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How to Use OneDrive for Business to Request Files Securely

Have you ever needed other people to upload files directly to your OneDrive? Obviously, you could share an entire folder with them, but what if you didn’t want them to see the existing contents of the folder? For example, sometimes it isn’t always appropriate for everyone to view certain files (HR documents, certain forms/requests/paperwork, photo contest submissions, award nominations, etc.).

What if instead it is as simple as sending them a link to use so they can upload files only? The Request files feature in OneDrive can come in particularly handy in this case. 

There may be many times and for a variety of reasons that requesting files from others makes a lot of sense.  For example:

•  Vendors could upload completed Request for Proposals (RFPs) for consideration

•  Students could upload completed essays or assignments for grading

•  Individuals outside of your organization could upload files for a project

•  Co-presenters could upload their presentation slides

 

How to request files

In the following example scenario, Alex Wilber (a fictitious account) is requesting files be uploaded for a special project. These are the steps he will follow:

1. In Alex’s OneDrive, he selects the folder where he wants the files to be uploaded, and then he clicks Requests files.

2. Alex then enters a descriptive name for the files he is requesting from others (they will see whatever he chooses) and then clicks Next.

3. Alex can now select Copy link to copy the request link and send it to anyone he would like to request files from. Alternatively, Alex could enter the email addresses of the people he wants to request files from and an optional message that will be included in the email that OneDrive sends to them.

4. Once Alex clicks Done to finish, a confirmation message will appear.

 

How to submit files

If Alex chooses to email (instead of simply sharing the link), the email that recipients will get will look something like this:

When recipients click the Upload Files button in the email (or open the shared link), they’ll see:

Here are the steps someone would take to then submit files for Alex:

1. Click Select files, browse to the appropriate folder, and select a file for the request. If you need to add additional files, select Add more files.

NOTE: If the recipient is signed in when responding to the request, their identity is automatically recorded as part of the upload.  If not, the recipient will be asked to add a first name and last name to help the requestor identify the different files uploaded.

2. When all the requested files have been selected, click Upload.

3. A notification will appear indicating the files have been successfully uploaded.

 

managing uploads and the request folder

Alex will receive a notification email whenever someone uploads files to his file request folder.  Notice that it added the first and last name of the person submitting the file to the file name.

If Alex wants to edit the descriptive name of the file request, he can select the folder, and select Request files again, then change the name. The people to whom he sent the request will see the new name when they upload files.

To stop requesting files, Alex can select the folder in OneDrive, click the ellipses, select Manage Access, click the ellipses next to the link for more options, and then delete the file request link by clicking the X next to the link.

 

conclusion

Some other important things to know:

•  While it is super easy to use, the Request files feature is only available for OneDrive for work or school accounts and your admin must enable Anyone links in OneDrive

•  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. This is what makes this feature different than sharing an entire folder.

•  Anyone with the file request link can send you a file; they don’t need to have OneDrive.

•  All the files sent to you are saved in a single folder that you choose.

•  Every file will have a prefix to help you identify who uploaded it.

•  If two files with the same name are uploaded, OneDrive will automatically add a number to the name of the second file. 

 

What ideas do you have for using the Request files feature in OneDrive? Share them here.

If you’d like to dive deeper into OneDrive or Microsoft 365, sign up for a training class at Centriq.

View Centriq’s Microsoft 365 Training Classes

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