This is as expected, but be aware that this happens.

    Sharing 6- people with limited access.
    Two people with Limited Access added to your site….somewhere.

Once they have accessed the documents, nothing changes.
So you, as the site owner, have done all the damage yourself 😦

Sharing documents/items with people who have access

Let me add Mystery Guest as Member and Durian Grey as Visitor, and share some documents with them in their new status.

5. Can View with Durian Grey
6. Can Edit with Durian Grey
7. Can View with Mystery Guest
8. Can Edit with Mystery Guest

After sending out the emails this is what the permissions looked like:

Sharing 7-sharingwithmembers
Only one document has unique permissions after sharing with people who are added to the site.

Only document 6 has unique permissions: where I shared the document as “Can Edit” with Durian Grey who can only Read. That makes sense.

It is that I have given up fighting unique permissions, otherwise I would have recommended that you add all likely members for your team site into site groups. 🙂

Sharing a folder

Folders are documents, so I would expect folders to behave in a similar way as documents. I can indeed share a folder from the native Document library, with the new interface. And indeed, depending on the permissions that the audience has, I will either create unique permissions or not.

However, when I want to share a folder from the Document library web part on the homepage I get this error message.


How inconsistent!

After disabling that Site Feature and trying again I get the familiar older Share pop-up.

Interface when sharing a folder from a Document library web part

But hey, what is that, just above the “hide options”?

“Share everything in this folder, even items with unique permissions”. Checked by default, of course.

I can not even imagine what this will do to your permissions! When I can gather the courage, I will give it a test.

This is enough interesting news for now.

In my next posts, I will discuss what happens when a member or visitor shares. And then I will share some options to prevent unique permissions and clean your site.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

One thought on “Sharing = scaring (part 1)

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