Sharing SharePoint and OneDrive Documents with LinkedIn Contacts

Easy Sharing with Your LinkedIn Connections

Office 365 Message Center notification MC175683 tells us that Microsoft is “rolling out a new feature to OneDrive, SharePoint, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel Online powered by LinkedIn to enhance the way users connect and collaborate with people outside their organization.” Sounds good, but what does it mean?

First, it’s all about first-degree LinkedIn connections. In other words, people that you have connected with because you accepted their invitation to connect or they accepted your invitation.

Second, your Office 365 tenant must be configured to support connectivity with LinkedIn. And once the tenant is configured, users must connect their Office 365 account with their LinkedIn account. If they don’t, Office 365 won’t have the rights to retrieve information about contacts from LinkedIn.

People Suggestions

With everything in place, Office 365 loads first-degree connections into the “people suggestions” list used by SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to respond to names typed in by a user when they share a document. The idea is that by including LinkedIn contacts in the suggestions list, it will be easier for Office 365 users to collaborate with those contacts.

Sharing a SharePoint Document with a LinkedIn Contact

Take the example below where I want to share a document from a SharePoint Online library. In the past, if I wanted to share it with a LinkedIn contact, I would need to know their email address to send a sharing invitation. With the LinkedIn contacts loaded into the people suggestions list, all I do is type in the first few characters of the name (in this case “Shane”) to see an integrated set of contacts built from my Office 365 tenant directory (including guest users), LinkedIn contacts, and email contacts (including the auto-complete list used by Outlook and OWA). It’s a smooth and easy experience.

Sharing a SharePoint Online document with a LinkedIn contact
Browsing Linkedin contacts in SharePoint Online’s Suggested People list

Perhaps the most important thing about the new point of integration between Office 365 and LinkedIn is that including the LinkedIn contacts in the suggested people list means that Office 365 sends the sharing invitation to their latest email address (as in their LinkedIn profile). Hopefully, contacts keep their email addresses updated, which means that there’s a higher chance that the invitation will arrive in the right place.

Sharing in Office Online Apps

The same kind of sharing works with OneDrive for Business and with the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (but not the desktop versions).

Selecting to share from a mixture of tenant users and LinkedIn contacts in Word Online
Selecting to share from a mixture of tenant users and LinkedIn contacts in Word Online

The feature is now rolling out within Office 365 and is available to targeted release users. Microsoft expects the rollout (except to Government customers) to be complete by the end of April 2019.

For more information about sharing Office 365 documents, read Chapter 8 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

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