Sharing links to documents with SharePoint

SharePoint makes it easy to send links to documents instead of attachments. This makes a big difference to the productivity of an organization for a few reasons:

  • Especially, if a company has a culture of carbon copying and replying all, email can get out of hand. Email is a problem because we all receive hundreds of messages a day. Any tool that relieves some of this volume is a good one.
  • Links can be updated. If someone needs to make a change to a document after emailing it out as an attachment, then that person needs to send a second email with a V2 version of the document. Changes to linked documents are immediately updated for all users because there is literally only one copy of the document.
  • If multiple people make changes to the same attached documents, those changes have to be aggregated back into a single documents. Changes made to a document in SharePoint (shared with a link) are immediately available to all users.
  • Depending on your site settings and architecture, documents on the SharePoint server can also be edited simultaneously be several users.

How to share a link

Microsoft has made it easy to share a link to a document from whatever interface you’re using.

From the browser

Navigate to the document library in which your document is stored and find your document. Click on the ellipsis (…) next to the name of your document. You can copy and paste the link in the popup window or use the SHARE button to send the link by email.

Link from Document Library

From Microsoft Office 2013

Once your document has been saved in SharePoint or OneDrive, there are several ways to share the document from within Word:

Link from MS OfficeMethod 1) Click File, then Share. Choose Invite People and add an email address and message. Choose the level of access they need (Edit or Read) and click Share.

Method 2) Click File, then Share. Choose Email and select Share a link. A new email message will pop up with the link in the body.

Method 3) Click File, then Share. Click the link to the file path and choose Copy link to clipboard. You can then paste (Control + V) the link in an email message.  This is particularly useful if you’ve already started typing the email or if you are sending links to several documents.

The trouble with links

The trouble with links is that they break. If a document is moved to a different location, or if the name is changed, the link to that document is no longer active.

If users are trying to access documents by clicking on the links in old emails, these broken links can become a problem.

A better method for tracking documents is to Follow them.  You can then access the documents, no matter where they are moved, from your MySites page. It also notifies you if the document is changed in anyway. Delve (for Office 365 users) will also surface these documents.

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