Productivity and collaboration are critically important to each other in the day-to-day conduct of business at any enterprise organization. As the world shifted to a work-from-home posture as office buildings closed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to share content securely and efficiently quickly became vital to many work processes.
Existing content sharing tools helped colleagues collaborate across organizations but there was room for improvement. In response to the conflicting and equally enterprise-critical demands of collaboration and security, Microsoft will roll out a series of updates to the Microsoft 365 productivity and collaboration suite to make those content sharing tools even more robust.
Microsoft’s Ankita Kirti shared details of the new collaboration and productivity content sharing tools on the official Microsoft OneDrive blog and shared why the company is investing in this area of Microsoft 365.
“Collaboration is a critical part of virtual work and we have seen firsthand that the way people work together has fundamentally changed over the past year,” Kirti said.
She went on to add, “The Share dialog appears in more than 40 areas of Microsoft 365 and is accessed about 400 million times a month.”
According to Kirti, the enhancements and updates to sharing across Microsoft 365 are intended to create a more intuitive process for customers.
The company has identified five key areas they will be focusing on for these sharing updates:
- A simpler method for modifying link permissions for viewing, commenting, or editing files.
- A better sharing process for colleagues outside of an organization.
- A more concise and informative display of who has been granted access to files.
- Boosting user awareness of in-app sharing features and encouraging users to share without leaving the app.
- Adding sharing directly inside of Microsoft Teams without leaving the app.
This will not be a series of updates that will arrive quickly in the next few weeks. Microsoft intends to use an incremental, data-driven approach for shipping these updates. The slow rollout will allow the company to closely monitor the usage and feedback of the enhancements to validate that the changes are having their intended effect – improving the sharing of documents across an organization.
There are mock-ups of all the new sharing dialogs Microsoft plans to ship. Of course, some of these are pre-release concepts and could change as the new content sharing tools and processes are developed. Here's a rundown of the new sharing tools and features coming to Microsoft 365.
Once selected, the quick permission dialog allows users to enter recipients by name or email address, then select their permission level for the shared item. This is a change from the existing process, which requires additional steps for users to verify that shared links are not shared with default permissions that might not be correct. This dialog will also have a link to provide deeper control of sharing permissions.
Quick permissions and Link settings are available now.
Currently, if someone wants to generate a link to share, any and all access permissions are coded into the link’s sequence. So if the person wants to change those permissions for one person, they have to generate a new link for everyone to access.
The new sharing process will enable the link-sharing users to change permissions for other individuals while still preserving the original sharing link.
Copy link will roll out later in 2021.
Shared with & Manage Access
Continuing the concept of making more information about shared documents more accessible, this update to the sharing dialog will show immediately who the item has been shared with through the visual indicator of their avatar at the bottom of the dialog.
Shared with and Manage Access will roll out later this year.
Share Menu Dropdown
Most Microsoft and Office 365 apps and services have a share button incorporated into the software. The new updated drop-down sharing menu provides a richer contextual menu which will highlight all the sharing options available for that document.
Included in this dialog will be options for sharing to email, copying the link to be shared, or sharing directly into Microsoft Teams.
Share menu dropdown will roll out later this year.
Those are some of the new content sharing tools and features coming to Microsoft 365.