Office 365 Services For External User Collaboration

Overview

Office 365 is a cloud-based service which offers a variety of services ranging from SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Office 365 groups, Skype for Business, Microsoft Forms, Microsoft Teams, Sway and many more. These services can be utilized by the users in Office 365 tenants based on the roles assigned to them by Office 365 administrators. However, many of these services can be shared with the users who are outside of your organization or from other domains for better collaboration. They can be partners, vendors, etc. This is simply referred to as an External Sharing.

The External Sharing term is commonly referred with SharePoint Online and Exchange Online for sharing the content with outside users. However external sharing is not limited only to SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. In this article, we will touch base on Office 365 services that can be effectively shared with the external users.

External Sharing for SharePoint Sites

SharePoint sites are commonly shared with the external users for better collaboration on the content. It may be the maximum form of sharing that can be seen in any Office 365 tenant.

SharePoint Online offers flexibility on the variety of content that can be externally shared,

  1. Entire SharePoint site collection
  2. Individual SharePoint site
  3. SharePoint list or library
  4. Individual document in a document library
Follow the below steps to enable external sharing in SharePoint Online,
  1. Open SharePoint Online admin center (https://[tenant]-admin.sharepoint.com)

  2. Click Sharing from the left menu

    SharePoint

    SharePoint tenant wide master settings for external sharing can be configured here depending upon how you would like to share the content with external users.

  3. Select any site collection and select Sharing from the ribbon.

    SharePoint

  4. Site collection level sharing can be configured from this dialog.

    SharePoint  
External Sharing for One Drive for Business

One Drive for Business (OD4B) is commonly used for storing the documents. The documents can be structured in folders. A folder or a document can be shared with external users.

SharePoint  

While sharing the folder or document we can specify rights for users whether they can edit the documents. We can also set the expiration date for sharing.

External Sharing for Calendar

An individual calendar can be shared with external users who have Office 365 or exchange.

SharePoint  
External Sharing for Microsoft Forms

Microsoft forms are generally used to create quick surveys, quizzes, and polls. The forms can be shared with external users like vendors or partners.

SharePoint  

External Sharing for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams are generally referred to as a digital hub which helps bring content, apps, and conversation together for the team.
  1. Open Office 365 Admin center
  2. Select Settings > Services and Add-ins > Microsoft Teams
  3. Select a Guest option from the drop-down for Settings by user/license type
  4. Turn it on

    SharePoint
  5. Click Save
Microsoft Teams can be shared with external users as a guest access.

External Sharing for Office 365 Groups

Office 365 groups is a team space that allows you to have a team conversation, store documents, add/remove members on the fly.
  1. Open Office 365 Admin center
  2. Select Settings > Services and Add-ins > Office 365 Groups
  3. Turn on both the options

    SharePoint  
External Sharing for Skype for Business

Skype for Business allows the users to communicate within the organization and also users from outside organization.
  1. Open Office 365 Admin center
  2. Under Admin centers, select Skype for Business

    SharePoint

  3. From the left menu, under organization, select external communications

  4. Select the external access level

    SharePoint  
External Sharing for Sway

Sway helps to create and share presentations, stories, and interactive reports. Sway can be easily shared with external users for reading as well as content editing.

SharePoint  

Summary

SharePoint Online and Exchange Online are more commonly used Office 365 services for external sharing. However, Office 365 offers many services than these which can be easily shared with external users for better collaboration.