How to share files in Microsoft Teams

File sharing is a key part of remote collaboration. Here’s how to improve your ability to get work done together by sharing items in Microsoft Teams.


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If you’re using Microsoft Teams to collaborate with coworkers while working from home, there’s one thing you definitely need to be able to do: Share files. 

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Working effectively while remote in the modern world requires the ability to share documents with ease, and luckily Microsoft Teams does just that. There are still a couple of sticking points that can leave you scratching your head, so if you’re worried about being able to effectively share files in Teams, or you’ve encountered problems, this guide is for you.

SEE: Microsoft 365: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Sharing files in Teams

The first thing to know is where to find the buttons to share content: If you’re on the Teams channel screen, look below the message entry field at the bottom of the screen for the paperclip icon (Figure A). 

Figure A


Where to find the file sharing button in Teams.

When you click on the Share icon, as shown in Figure A, you’ll see a list of several items. By default you have the ability to upload files from your local machine, link or upload files from OneDrive, and share content from other Teams channels or messages. In addition to the default share options, any cloud services you’ve linked to Teams will display for sharing as well. 

When you choose where you want to share from and click on it, the appropriate window will open: If it’s a direct upload from your computer it will look like an Explorer or Finder window, and for all sources inside Teams (other channels, messages, or linked cloud services) a window like the one shown in Figure B will appear. 

Figure B


The internal Microsoft Teams browser for sharing files.

Here you can navigate to the file you want to share, select it, and choose one of two options: Either to upload a copy, or share a link to the document. Here’s where the biggest sticking point in sharing files in Teams crops up: You can’t necessarily upload a copy of all types of files. 

Files that are native to a cloud service, like a Google Doc in Google Drive, will fail to copy: There’s not a downloadable file that retains the Google Docs file format—it’s designed to live in the cloud, and downloading it requires making a separate copy as a PDF, DOC, or other file type, and all you can do in this case is choose Share a Link. 

Other file types, like images, DOC files, Excel spreadsheets, and other files that exist as locally stored data, can be uploaded to Teams using the Upload a Copy option. 

Once you’ve chosen the option appropriate to the file type you want to share, the file name will appear in the field where you type messages to your Teams channel. You can add a message along with the file, or just hit enter, and the message with the shared file (or link) will appear in the channel for all members to see and access (Figure C).

Figure C


What you’ll see once a file has been shared.

Files that you upload and share can also be found in the Files tab of Teams in the Microsoft Teams document view (Figure D). This is a great spot to get a handle on all the documents that have been uploaded and shared with coworkers, but just note that documents shared as a link won’t appear here—only ones that have been uploaded to your Teams cloud storage site.

Figure D


The shared file view in the Microsoft Teams Files tab.

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