Troubleshooting: Can’t share files with external users in Microsoft Teams

In Microsoft Teams, you will of course find yourself frequently sharing files and documents with users that are within your workspace. Sometimes though, you may need or wish to share a file with an external user. If you do, please continue reading our blog on how to share files with external users in Microsoft Teams.

Now, the issue with this question is that there isn’t yet a way to actually do this. Currently, Teams only allows sharing within teams and channels, which means that sharing files with external users is impossible.

Before you click off of the article in frustration, though, please bear with me. Whilst external user sharing within Teams isn’t a native feature, there are certain aspects of Teams, as well as Microsoft SharePoint, that may assist you in sharing files with external users, and it is these things that will be discussed today.

So, this article will first look at Microsoft Teams, and the closest you can get to sharing files with external users. Following that, we will look at Microsoft SharePoint, in which you may have the best chance of sharing a file with external users.

With both processes, there will first be a step-by-step for each. Following that, as is the case with every blog, there will be a more thorough analysis, bolstered with accompanying screenshots to serve as visual aids.

DISCLAIMER: In order to follow these steps, you will need to have access to the Microsoft Admin center and, therefore, be a global admin. If you aren’t, but wish to be, then your best way to pursue this would be to get into contact with your provider


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Step by step: How to access external user settings on Microsoft Teams

  • Log in to your Microsoft application.
  • Access Microsoft Admin.
  • From Admin, click ‘Show All’ on the left-sided menu.
  • Here, click ‘Teams’ to access the Microsoft Teams admin center.
  • Click ‘Org-wide Settings’.
  • From its drop-down menu, click ‘External Access’.
  • Edit the settings, to the extent that best suits you. 

So, your first step will be to log in to a Microsoft application. From there, you should look to access Microsoft Admin, which can be seen via the application launcher in the top left corner of your screen.

After opening Microsoft Admin, you will be greeted with the main dashboard. On this will be a menu to your left, long-listed with certain, and specific, sections of options. At the very bottom is an option, ‘Show All’, which will display a wider array of options to you. Click it.

After this has been clicked, you should see more options available to you, as was aforementioned. Of these new choices, one should simply be titled, ‘Teams’, and that is the one you should click. It has been highlighted below, should you need the assistance.

Clicking this should bring you to the Teams admin page, and it is here that you will be able to look at the currently available external user settings. From the Teams dashboard, look to the left of the screen where, once more, there will be a list of options for you to choose from. Of all options, click ‘Org-Wide Settings’.

Clicking org-wide settings will open another drop-down menu (which I’m well aware is something of a theme throughout this blog piece). Of the new set of options you have, you should click ‘External Access’.

After clicking ‘External access’, you will be shown the current alterable settings with regard to sharing files with external users. As you’ll deduce, it really isn’t much, but there may be something there that will prove useful to you.

Again though, there isn’t much, if anything, for you to work with here. Perhaps they will assist some of you in resolving any issues you may be having. Otherwise, this blog will now look at a second process for sharing files with external users, which is done through Microsoft SharePoint.

Again, not only will there be a step-by-step guide on how to complete the process, but the method will then be expanding on with a more detailed walkthrough with accompanying screenshots.

DISCLAIMER: In order to follow these steps, you will need to have access to Microsoft Admin and, therefore, be a global admin. If you aren’t, but wish to be, then your best way to pursue this would be to get into contact with your provider.


Step by step: Sharing files with external users via SharePoint settings

  • Sign into a Microsoft application.
  • Access the Microsoft Admin tab via the application launcher.
  • From here, click ‘Show All’ to be displayed your options in their entirety.
  • Of your new options, select ‘SharePoint’ to access the SharePoint Admin.
  • Here, click the ‘Policies’ subsection to see another dropdown menu.
  • From here, click ‘Sharing’.
  • Edit the sliders to your liking.
  • Look at the ‘More External Settings’ section of options below this if you want to make any further changes.

So, there is a step-by-step on how to potentially allow external users to share files. Again, don’t worry if this is not enough detail for you to work with. There will now be a more detailed, more thorough walkthrough of the process, with accompanying screenshots to serve as aids throughout the method.

Your first step when following this process is to log in to one of your Microsoft applications. From here, you should look to click the application launcher in the top-left corner of the screen. Once this has opened, you will want to access Microsoft Admin, which has been highlighted below:


After opening Admin, you will be greeted with the admin center, within which are various sections of options and other such things. Of all choices available to you, you will want to look at the bottom option, the one titled ‘Show All’. Click that.

Clicking ‘Show All’ will offer you the choices of more admin centers for more, individual Microsoft Applications. Of all the applications offered to you, you need to find the ‘SharePoint’ one and click on that.

After clicking on SharePoint, you will be brought to the SharePoint admin center, from which you will be able to venture to the settings you need to access in order to alter your file sharing settings.

Of all options presented to you, you will want to click ‘Policies’, which has been highlighted below:

Clicking Policies will cause two further options to drop down. Of these, you should look to click ‘Sharing’.

Clicking this should bring you to the menu you see in the screenshot below. The highlighted section of said menu, is the part you will want to edit if you wish to change your external sharing settings.

As you’ll be able to see, the interactive section of the Sharing subheading allows you to adjust two sliders, one for SharePoint, one for OneDrive, and choose the level of permission you wish to have, going from allowing files to be shared with anyone to people only within your organisation.

You’ll notice that, just below the sliders, is a prompt for a drop down, titled ‘More external sharing settings’. Clicking this will offer you the chance to edit, well, more external settings. These include allowing guests to share files they don’t own and limiting external sharing by domain, amongst other things. In no way must you edit these, but they’re there should you want to have a look.

Scrolling down will bring you to another section of options, headed by the title ‘File and Folder links’, which can also be tailored to your preference. After editing these settings, scroll to the bottom of the screen and, to save your changes, click Save.

So, that concludes this blog. Whilst the overall question isn’t one that can be conclusively answered, this piece has shown you the closest you can get to editing external user settings within Microsoft Teams.

Not only that, but we then looked at SharePoint, and settings within it that come close to enabling external user file sharing. This is perhaps the closest you can currently get to sharing files with an external user within a Microsoft application.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! As always, if you run into any issues, or simply wish to let us know your thoughts, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

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Michael Fontana

Michael Fontana has been the managing director of telecoms and MSP Optionbox for over a decade and has worked in various telecommunication roles over the last 20 years. Michael has been involved in many exciting projects, such as co-founding telecoms and IT businesses and has now built up a team of more than 15 staff, serving over 300 clients nationwide. With a wealth of experience in IT and a passion for technology, Michael is now helping BTP to produce the highest quality guides on the internet. You can connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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