Highlighting Who Already Has Access to Shared Information
Message center notification MC263839 (updated August 6 – Microsoft 365 roadmap item 83725) is all about new “Shared with” information which now appears on the control used to create sharing links. Well, it will when the roll-out completes in mid-August. Although tagged for OneDrive for Business, this change applies to both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.
The idea is that the control now lists the set of people whom a file, folder, or list is already shared with so that owners know (at a glance – if they bother) how many people already have access and who they are.
Viewing Sharing Information in Different Circumstances
Showing sharing information works better in some situations than others. For example, if you share a file from a site owned by a Microsoft 365 group (or team), the set of sharing information includes:
- The group
- Group owners
- Group members
- Group visitors
It seems like this information could be filtered so that only the group is shown. The full set (Figure 1) doesn’t add value as the three entries (for SharePoint groups used to manage access) are defunct in the context of a group-connected site.
The information is more valuable when sharing a file from a site that isn’t connected to a group or OneDrive for Business. For instance, Figure 2 shows that a file is shared with 2 sharing links plus five specific users (tenant and guest accounts). Although you can mouse over an avatar to see who has access, it’s obviously better if the tenant and guest accounts have photos as this allows the sharing dialog to include thumbnails for each person.
Several tests showed that up to six entries can appear in the dialog. If more people have access, you’ll see an ellipsis choice to go to the Manage Access menu to view full details of the existing sharing.
The mock-up used in MC263839 (Figure 3) uses larger thumbnails. It’s an interesting insight into the design decisions that must be taken to settle on the final look and feel for user interfaces.
Making Sharing More Transparent
This change is another to build out capabilities in the sharing control to make it more powerful and useful. Although some will probably say that it’s just window dressing or eye candy, I rather like seeing the set of people with access to a file, folder, or list highlighted in this manner. It’s the small things that often have the biggest impact!
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