Collaboration has become a vital productivity tool, especially with many people working permanently from home for the majority of 2020. 

The launch of Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) in 2011 came with a clear focus on files being stored in the cloud, and now it's easier than ever to share documents from Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other Office app. 

This process works on all recent Office software, but there are more tools available to Microsoft 365 subscribers. 

Can anyone share Word, Excel and PowerPoint files?

Yes, although you'll need to sign in to a Microsoft account and save the file to OneDrive to start sharing. 

The apps should prompt you to sign in when you launch them for the first time. If not, head to File > Account. Under 'Sign in to Office', click 'Sign In'.

Unless you've purchased the standalone version of the app, you'll need to sign in to stop most features being disabled at some point anyway. 

How to share Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents

For the purpose of this tutorial, we're using Microsoft Word on Windows, but the process is very similar on other Office apps and platforms. 

Whether you're a Microsoft 365 subscriber or not, you'll able to share Office files with friends, family and colleagues with ease:

  1. Open the document you'd like to share. If you missed the option when launching the app, head to File > Open
  2. Click the 'Share' icon located in the top right corner. You should be prompted to upload the document to OneDrive, and give it a name if you haven't already
    Microsoft Word share to OneDrive
  3. Wait a few seconds for the document to be uploaded. If you see a messaging about 'features that are nor compatible with this format', click 'Yes' to continue with saving
  4. How the next screen looks will depend if you have Microsoft 365. If you're a paying subscriber, you'll see options to just share the link, allow everyone in your organisation to access, or share with only specific people. There are various settings within these options, including whether you want to allow editing or set an expiry date/password for access
    Microsoft Word sharing Microsoft 365
    If not, you'll be limited to link sharing, so should see a screen like this
    Microsoft Word share

That's it! If you've invited specific people, they should get an email with a link to access the document. If not, you'll just need to share the link with the relevant people. Don't worry, the layout and information is identical if you're sharing from Excel or PowerPoint.

Once you've sorted out sharing your files, here's how to collaborate on them effectively and across multiple devices. 

If you can't justify paying for a Microsoft 365 subscription, check out our articles on how to get Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free.