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How to Setup your OneDrive to Get Dropbox style Upload Functionality from Externals

Why would you do this?

Sometimes you need to exchange files with external parties who for some reason are unable to email them. This can happen if the files are too large or if they trip virus scanners. It's quite common for people to resort to third-party tools such as DropBox but these can be insecure. 

There is an easier way. 

In this post, I'll walk through a way to temporarily share a folder with an external party so that they can submit a file to you.

How To

1. Open your Personal OneDrive on the web (there's a link at

2. Use the Menu to create a New Folder, click New then Folder

New Folder Dialog

3. Give the folder a sensible name and click Create.
If you're planning on sharing lots of folders with different people, you might want to nest the folder a few levels down, perhaps below a folder called Shared. That way you'll be able to reduce clutter in the top levels of your OneDrive.

4. Right-Mouse click on your newly created folder and choose share from the menu.

5. A dialog box will appear.

6. The Sharing will default to your own company. Click the arrow to the right of the words to select other options.

7. Choose Anyone with the link (all the other options will require people to logon - not a bad option but not what I'm trying to demonstrate at the moment). 

8. Tick the checkbox marked Allow Editing (at the bottom of the dialog). If you don't tick this, external parties can read files you provide but they can't send you files.

The first set of Send Link Dialog Boxes

9. When you selected "Anyone", a new option would have appeared. To set a password.  It's recommended that you do this especially if you're not planning on removing the files quickly.  After all, it only takes one accidental forwarding of the link to expose your files.

As you type the password, eg: MyFiles2020! you'll see the strength of it registering on the bar.   Make a note of the password as you'll want to send it to your users (ideally via a different method to the link - ie: SMS).

Note that there's also an expiry date that you can change, depending upon what your administrator allows you to do. 

10. When you're finished, click Apply.

11. The Send Link dialog box will return. This presents you with a few options.

  • One option is to enter the email address (and a message) and click send.  Note that while this will present a nice email, it won't send the user the password. You'll need to send that separately.   
  • The other option is to click Copy Link

12. If you're planning to send the link to several people (but don't have all the names right now), then copy link is the better option. If you click copy link it will automatically be copied to the clipboard so that you can send it via email.  Again, you'll need to send the password through too (ideally not in the same email).

The Send Link Dialog

What the User Sees

To test your link, try opening a different browser (one where you aren't signed in to office) and pasting the link in there. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Shift+N in Chrome to open an incognito window where you aren't signed in.

When the user clicks the link they'll either go straight to the file (if you didn't use a password) or they'll get a password screen. The folder name is displayed and they need only type their password and click Verify

User Logon Screen
From there, the users will get a screen more or less similar to your OneDrive screens. To upload a file, they can either drag and drop it onto the browser window or click the Upload button. 

The user name will be set to Guest Contributor.  (If you're planning to let several people use the one folder, you might want to force them to login).

Upload Screen

Where to from here?

If you change your mind about the access or want to close down access to the folder, simply locate it in OneDrive and Right-mouse click on it. Choose Manage Access from the menu. 

You might also want to consider adding a flow to your folder to alert you of any uploads. 


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