How To Share Files In Microsoft Teams With External Users

Working on Microsoft Teams but need to share files with external users? This process might initially seem complex. However, when correctly used, Microsoft Teams has robust features that make sharing and collaborating both easy and secure.

In this article, we will walk you through the essential steps to share files outside your organization while controlling access levels. Ready to enhance your team’s efficiency? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft Teams allows for easy and secure file sharing with external users by utilizing features like Guest Access, SharePoint, and OneDrive.
  • Uploading files directly within Teams or sharing via SharePoint enables collaboration with external users through customizable permissions and anonymous sharing options.
  • OneDrive offers convenient methods to share files securely, control permissions, set expiration dates, track version history, and collaborate in real-time with external users in Microsoft Teams.
  • To ensure secure collaboration, organizations should educate users about data security, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, regularly review shared files, and follow best practices for granting and revoking access.

Understanding How to Share Files on Microsoft Teams

On Microsoft Teams, only team members get to see files shared within a team. But, you can also share with external users if they use Teams too! First, choose the file you want to give access to.

Next, click the “Share” button and then pick who gets it.

Sharing doesn’t stop when Guest Access is off in Teams. External sharing works even then if it’s turned on in SharePoint. This means more ways for you to work as a team and keep everyone in touch with what’s going on.

Methods of Sharing Files in Microsoft Teams with External Users

There are three main methods for sharing files in Microsoft Teams with external users: uploading and sharing files directly within Teams, sharing files via SharePoint, and using OneDrive for external file sharing.

Uploading and sharing files directly within Teams

You can share files in Microsoft Teams. It is easy and safe. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to the ‘Teams’ part of the app. Pick a team and channel. Then, look for the tab that says ‘Files’.
  2. Click on ‘New’. You can then pick ‘Folder’ or ‘File’.
  3. Once you have picked, fill in the needed info.
  4. For a file, it will open up in an online version of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  5. You can now start typing or adding content.
  6. The app saves your work as you go along.
  7. When you’re done, close the tab with the file.
  1. Open up Microsoft Teams.
  2. Go to the ‘Teams’ part of the app.
  3. Find a team and channel where you want to share a file.
  4. Look for and click on a tab called ‘Files’.
  5. Search for the file you wish to share.
  6. Right – click on the file’s name, then choose ‘Copy link’ from the menu that pops up.
  7. Paste this link into an invite message or email.

Sharing files via SharePoint

Sharing files via SharePoint is an easy task in Microsoft Teams. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Start by opening the file or folder you want to share.
  2. Click on the “Share” button.
  3. Enter the email of the external user.
  4. Choose what they can do with your file – like view, edit, or download.
  5. Click on “Send”.

Using OneDrive for external file sharing

OneDrive can be used to share files and collaborate with external users. Here are some ways to use OneDrive for external file sharing:

  • Share files and folders: You can easily share specific files or entire folders stored in OneDrive with external users. This allows them to access and collaborate on the shared content.
  • Control permissions: With OneDrive, you have control over the permissions granted to external users. You can choose whether they can view, edit, or comment on the shared files.
  • Set expiration dates: If you only want to share files for a limited time, OneDrive lets you set expiration dates. This ensures that access to the shared content is automatically revoked after a certain period.
  • Secure collaboration: OneDrive provides secure sharing options, such as password protection and anonymous links. This helps protect your shared files from unauthorized access.
  • Version history and edits: When collaborating with external users in OneDrive, you can keep track of changes made to the shared files through version history. You can also collaborate in real-time and see edits made by others instantly.

Controlling Access and Permissions for External Users

Learn how to grant and manage guest access, set permissions for shared files, and revoke access for external users in Microsoft Teams to ensure secure collaboration with individuals outside your organization.

Granting and managing guest access

To collaborate with people outside your organization, you can grant guest access in Microsoft Teams. Here are the steps to grant and manage guest access effectively:

  1. Enable guest access: In the Microsoft Teams admin center, turn on guest access for your organization.
  2. Add external users: Invite external users by entering their email addresses in Teams. They will receive an email invitation to join.
  3. Manage guest permissions: Set the permissions for guests based on your organization’s requirements. You can customize what they can do within Teams, such as chat, call, or edit files.
  4. Control access to directory objects: IT admins can restrict guest access to certain properties and membership of directory objects.
  5. Revoking guest access: If needed, you can revoke a guest user’s access by removing them from specific teams or removing their guest account altogether.
  • Guest access in Microsoft Teams allows collaboration with people outside the organization.
  • IT admins have control over granting and managing guest user privileges.
  • By enabling or disabling guest access in the admin center, organizations can manage external collaboration effectively.
  • Revoking a guest user’s access can be done by removing them from teams or deleting their account.
  • Following data security best practices ensures secure collaboration with external users in Microsoft Teams.

Setting permissions for shared files

To ensure secure and controlled file sharing with external users in Microsoft Teams, it is important to set proper permissions. Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Understand the different permission levels available, such as “read,” “write,” and “edit.”
  2. Determine which files or folders you want to share with external users.
  3. Open the file or folder in Microsoft Teams and select the “Share” button.
  4. Choose the option to grant access to external users.
  5. Specify the email addresses of the external users you want to share with.
  6. Customize the permissions for each user, deciding whether they can view, edit, or delete files.
  7. Consider using expiration dates for temporary access if needed.
  8. Click on “Send” to share the file or folder with the specified permissions.

Revoking access for external users

To revoke access for external users in Microsoft Teams, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the user from the SharePoint permissions if they have already accepted an invitation.
  2. Use the External Identities and External collaboration settings in Azure Active Directory to govern external sharing in Microsoft 365.
  3. Utilize guest access and external access to collaborate with users from other Microsoft 365 organizations.
  4. Choose whether to allow access to all domains or restrict external access.
  5. Take advantage of the options available in Microsoft 365 to share files and folders with external users, including unauthenticated access.

Best Practices for Secure and Efficient File Sharing

Educate users about data security, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and regularly review and audit shared files.

Educating users about data security

It is crucial to educate users about data security when sharing files in Microsoft Teams with external users. By being aware of the risks and best practices, users can help protect sensitive information and maintain file security.

Users should understand the importance of using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. Regularly reviewing and auditing shared files ensures that access permissions are up-to-date and only given to trusted individuals.

Educating users about data protection not only promotes secure collaboration but also helps organizations comply with privacy requirements. Microsoft Teams provides various security, compliance, and privacy features that can be utilized to safeguard data while sharing files externally.

Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication

One important aspect of secure and efficient file sharing in Microsoft Teams with external users is using strong passwords and two-factor authentication. By creating a strong password that includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, you can help protect your account from unauthorized access.

Additionally, enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring an additional verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device, before logging in.

This makes it harder for attackers to gain access to sensitive information even if they have obtained your password. By following these best practices for secure authentication, you can enhance the security measures when sharing files with external users in Microsoft Teams.

Regularly reviewing and auditing shared files

Regularly reviewing and auditing shared files is a crucial practice for ensuring secure and efficient file sharing in Microsoft Teams with external users. By regularly assessing and inspecting shared documents, you can safeguard sensitive information and protect data based on its sensitivity.

This involves implementing best practices for file sharing, such as educating users about data security, using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and monitoring and managing external sharing.

It is important to stay vigilant in reviewing permissions and access levels to ensure that only authorized individuals have the necessary access to shared files. By consistently reviewing and auditing shared files, you can promote secure file sharing practices and maintain the integrity of your shared data.


In conclusion, sharing files with external users in Microsoft Teams is a simple and efficient process. By following the right steps and using the available features, you can collaborate seamlessly with individuals outside your organization.

Remember to enable sharing controls across Azure Active Directory, Teams, Microsoft 365 Groups, and SharePoint to ensure secure and effective file sharing. With proper permissions and best practices in place, you can confidently share files and foster collaboration with partners and stakeholders.

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.