SharePoint Online - Site Sharing To External Users

This blog shows how we can share our sharepoint site to users that are out of our tenancy; i.e., external users.

In this blog I will discuss, what an external user is and how a Sharepoint site can be shared to external users.

External User

External user means, a user who has an Office365 subscription but is not under your domain. Suppose for example,  abc.onmicrosoft.com is one domain wanting to give access of one of its sites to users of another domain, xyz.onmicrosoft.com, here all users under domain xyz will be considered as external users.

Note

For demo purposes I have used my two different trial accounts. To enable external site sharing follow these steps,
  • Log in to your sharepoint account and open sharepoint admin center like shown in figure .1

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    Figure .1 SharePoint admin Center (Site Collections)
  • Click checkbox to mark the site which you want to give access to other users.
  • When you click on check box other options get enabled in site collections tab above.

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    Figure .2 Site Collections Tab
  • Now click on Sharing button in the Site Collections tab. After clicking on Sharing button a new window will be opened. Please refer following fig.

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    Figure .3 Sharing Window 1
  • From the above fig. we can see that there are four features of external sharing or in other words we can limit external sharing in four different types. Those are following.
    1. Don’t allow sharing outside your organization
    2. Allow sharing only with external users that already exist in your organization’s directory
    3. Allow external users who accept sharing invitations and sign in as authenticated users
    4. Allow sharing with all external users and by using anonymous access links

      SharePoint
      Figure .4 Sharing Window 2
  • Below that in Site Collection additional settings there is the option to limit external sharing by domain. Check that checkbox. You will find drop down list having two options:
    1. Allow sharing only with users from these domains
    2. Don’t allow sharing with users from these blocked domains
  • Click on first option. And in the text area provided below write the domain names to whom you want to grant access.
  • Scroll down a little bit and click on Save to save your changes.
  • Now open the site, you will find following tab.

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    Figure .5 Share Site
  • Click Share button and then following window will be opened.

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    Figure .6 Sharing Site Window
  • Search the name of other tenant (Or external user) and select it. Write the message you want which will be sent to other tenant when you click Share.
  • The email message with link would be received by external user. Email message is would look like as follows.

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    Figure .7 Mail showing access has been granted to user
  • Now click on the link given in blue letters, in this case Test Site, go to site.
  • The entry of the user which is made in User’s list is as follows,

    i:0#.f|membership|gaurav_mycmpw.onmicrosoft.com#ext#@mycmpq.onmicrosoft.com

    Note that username created contains user’s name “gaurav” followed by “_” and external user’s domain “mycmpw” followed by “.onmicrosoft.com” and after that "#ext#@mycmpq.onmicrosoft.com" to indicate that external user. Username also contains domain name to which user is granted access “mycmpq.onmicrosoft.com”.

    In this way you can grant site access to external user.
References
  • https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-external-sharing-for-your-SharePoint-Online-environment-C8A462EB-0723-4B0B-8D0A-70FEAFE4BE85
  • https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Share-sites-or-documents-with-people-outside-your-organization-80e49744-e30f-44db-8d51-16661b1d4232
  • https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Turn-external-sharing-on-or-off-for-SharePoint-Online-6288296a-b6b7-4ea4-b4ed-c297bf833e30