Sharing Content in SharePoint 2013

This blog post is about Sharing Content and how they work in SharePoint 2013. There are a few assumptions that you should note before you get started:

  1. The environment I am using is an on-premise installation (read this as NOT Office 365, this is important only because my blog does not include information about External Users, which is an Office 365 feature)
  2. Email has been configured for the Farm within Central Admin (this is important because if email has not been configured you will likely have some errors about permissions to do things and won’t see the same menu options)

In most environments your system administrators will take care of the two assumptions that are listed above and you will only have to worry about the details below this note. I only includes the notes in case you run into issues following blog. You can use the notes to work with your admin to get your environment configured differently.

Goal: To allow Users without Admin Permissions to Share Content with Other Users

The goal of our configuration changes is to allow for users to be able to easily share their site content with other users. When a user who doesn’t have the ability to manage permissions for a site shares the sites with another user, the request is first routed to the admin for approval. This allows us to empower our users to work naturally with their content, but still allows us to govern and control how the permissions are managed.

This approach allows the Non-Admin users to easily make access requests, without really having to understand how the process works. They are able to just use the Share options and simply share the content with the users that they want to work with. Training is simplified and ease of use is greatly enhanced.

Configuring Access Requests

First thing you want to do is to ensure that the site is configured to allow for Access Requests. From the Site Settings page, click on the option for Site permissions:

In the Ribbon, click the option for Access Request Settings:

On this page, ensure that the email loaded is the email that you want to use to manage Access Requests for the site. This is the email that will be used as a notification when a new request for sharing has been created.

Sharing Requests

The person who wants to share the data uses the “Share” option and enters in the information and message to the person they want to share the content with.

The Administrator (email address configured from above) gets an email letting them know a Sharing request has been made.

The admin can click the link in the email to access the page that lets them Approve or Reject the request. Once they act on the item, it will be stored in the history list so that it can be referenced later.

If the Admin Accepts the request, the user who shared the content is notified and the user that the content is shared with gets the original email that was created by the requestor.

If the Admin denies the request, then the requestor is sent an email that lets them know that the request has been denied and invites them to try again.

By configuring Access Requests for your site, you open a whole new set of ways for users to easily work with content. In our day to day tasks it is natural to share content with others. With these new Sharing features this activity can happen naturally without having to understand how the permissions are configured for the site. We can Share and then rely on our admins to validate the requests. Since Admins can approve or deny requests we can easily rely on them to implement the required governance for the site. This feature allows us to have freedom to share content without the fear that we may do it wrong and mess up permissions for the site or item.

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