Custom Help link: External Sharing in Microsoft 365

Reading Time: 2 minutes

External sharing in Microsoft 365 is a big part of the collaboration story for organizations these days. Having your external sharing policies set up “right” is an evolving process. IT Admin and compliance teams must be vigilant in striking a balance between security, compliance and usability.

Ensuring end-users understand what your external sharing policies are along the way is paramount to its success.


There are 2 steps I recommend you do immediately to accomplish this, the second building off the first:

Step 1: Create a Governance Site

Set up a Governance site where you can communicate all things security and compliance FROM AN END-USER’S PERSPECTIVE. Don’t put content in Records Manager or Security Expert speak… make it real. Give tangible and relatable examples so end-users understand. The advantage of having the guidance on a modern page is it’s really easy to update as your back-end policies change (and they will) as your Microsoft 365 governance matures over time (and it should be).

In the SharePoint Communication site built below, you can see examples of the types of content you may want to have on your site based on the navigation. The item circled in yellow is what we’ll link to in Step 2.


Step 2: Configure a Custom Help Link for External Sharing

Once you have your guidance documented, let’s link to it! The best place for documentation is in-the-moment while end-users are doing the activity you want to help with. You can provide a custom Learn more link while an end-user is attempting to share something externally and they receive an error message (image). This is an opportunity for you to link back to your organizational documentation on your external sharing policy so they understand why they are unable to share.

For example, if I have blocked a domain as part of the external sharing configuration in the back-end (fabrikam.com in this example) and an end-user attempts to share a document with someone from that blocked domain, they will receive an error message in the Send link dialog (image).

It’s a quick line of PowerShell to add “To learn more, click here” at the end of the error. Let’s do it!

Set-SPOTenantCustomizedExternalSharingServiceUrl “<policy link url>”

Here’s what it looks like in action: (if the video won’t play, try this direct link)

A simple, yet effective addition for your end-users.

Thanks for reading.

-JCK


Credit: Photo by Adrienne Andersen from Pexels

12 comments

  1. Great post Joanne! Where can I get that SharePoint Governance Center Site as a template? I didn’t see it as a template in the SharePoint Look Book website.

    1. Hi Rich, it’s not a template. I made it from scratch using out-of-box web parts to suit what I see as M365 governance needs in an org.
      -JCK

      1. Ok. Is that something you would be willing to save as a template and share? I’m not good at putting those together from scratch. I thought about modifying one from the SharePoint Look Book but I don’t know what links and menus to add.

      2. Hi Rich, I think instead of that it would be easier for me to write a post giving ideas for the links, menus, and pages. Would you find that helpful?

      3. Thank you Joanne for the replies. Yes I would find that very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that. Much appreciated.

  2. Hi Joanne. I’m sure you’ve been busy and I’m just following up to see if you have given any more thought to writing a blog post on creating a SharePoint Governance Center for those of us that don’t have webpage creation skills and need templates.

      1. Thank you Joanne. Looks nicely detailed. I’m sure it will be very helpful! Thank you for taking the time to write it. 🙂

Leave a Reply to ghusman Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.