How to use the “Request Files” feature in SharePoint Online?

SharePoint is a powerful collaboration and document management platform that enables teams to store, organize, share, and access files. The “Request Files” feature in SharePoint allows you to ask others to upload files into a specific folder you own. This feature is designed to make sharing and collecting files easier, especially when dealing with multiple files or large files. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the basics of requesting files in SharePoint that you need to collect documents from colleagues, clients, or external partners.

How to Enable Request Files in SharePoint Online?

To enable the Request Files feature, we need to ensure that the “Anyone” sharing setting is enabled in your SharePoint Online tenant. This setting allows people to create links with Anyone and request external users to upload files. Additionally, the permissions for the Folder link must include upload access.

  1. Login to SharePoint Admin Center, Click on Sharing >> Policies >> Check the External sharing setting is set to “Anyone”. Ensure this setting flows to the site collection as well.
    enable anyone external sharing settings
  2. On the “Sharing” page, scroll down and set Anyone links permission for Folders to “View, edit, and upload”.
    sharepoint anyone link folder permissions

Please note that the “Anyone” sharing setting is required just for SharePoint, and you can still have any lower levels, such as “New and existing guests”, for OneDrive and have this feature enabled for OneDrive as well. Also, the file request feature is only available for SharePoint Online or OneDrive for work or school accounts in Microsoft 365.

PowerShell to Enable “Request Files” in SharePoint Online

Not getting the “Request Files” option, even after setting the External sharing policy to “Anyone” and Anyone links permission for Folder to “View, edit and upload”? Well, Here is the PowerShell script to enable the request files feature at the tenant and site levels.

#Connect to Admin Center
Connect-SPOService -Url https://Crescent-admin.sharepoint.com

#Check if "Request Files" is Enabled for SharePoint
Get-SPOTenant | Select CoreRequestFilesLinkEnabled

#Enable Request Files Feature in SharePoint Tenant
Set-SPOTenant -CoreRequestFilesLinkEnabled $True

You can also enable or disable the request files feature at the site level:

#Connect to Admin Center
Connect-SPOService -Url https://Crescent-admin.sharepoint.com

#Enable Request Files for the site
$SiteURL = "https://crescent.sharepoint.com/sites/operations"

#Check if "Request Files" feature is Enabled
Get-SPOSite -Identity $SiteURL | select RequestFilesLinkEnabled

#Activate Request Files
Set-SPOSite -Identity $SiteURL  -RequestFIlesLinkEnabled $True

How to use the Request Files Feature in SharePoint Online?

The Request Files feature in SharePoint Online allows users to ask external people to upload files to a specific folder in a document library. This feature provides an easy and secure way to obtain files from anyone. Imagine you work in a law firm, and you need to collect signed contracts and legal documents from clients. Instead of sending multiple emails and reminders, you can use “Request Files” to streamline the process. Set up a request, send it to clients, and effortlessly collect all necessary files in one secure location.

To initiate the Request Files process, a user selects a target folder in a document library and chooses the Request Files option from the menu. SharePoint Online then generates a Request Files link, which the user can share with the individuals who have the desired files.

Here are the steps to use the “Request Files” feature:

  1. Log in to your SharePoint site, Navigate to the SharePoint folder where you want the files to be uploaded.
  2. Click the “Request Files” button from the toolbar. (You can also right-click on the folder and choose “Request Files” from the menu.)
    request files in sharepoint
  3. You will be asked to specify who you’re requesting files from. You can enter their email addresses here.
    request files feature in sharepoint online
  4. An optional message can be added to provide further instructions or information about the files you’re requesting. Click “Send” to send the file request.

You will get a confirmation message that the email has been sent.

Upload Files as Recipient

The recipients will receive an email with your request and a link to upload the files. They won’t need a Microsoft account to upload files, and they won’t be able to see the contents of your folder, ensuring privacy and security. They will only be able to upload files.

  1. The recipient will receive an email with a link to upload files. They simply need to click on the button in the email to proceed.
    request files email notification
  2. On clicking the link, they’ll be taken to a page where they can select files and upload.
    sharepoint request files select files to upload
  3. They can select files to upload. They can also provide their first and last names for identification purposes.
    request files upload files to sharepoint online

The files will be automatically named with the name of the person who uploaded the file for easy organization. People you request files from can only upload files; they can’t see the content of the folder, edit, delete, or download files, or even see who else has uploaded files.

Once the files are uploaded by the recipient, the requester gets an email saying, “New files were uploaded”.

How to stop sharing the Folder with External users?

The request files feature uses the Folder-level sharing to enable an external user to upload files. To stop sharing the folder, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the document library/parent folder where the shared folder is located
  2. Right-click on the Folder and choose “Manage Access”.
    stop sharing a folder in sharepoint online
  3. Click on the little three dots in the top-right corner and choose “Advanced Properties”.
    stop folder sharing sharepoint
  4. Select the External user to remove from the Folder >> Click on “Remove User Permissions”.
    remove user permissions

How to Disable the Request Files Feature?

If you do not want File Requests to appear on SharePoint sites, you can opt-out by running the following SharePoint Online management shell command:

Set-SPOTenant -CoreRequestFilesLinkEnabled $False

Setting the external sharing settings to anything other than “Anyone” also disables the request files feature for the Office 365 tenant.

By default, The expiration for “Request Files” links in SharePoint is 30 days. You can customize it with the below cmdlet:

Set-SPOTenant -CoreRequestFilesLinkEnabled $True –CoreRequestFilesLinkExpirationInDays 7

Wrapping up

The “Request Files” feature in SharePoint is a game-changer for organizations looking to streamline file collection and collaboration processes. It provides a convenient way to collect files from users, both internally and externally, while maintaining security and control within your SharePoint site. So, go ahead, explore, and implement the “Request Files” feature in your SharePoint environment, and experience the benefits firsthand.

The Request Files feature is also available in OneDrive for Business. Refer: How to use the “Request Files” feature on OneDrive for Business?

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

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