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Link to a File in Microsoft Teams

How to link to a file in Microsoft Teams Channels – without duplication

Have you noticed, when you share a file in Teams it creates a duplicate of that file and drops it into the relevant folder for the Teams channel? Yes, I found that annoying too! Duplicates are not only frustrating but can be dangerous if you are working from two or more copies causing issues with outdated copies. If only there was a way to link to a file in Microsoft Teams – well, read on!

Microsoft Office 365 is made so everyone in your organisation has access to the tools and documents they need, so no more need for emailing documents to each other when you all have access to the same file structure.

Teams is always changing and improving, so if a feature isn’t there when you look first time it may be there the next. Keep an eye on their UserVoice to voice your feature requests and keep an eye on others.

When you share a file in Teams the conventional way, for example, you drag and drop an Excel file into a new conversation in your Teams channel it will save that file in the channel’s folder on SharePoint. This would be handy if let’s say you were working on the spreadsheet in your own OneDrive and you wanted to share it with your team as no one would have had prior access to it other than you, however, what happens if you want to refer your team to this file and it is stored on SharePoint? If you share it using the method above you will end up with a copy in the file’s original location and a duplicate copy in the channel folder.

The way to get around causing a duplicated file is to link to a file in Microsoft Teams instead, but there is a little bit of setting up to do first. Once it’s done you do not have to do it again.

For the sake of this example I want to share a link to a spredsheet called ‘Marketing Project Budget 2021’. This file is in a folder we created at an earlier time and I want to refer the rest of the team to that file rather than create a duplicate.

Firstly, I’ll go through step by step instructions to add a link to the SharePoint document Library. Secondly, I’ll provide a set of instructions explaining how to share a link to the file in the channel.

Linking to the SharePoint Document Library

Step one

Open Microsoft Teams (I’m using the desktop version on Windows 10). Find the Team in which you would like to link to a file. In this instance I will be heading to the General channel in my Marketing Team.

Step two

Click on the channel name and this will open the channel in the space to the right. You will see the following at the top of the channel space:

Step three

Click on the tab names ‘Files’ and the click on ‘+ Add cloud storage’:

Step four

Click on the ‘SharePoint’ option:

Step five

At this stage you will either see your SharePoint document library in the list or you won’t, don’t worry if you don’t, there is a way around that.

If you see the SharePoint document library in the list then click it and proceed directly to Step ten.

If you don’t see your SharePoint document library in the list click ‘Use a SharePoint link’:

Step six

Head over to SharePoint online, open your SharePoint site and clik on ‘Documents’:

Step seven

Copy the whole URL in your browser’s address bar.

Step eight

Head back to where you left Teams in Step five and paste the URL you copied in the previous step into the field labelled “Library Url’ and click ‘Go’:

Step nine

Your SharePoint document library will appear below. Make sure it is selected (in blue) and click ‘Next’:

Step ten

The root folder of your SharePoint document library will be shown on the next page. Select the ‘Documents’ folder and click ‘Next’:

Step eleven

Now click ‘Add folder’:

Step twelve

You will now see a linked folder appear in the Files tab of your Teams channel:

Now that we have added the folder structure of our SharePoint document library to Teams we can now share a link to a file in Microsoft Teams.

Sharing a link to a file in Microsoft Teams channel

Step one

Head to the channel in Teams:

Step two

Make sure ‘Posts’ is selected at the top of the channel:

Step three

Start a new conversation:

Step four

Click on the paperclip ‘Attach’ symbol:

Step five

Click ‘Browse Teams and Channels’:

Step six

Here you can now see the ‘SharePoint document library’ we set up in the previous step by step. Click on your document library:

Step seven

You will now see the folder structure you have set up yourself. Navigate to the file you would like to share, highlight the file by clicking on it, then click ‘Share a link’:

Step eight

The link has now been attached to the conversation editor. Add a message and click the send arrow:

A link to your file has now been shared with your team and now you can collaborate without creating a duplicate.

I hope this has helped. Let me know how you got on in the comments below! If you have a question ask in a comment or contact us.

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