Share Links


Files.com allows you to easily share files and folders with third parties via publicly accessible Share Links. Administrators maintain full control over which users have access to sharing features, as well as how long Share Links will last before expiring.

The Files.com Share Link provides a virtual read-only, dynamic access point to select files and folders stored on your site.

While other share systems are usually static snapshots of files at the point of the share creation, Files.com Share Links remain dynamic. If you make changes to a file, this change is automatically reflected in all Share Links that include that file. If you add a file to a folder being shared, the new file is automatically added. This makes the Files.com share a much more powerful tool, and an effective alternative to sending files via email.

Administrators have powerful controls over all Share Links in their account.

Want to limit the amount of time that a Share Link is publicly available? No problem - the lifetime of each Share Link is completely customizable via the expiration option. Some users set this to the minimum of 1 day, while others opt for ultra long-term share access.

Want to allow users to assign a friendly name to a shared link rather than a unique system generated ID? You can allow this by enabling the setting Allow Share Links to use custom URLs. Doing so will allow users to replace the auto-assigned ID with a friendly name, however note that such friendly name can also pose a security risk, such names can potentially be guessed in a similar way as commonly used passwords.

Would you like only select users to be able to share files on selected folders? You can do that as well! Share Link permission is assigned at the folder level so only those you explicitly grant this access to will be able to create Share Links.

Want to see a list of every Share Link being served by your site? Head over to Sharing and you will have full transparency. Curious if a Share Link has been downloaded? Go to Sharing and select your Share link to view the Access Logs.

There are so many uses for Files.com Share Links. Let’s explore how to create and manage Share Links with those outside your account.

There are three ways to start a new Share Link. You can use the method that is most convenient depending on your needs.

  • Option 1: Navigate to Files or Sharing, and click the New Share button.
  • Option 2: Check the checkbox for one or more files/folders, and click the Add to Share button.
  • Option 3: Hover your cursor over a file or folder and click the Add to Share (chain link icon) button.

Adding files and folders

Once you have started a new Share Link, it is easy to add files and folders to it. A Share Link can contain as many files and folders as you wish.

As with starting the new Share Link, there are multiple ways to add files and folders to it.

  • Option 1: Click the checkbox for one or more files/folders and click the Add to Share button.

  • Option 2: Drag and drop a file or folder from the folder list onto the share drawer.
  • Option 3: Hover your cursor over a file or folder and click the Add to Share (chain link icon) button.

  • Option 4: Click on New Share button, you can drag and drop a file or folder to share drawer.

Users can expand and collapse the share drawer by clicking the handle at the top left of the drawer.

The next step to create your Share Link is to generate the URL and copy it to your clipboard for distribution. Simply click the Generate Share Link button and the new Share Link URL will be displayed.

Additionally, each Share Link can be individually customized with the following options, which are accessible by clicking the Settings button in the Share Links page.

  • Public Description This is a publicly visible description that will be displayed on the download page.
  • Add an internal note Sites often have numerous Share Links created by different users and active at any given time. This internal note assists to quickly identify Share Links while viewing and managing all Share Links.
  • Previews only If enabled, users of this share link will only be allowed to preview files. File downloads will not be available. Please be aware that this setting does not prevent recipients from saving screenshots or printing the material available in a preview including obtaining the previewed material as a PDF or downloading the files by making direct calls to the actual storage.
  • Expiration This option allows you to customize when the Share Link will expire. By default, Share Links will expire based on the global setting found at Settings > General > Share Link expiration.
  • Maximum Uses Sets the maximum number of times the Share Link can be accessed.
  • Access Control This setting allows you to choose how anyone can access the Share Link. By default, the Share Link can be accessed by anybody by just clicking the link unless other security settings are applied (for example, Require registration or Password protection which are explained below). You can prevent leakage of public Share Link by Emailing the Share Link and selecting the option "Only allow access from emails generated from Files.com".

    With this option enabled, a session is created and saved in the web browser's local storage when a recipient clicks on an emailed share link, which is tied to that specific web browser and the email address that received the link. This is possible because share link URLs that are emailed from Files.com will contain a unique code associating that link with the email address being invited. If the link is later visited in a different browser (either on the same computer or another computer), the share link will display an error that the invitation has already been used. Each time the system detects share link reuse when access control is enabled, it will automatically generate a new email with a new link and re-send it to the original recipient. A recipient who receives an emailed link sent from Files.com can use the same link repeatedly from the same browser without invalidating the link.
  • Password protection To ensure that the contents of your Share Link don't fall into the wrong hands, you may optionally choose to secure your Share Link with a password. Password-protected shares will require those visiting your Share Link to enter the correct password in order to view and download the contents of the share.
  • Require registration With this setting, users will be required to provide their contact information before being granted access to the Share Link. This will allow to track who accessed your Share Link. You can view all the Registrations from the Registrations tab.
  • Custom Form You can add a custom form to the Share Link so that users will be required to complete the form before being granted access to the Share Link.
  • Clickwrap You can add a clickwrap to the Share Link so that users will be required to agree to the clickwrap terms before being granted access to the Share Link.
  • Associated inbox If set, the Share Link will additionally allow users to upload files to your site. Use this if you want the user to take action on your shared files and send them back to you.
  • Watermark previews This option allows you to add a watermark to any preview generated in this Share Link.

That's it! Your Share Link has been created and customized and is ready for distribution. You can copy the Share Link to your clipboard by clicking it.

Anyone visiting the Share Link URL in a web browser will be presented with a page displaying the contents of the Share Link. The visitor will have the option of downloading select files individually by clicking on a filename, or they can download everything contained in the Share Link using the Download all button.

After generating a Share Link, you may optionally choose to have Files.com send the URL to one or more recipients via email. Simply click the Share via email button, and enter the recipient email address(es) in the Send to box separated by commas. You may include a custom message in the email by entering it in the Add a custom message box. Finally, click the Send email button.

Recipients of Share Links that have been shared via email will be displayed at the bottom of the Share via Email page for each individual Share Link. A table containing the details of the recipient of the Share Link email will display, containing the Company Name, Note(s), Email, and the sent date.

When access control is enabled for a share link, emailed links are automatically protected against mass distribution. When a recipient clicks on an emailed share link, a session is created and saved in the web browser's local storage, which is tied to that specific web browser and the email address that received the link. If the link is then visited in a different browser (either on the same computer or another computer), the share link will display an error that the invitation has already been used. If the system detects that this has happened, it will automatically generate a new email with a new link and re-send it to the original recipient.

Both standard users with Share Link permission and administrators have the ability to view Share Links. Standard users will see only Share Links they created, while administrators will see all Share Links within the site.

Users and administrators can view Share Links by clicking on the Sharing icon in the left pane. The resulting table displays information about each Share Link, including the URL with quick one-click copy, the user who created it, the date it was created, the Share Link access control.

You want to add or remove files from your Share Link after the distribution? For example, let's assume you have a Share Link containing the folder Publications. After sharing, you realize that you found another file which should be included in the folder and thus the Share Link. No problem!

Once the Share Link has been generated, you can still add or remove files from the Share Link. Since Share Links are dynamic references to the files and not snapshots of the files, once you upload the missing file to the Publications folder, your share will automatically reflect the change.

You can do this by visiting "Contents" section in your Share Link. After clicking "Edit", you can pick the corresponding options to modify the contents or you can remove any existing contents in the Share Link.

A Share Link can be revoked at any time by an administrator, or by the user who created it. When a Share Link is revoked, it will immediately cease functioning, be removed from the Sharing list, and anyone visiting the Share Link URL will receive a "Share not found" message.

To revoke a Share Link, navigate to Sharing and click the Revoke button at the far right of the Share Link to be removed. You can use the internal note to quickly identify the correct link. Next, click the Revoke button.

The Revoke all button can be used to instead delete all of the Share Links visible.

Revoking a Share Link will permanently delete the Share Link, its settings, any registrations for the share link, and its Access Logs. There is no way to reactivate a revoked Share Link so this action should be considered a "last resort" option.

Rather than revoking a Share Link, consider expiring it, configuring a maximum usage that has already been met, or apply a password that will never be provided to users, using the Share Link Settings options. This way, the Share Link access logs and information are preserved after the link is no longer usable.

Share Links that have passed their expiration date are no longer functional. If you wish to restore a Share Link that has expired, and it is still listed in the web interface at Sharing > Share Links, you can use the Edit button to edit the Share Link and adjust the Expiration setting.

Requiring Registration

You can require that visitors register prior to accessing Share Links.

When creating a new Share Link, go to Sharing and click the New Share Link button. You will be taken to the Files section with a "New share" tab added on the right side of the screen. Add files or folders to the Share Link by navigating through the Files section and selecting folders/files to add or clicking and dragging folders/files to the Share Link tab. When you have added all of the items you need, click the Generate Share Link button.

When modifying an existing Share Link, go to Sharing on the left navigation column and click either the Share URL or the Edit button for the Share Link you want to edit. This will take you to the details for the selected Share Link.

Go to the Settings tab, and scroll to the Require registration section. Click the on/off toggle to the "on" position to require visitors to fill in a registration form before accessing the Share Link.

The default registration form includes fields for name, company, and email. Name and a valid email address are required.

If you want to create a custom registration form, go to Sharing > Custom Forms and click the New Form button. The Form title only displays internally to help you select the correct form when applying it to a Share Link. Hover over the Standard registration fields and click the Edit button to choose which fields to keep.

To add a new field to your custom form, click the Add Field button. Enter a Label, which displays above the field indicating what information the user should enter (e.g., "Phone", "Title", etc.). The Description displays as the help text when a visitor hovers over the question mark next to the Label. Select the Type, which can be "Short Answer" (one line of text), "Paragraph" (multiple lines of text), "Multiple Choice" (radio buttons allowing user to select one), or "Dropdown" (select list allowing user to select one). The "Multiple Choice" and "Dropdown" options give you the ability to enter the options the user can select from.

To use a custom form with a registration, go to Sharing > [select the Share Link you want to edit] and scroll to the Custom form section. Click the Edit button, select the form you want to use for this Share Link and click Save.

Inboxes can also be attached to Share Links, allowing a Share Link to provide two-way data transfer. To achieve this, create the Inbox first, then attach it to the Share Link during Share Link creation.

Seeing Who Has Registered

You can view the registrations for a Share Link by navigating to Sharing from the left pane, and clicking the share you want to see. If the share you've selected requires registrations, you'll see a Registrations tab. Click that tab to view the submitted registrations in a table.

Only registrations associated with an un-revoked share link will be included in the list of registrations. Revoking a share link removes all of the history of registrations for that share link. If you need to disable a share link but preserve the registration history, you set the expiration date for the share link rather than revoking the link.

By default, password protection of Share Links is optional. For greater security, administrators may elect to require that all new Share Links be password protected by enabling the security setting at Sharing > Settings > Password protect all Share Links.

Administrators can audit their existing shares for password protection by heading to Sharing and reviewing the SECURITY column for each Share Link.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Share Links are extremely powerful; however, they also come with risks. Once a Share Link is created, those files are accessible to anyone with the URL until the Share Link expires or is manually revoked or limiting their usage by customizing. To help administrators manage this, Files.com lets administrators control exactly which users have the ability to create Share Links from each folder.

Access to creating Share Links is controlled at the folder level, and by default is enabled for all new folders. Administrators can adjust this setting for any user at Settings > Users > [username] > Privileges. Or for any Group of users at Settings > Groups > [groupname] > Folder Permissions. Also, access to creating the Share Link can be controlled at individual folder level by selecting the Folder from Files view and clicking on Permissions.

ZIP Download Support For Shared Files

On the public Share Link page, visitors will have the option to "Download all" files via a single button. This generates a .zip file behind the scenes.

We are often asked whether it is possible to generate these .zip files via the REST API. The answer to that is no. A visitor would need to visit the Share URL to initiate the .zip download.

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