The file request feature has been a staple in OneDrive for Business for some time, but its recent introduction to SharePoint Online is a notable advancement. This enhancement bridges the gap, cutting out many steps in the traditional file request process and underscoring SharePoint’s continuous evolution to meet user needs. It’s exciting to see how Microsoft is increasingly harmonizing SharePoint’s functionalities for a streamlined user experience.

Prerequisite: Enable Anonymous Sharing

To kick off the process, begin by enabling anonymous sharing on your SharePoint site. Without this step, you’ll notice the file request feature is missing. The rationale behind this is simple: the feature requires anonymous sharing because when you request files, the contributors could be from either within or outside your organization.

To effectively request files, start by enabling anonymous sharing at both the tenant level and on the desired specific site. Here’s how:

Tenant-level Settings:

  1. Access Office 365 Admin Panel.
  2. Open SharePoint Admin Center.
  3. Go to Sharing.
  4. Set external sharing settings. (Note: OneDrive settings should align with SharePoint.)
  5. Under Sharing, adjust File and folder links. Keep default as “Only people in your organization”.

Site-level Settings:

  1. In SharePoint Admin Center, select Active Sites.
  2. Pick a site, click the “i” icon.
  3. Edit external sharing setting.
  4. Ensure site settings align with tenant-level.

The Experience

After enabling Anonymous sharing in SharePoint, the process to request files is straightforward. Start by selecting the desired folder for uploads and choosing “Request files.” Briefly describe the type of files you’re seeking, which will be included in the recipient’s email. You’ll then be provided with a shareable link. You can either send this link directly to recipients or input their email addresses and send an invitation from within SharePoint, accompanied by any additional details.

When the recipient gets the email, they can easily click to upload their files. They’ll select the required files and enter their first and last names before uploading. As a confirmation, they’ll see a success message. On the requester’s side, once the files are uploaded, they receive a notification email. Upon accessing the designated folder in SharePoint, the uploaded files are easily identifiable, as they’re prefixed with the uploader’s name.

For more information, here is Microsoft’s documentation on the subject. 

Connect with Kumo Partners

Want to use requesting files in SharePoint Online as a regular part of your business processes? Connect with Kumo Partners here for expert SharePoint consulting. Or for more SharePoint knowledge, read our blog posts about disabling quick edit in SharePoint Online or see how a simple Teams workshop helps a small business get the most out of their communication strategy


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