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Share Documents in Word – Instructions and Video Lesson

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Share Documents in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user changing sharing settings in the “Link settings” pane in Word.

Share Documents in Word: Overview

            One way to share documents in Word is to use the co-authoring features of Word as part of an Office 365 subscription. To use co-authoring in Word, you must also save the shared document to an online site like OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online. Co-authoring lets you to work on shared Word documents at the same time as other users.

            Alternatively, if available, you can also share a Word document to an internally shared network drive, just like any other type of file. Word also provides other sharing options that let you share a document via email using a sharing link or even present your document online. However, these options do not allow for real-time document updates when changes occur.

Share Documents in Word Using Co-authoring

            To share a document using co-authoring in Word as part of Office 365 if you haven’t yet saved the document online, open the document to share. Then click the “Share” button in the upper-right corner of the Ribbon to open a “Share” pane. This pane lists the connected online OneDrive and SharePoint sites to which you can share the document. Click the desired choice in the “Share” pane to upload a copy of the document to that site.

            After doing that, the “Share” pane then turns into the “Send Link” pane. Alternatively, if you clicked the “Share” button within a document you had already saved online, then the “Send Link” pane appears right away, instead. The “Send Link” pane lets you choose the users to invite to co-author the document via a link you send to their email addresses.

            By default, Word wants to send a link that lets anyone with the link edit the document. To configure this link, click the “Anyone with this link can edit >” button in the “Send Link” pane to change it into the “Link settings” pane. Then click the button that shows the users with whom you want to share the link. Choices include “Anyone with the link,” “People in (Your Organization’s Name) with the link,” “People with existing access,” or “Specific people.”

            For most choices, you can also check or uncheck the “Allow editing” checkbox at the bottom of the pane to choose whether or not to also allow editing access, if desired. You must allow editing access if you want users to co-author the document with you. Otherwise, they can only read the document, but not edit it.

Share Documents in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user changing sharing settings in the “Link settings” pane in Word.

Share Documents in Word – Instructions: A picture of a user changing sharing settings in the “Link settings” pane in Word.

            For many sharing choices, if you uncheck the “Allow editing” checkbox, you can also enable the “Block download” switch by clicking it to block downloading, too, if desired. Additionally, if you select the “Anyone with the link” option, you can click into the “Set expiration date” field at the bottom of this pane to select an expiration date for the sharing link, if desired.

            You can also password protect the document file if you choose the “Anyone with the link” option by clicking into the “Set password” field and then typing the desired file password. Note that you will need to provide this password to anyone with this link so they can access the file. After changing your link settings, click the “Apply” button to continue and return to the “Send Link” pane again.

            Then enter the users’ names or email addresses, as needed, into the “Enter a name or email address” field, which is above the blue line in this pane. Then select the names from the drop-down that appears to add them to the list. Continue doing this until you have added all the users with whom to share the document.

            To enter an optional message within the email, type it into the “Add a message (optional)” field. To then email the invitations, click the “Send” button in the “Send Link” pane. Then click the “x” button in the upper-right corner of the confirmation message box that appears to tell you the email is sent.

Share Documents in Word Using a Link

            Alternatively, you can instead get a sharing link to either view or edit the shared document, which you can then send to other users in emails or other kinds of messaging apps. To share documents in Word using a link, edit the sharing link settings, as usual. Then click the “Copy link” button instead of the “Send” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane.

            The link is then copied and appears within a “Link to (Document Name) copied” pane. You can also click the link’s adjacent “Copy” button to copy the link to your clipboard, if needed. You can then send the link to your desired recipients using whatever application you want. Then click the “x” button in the upper-right corner of the “Link to (Document Name) copied” pane to close it, when finished.

            Alternatively, you can also send the link via your desktop Outlook application, if available. To do this, edit the link settings, as usual. Then click the “Outlook” button instead of the “Send” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane. Your desktop version of Outlook then opens and creates an email with the link that you can send to the recipients.

            You can also choose to share a non-collaborative copy of the document as a Word document or PDF attachment via Outlook by clicking the “Send a Copy” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane. Then select either “Word Document” or “PDF” from the pop-up menu that appears. Your desktop version of Outlook then opens and attaches a copy of the shared document to an email, using the file type you selected. You can then send this to the recipients, as usual. Note this is not a shared document, however; they are simply sent a copy of the document.

Stop Sharing Documents in Word or Change Sharing

            To stop sharing a document or change its sharing settings, open the “Send Link” pane again by clicking the “Share” button at the right end of the Ribbon. To add more users, repeat the sharing process again. To remove users from sharing the document, click the ellipsis mark button to the right of the “Send Link” label in the pane. Then select the “Manage Access” command from the pop-up menu that appears to change the pane into the “Manage Access” pane. Any users given access or links created for sharing then appear in a list within this pane.

            To remove a link, click the ellipsis mark button to the right of the link to see its link options. Then click the “x” button to the right of the link to delete it. Then click the “Delete link” button in the confirmation message box that appears to confirm the link’s deletion. Alternatively, note that you can also click the “Back” arrow button in the upper-left corner of the “Manage Access” pane if you want to return to the “Send Link” pane again without making any changes.

            After you finish co-authoring the Word document, if needed, you can then save a local copy of the shared document to your computer by clicking the “File” tab in the Ribbon and selecting the “Save a copy” command from the left side of the Backstage view. After confirming you have saved the copy, you can then safely delete the file from its shared network or online location, if needed.

Share Documents in Word: Instructions

How to Share Documents in Word Using Co-authoring

  1. To use co-authoring in Word, you must also save the shared document to an online site like OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online.
  2. To share a document using co-authoring in Word as part of Office 365 if you haven’t yet saved the document online, open the document to share.
  3. Then click the “Share” button in the upper-right corner of the Ribbon to open a “Share” pane, which lists the connected online OneDrive and SharePoint sites to which you can share the document.
  4. Click the desired choice in the “Share” pane to upload a copy of the document to that site.
  5. After doing that, the “Share” pane then turns into the “Send Link” pane.
  6. Alternatively, if you clicked the “Share” button within a document you had already saved online, then the “Send Link” pane appears right away, instead.
  7. The “Send Link” pane lets you choose the users to invite to co-author the document via a link you send to their email addresses.
  8. By default, Word wants to send a link that lets anyone with the link edit the document.
  9. To configure this link, click the “Anyone with this link can edit >” button in the “Send Link” pane to change it into the “Link settings” pane.
  10. Then click the button that shows the users with whom you want to share the link. Choices include “Anyone with the link,” “People in (Your Organization’s Name) with the link,” “People with existing access,” or “Specific people.”
  11. For most choices, to choose whether or not to also allow editing access, if desired, you can also check or uncheck the “Allow editing” checkbox at the bottom of the pane.
  12. You must allow editing access if you want users to co-author the document with you. Otherwise, they can only read the document, but not edit it.
  13. To block downloading, too, if you uncheck the “Allow editing” checkbox for many sharing choices, enable the “Block download” switch by clicking it.
  14. To select an expiration date for the sharing link, if desired and if you select the “Anyone with the link” option, click into the “Set expiration date” field at the bottom of this pane and set the desired date.
  15. To password protect the document file if you choose the “Anyone with the link” option, click into the “Set password” field and then type the desired file password. Note that you will need to provide this password to anyone with this link so they can access the file.
  16. After changing your link settings, click the “Apply” button to continue and return to the “Send Link” pane again.
  17. Then enter the users’ names or email addresses, as needed, into the “Enter a name or email address” field, which is above the blue line in this pane.
  18. Then select the names from the drop-down that appears to add them to the list.
  19. Repeat steps #17 and #18 until you have added all the users with whom to share the document.
  20. To enter an optional message within the email, type it into the “Add a message (optional)” field.
  21. To then email the invitations, click the “Send” button in the “Send Link” pane.
  22. Then click the “x” button in the upper-right corner of the confirmation message box that appears to tell you the email is sent.

Share Documents in Word Using a Link

  1. Alternatively, to instead get a sharing link to either view or edit the shared document, which you can then send to other users in emails or other kinds of messaging apps, edit the sharing link settings, as shown in the instructions above.
  2. Then click the “Copy link” button instead of the “Send” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane.
  3. The link is then copied and appears within a “Link to (Document Name) copied” pane.
  4. To copy the link to your clipboard, if needed, click the link’s adjacent “Copy” button.
  5. You can then send the link to your desired recipients using whatever application you want.
  6. Then click the “x” button in the upper-right corner of the “Link to (Document Name) copied” pane to close it, when finished.
  7. Alternatively, to send the link via your desktop Outlook application, if available, edit the link settings, as shown in the instructions above.
  8. Then click the “Outlook” button instead of the “Send” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane.
  9. Your desktop version of Outlook then opens and creates an email with the link that you can send to the recipients.
  10. To share a non-collaborative copy of the document as a Word document or PDF attachment via Outlook, click the “Send a Copy” button at the bottom of the “Send Link” pane.
  11. Then select either “Word Document” or “PDF” from the pop-up menu that appears.
  12. Your desktop version of Outlook then opens and attaches a copy of the shared document to an email, using the file type you selected.
  13. You can then send this to the recipients, as usual.
  14. Note that this is not a shared document, however, and they are simply being sent a copy of the document.

Stop Sharing Documents in Word or Change Sharing

  1. To stop sharing a document or change its sharing settings, open the “Send Link” pane again by clicking the “Share” button at the right end of the Ribbon.
  2. To add more users, repeat the sharing process again.
  3. To remove users from sharing the document, click the ellipsis mark button to the right of the “Send Link” label in the pane.
  4. Then select the “Manage Access” command from the pop-up menu that appears to change the pane into the “Manage Access” pane.
  5. Any users given access or links created for sharing then appear in a list within this pane.
  6. To remove a link, click the ellipsis mark button to the right of the link to see its link options.
  7. Then click the “x” button to the right of the link to delete it.
  8. Then click the “Delete link” button in the confirmation message box that appears to confirm the link’s deletion.
  9. Alternatively, to return to the “Send Link” pane again without making any changes, note that you can also click the “Back” arrow button in the upper-left corner of the “Manage Access” pane if you want.
  10. To save a local copy of the shared document to your computer after you finish co-authoring the Word document, if needed, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon.
  11. Then select the “Save a copy” command from the left side of the Backstage view.
  12. After confirming you have saved the copy, you can then safely delete the file from its shared network or online location, if needed.

Share Documents in Word: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Sharing Documents in Word Using Co-authoring,” shows you how to share documents in Word. This video lesson is from our complete Word tutorial, titled “Mastering Word Made Easy v.2019 and 365.”

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