How to block the download of shared OneDrive files

OneDrive, aside from storing files, is also a great platform for sharing them. In some cases, you may wish to share a file without permitting its recipients to download a copy. This is useful if you’d like to share something with employees, whilst minimising the risk of its redistribution to external parties. OneDrive grants you such an ability. Today we’ll teach you how to use it. 


  1. Open OneDrive online 
  2. Navigate to the file you’d like to share 
  3. Hover over the file and select share 
  4. Open share settings 
  5. Toggle on, block downloads 

In this post, we will first be discussing how you can set a file to be shareable but not downloadable, apply a password to your link and also, why you may want to instead use different or additional configurations when sharing a file. 

Quick links: 

Blocking a shared OneDrive file from being downloaded 

Please note the following steps may only be carried out on files. Do not attempt this on a folder. It will not work. 

Step 1 – Open OneDrive Online via Office 365 

  • From Office 365, access OneDrive, the cloud platform where your files are stored. While you can share some of your files from other Office applications, we intend to keep things simple (and easy to follow) for this guide. 

Step 2 – Navigate to the file you’d like to share 

  • As you can see below, we’ve accessed the folder our target file resides in. Once you’ve done the same, you can proceed to the next step. If you’re unfamiliar with OneDrive- you can access a folder by left-clicking on it. However, if you’re file is in the main directory, this won’t be necessary. 

Step 3 – Trigger the file share menu 

  • When you hover over a file you may notice an icon appear. This icon should resemble a partial box with an outbound arrow. This is the share icon. Click the share icon to trigger the file share menu and continue. 

Step 4 – Open the file sharing link options 

  • By selecting the edit icon, resembling an eraser topped pencil, you can access Link settings via the created dropdown context menu. Alternatively, you can select Anyone with the link can [insert option] to proceed to the same menu. 

Step 5 – Enable the block downloads option 

  • Before enabling the toggle, you will first need to ensure Allow editing is disabled. Whilst said option is enabled, you will be unable to interact with the Block download configuration. Lastly, be sure to click Apply after enabling the Block download toggle. 

Applying a password to a shared OneDrive file to block the download of shared OneDrive files

Unlike with blocking a download, setting a password can be done for both files and folders. As such, feel free to try it out on both. 

Step 1 – Follow steps one through four of the first guide 

  • Said options will guide you on accessing the file-sharing configuration page- from which you may set a password for your file- your recipient will not be made aware of this password; thus, you will need to inform them beforehand. 

Step 2 – Select Set password 

  • Above Block download (or at the bottom of the list if you’re sharing a file), you will find the Set password option. Click Set password to proceed. 

Step 3 – Enter a strong password 

  • When setting a strong password, we recommend you utilise lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Similarly, avoid including personal information within your password as such password are often easily guessed. Lastly, try to make your password greater than eight characters in length. An example of a strong password is: ‘!L3ftCl1ck#’ 

Step 4 – Apply your changes 

  • At the bottom of the menu, you will find two buttons, select Apply finalise your changes. 

When is one configuration needed over or with another 

Case Block download Set password Only view Specific access 
No copies should be made Yes No Yes No 
For internal use only No Yes No Yes 
Free use No No No No 
Strictly internal viewing Yes Yes Yes Yes 

End note 


OneDrive permits file sharing. When sharing files, you may ensure a greater a level of security is applied by limiting access to the file- on-top of what can actually be done to the file by those who access it. This is done by settings limits on who can receive the file, applying passwords to be entered before a shared file can be viewed and even preventing downloads- minimising the risk of content leaks. 


As usual, this section is dedicated to thanking readers for their support. We’d be pleased to know you found this post useful and/or informative. If you have any more Office 365 related queries, please consult our related articles (listed below). However, if you have other queries, consider looking at the rest of the site. We’re frequently posting new stuff each week and may just have the guide or troubleshooting tips you need. Regardless, we wish you a good day/night. Farewell readers. 

Our related articles: 

  • A complete guide to using OneDrive to transfer files to a new computer – OneDrive is a cloud storage platform offered as part of the Microsoft 365 suite. With it, your various folders and files may be stored online and downloaded for use from anywhere with an internet connection. As such, OneDrive is very useful if you’re looking to get files from one computer to another without wanting to mess around with storage devices. 
  • A complete guide to fixing OneDrive sync issues on Mac – OneDrive sometimes has issues, and many users have claimed that OneDrive isn’t synchronizing on their Mac OS devices, however, there are solutions available. In this blog, we will cover the most effective approaches to help users fix sync issues on their OneDrive devices. We will address some of the causes of why OneDrive won’t sync correctly and what users can do to help resolve these issues. Use the guide below to see how you can resolve OneDrive sync issues on Mac OS devices. 
  • How to move OneDrive for Business files between users – The question for today is how can you move OneDrive for Business files between users? What is the best approach and how will it affect users who attempt to move files across users who use our method? 
  • How to fix “access to the cloud file is denied” OneDrive error – The prevailing issue that will be addressed here is the concerns surrounding the error “Access to the cloud file is denied”. This error comes when a file a user tries to access has been denied due to an underlying fault within the file. There are multiple reasons why this can be caused — for instance, the file is not on the cloud but still showing on the Drive. 

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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