Introducing a new way to share files with Outlook Web App

Today’s post was written by Rebecca Lawler, program manager on the Outlook Web App team.

We’re thrilled to announce two new ways to share files with Outlook Web App (OWA) and OneDrive for Business that make it much simpler to share and collaborate:

  • When you send an email in OWA, you can easily insert a link to a file on your OneDrive for Business cloud drive instead of attaching the file itself.
  • When you send an attachment from your computer or device you can now automatically upload the file to your OneDrive for Business cloud drive and share the file as a link to that location.

Now when you send files to others, instead of having to open the attachment, make edits and then send the document back to you, everyone can simply open the document directly from the link and make edits in a single draft. This means the people you’re working with will always see the latest changes, and you can avoid confusion over multiple versions. It also allows multiple people to make changes to a single document at the same time using the Office clients or Office Online.

When you use OWA to share files stored on OneDrive for Business, recipients in the To: and Cc: lines automatically are given permission to view and edit the file. But it’s also easy to change the permissions on the file directly from the email message.

Here’s how it works:

The process begins when you choose to add an attachment to your message.

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The files on your OneDrive for Business are available for you to choose from, including your recent files and files that have been shared with you.

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You can also choose files from your hard drive. Once you select a file, no matter where it is currently stored, you can choose how you want to send it out—either as a link to OneDrive or as a traditional attachment.

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If you choose to attach a file currently stored on your hard drive and select Share with OneDrive, the file automatically uploads to your OneDrive for Business in a folder called Email Attachments.

When you send a file via OneDrive, the attachment appears the same as if the file was attached in the traditional manner, except there is a cloud icon within the file icon (as depicted in the PowerPoint icon in the image below), and you will see under the file title the permissions that will be granted to recipients.

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The OWA gives all recipients access to edit this file in the cloud by default, but you can also manage the permissions for each file while composing your message.

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When people receive your message, the shared file looks just like any other attachment. Here’s how the cloud attachment looks to recipients in OWA.

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When files shared with OneDrive for Business are viewed in a client besides OWA, the recipient will see a tile for that file in the body of the message.

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Either way, the recipient simply clicks the attachment to open it.

Sending files in this way is simple and easy. OWA for devices also fully supports this new OneDrive integration, so you get these benefits on iPhone, iPad and Android phone. For those of you on the run and accessing your email from your phone, you now have easy access to all your OneDrive for Business docs when sending messages, so it’s easy to include them in your messages, no matter where you are.

This is the latest in a series of enhancements we’ve made to the document collaboration experience in OWA for Office 365 users, such as improvements we rolled out a few months ago that make it easier to edit and reply to documents you receive.

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Collaborating with OneDrive for Business attachments

Let’s look closer at how collaboration with documents gets better with this new OneDrive integration. With OneDrive for Business, you can do real time co-authoring using Office Online in the side-by-side view in OWA. Since the file is stored in the cloud, all recipients can make changes to the document at the same time without creating multiple copies of the file.

When you receive a message that contains a OneDrive file as an attachment, simply click it to go to the new Side-by-Side view.

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You can now edit the file directly in the Side-by-Side view. Just click EDIT AND REPLY to modify the file. This allows the file to be opened in the edit mode so that you can both edit the file and reply with an email message.

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Collaborating on attachments in email has never been easier. With OneDrive files, you can do real time co-authoring using Office Online in this side-by-side view from OWA. Since the file is stored in OneDrive, all recipients can make changes to the document at the same time without creating multiple copies of the file.

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You can also choose to open up the document in the Office clients without losing any of the benefits of using OneDrive. You’ll still be able edit the live version of the doc at the same time as your teammates. No matter how you choose to collaborate, OWA makes the process easy and intuitive.

 

Frequently asked questions

Q. When can I start to use these new features?

A. We have already started rolling out these new features to some Office 365 customers and is expected to be fully available by November.

Q. If I send a file shared on OneDrive to someone and they forward the message onto someone else, will that person automatically get access to the file?

A. When the forwarded message is sent using OWA, the new recipients are automatically granted access to the file.

Q. Will this feature be supported in Outlook client as well?

A. Currently, this OneDrive for Business integration is available in OWA, OWA for iPhone/iPad and OWA for Android phone (pre-release). We are working to bring it to the Outlook desktop client in a future version.

Q. What happens if a send a file stored on OneDrive for Business to someone outside of my organization?

A. The person outside your organization receives two emails: the email you sent with the OneDrive for Business attachment (which could include other people), and a guest invitation email, if this is the first time they’ve had someone in your organization share with them. They’ll need to click the guest invitation link and sign in with a Microsoft account (or create one) first and then they’ll be good to go.

Q. Does sharing a OneDrive file work with a distribution list?

A. OWA automatically grants permissions to distribution lists with less than 100 members.