SharePoint Online

Last updated: June 3, 2024


SharePoint Online is part of UW Office 365 and is a FERPA- and HIPAA-compatible web-based productivity, collaboration, and communication platform that is used by individuals and groups at UW to meet a range of needs such as department intranets, collaborative group work (e.g. research studies and other committees), business process automation (e.g. travel requests), knowledge management, and file management. SharePoint Online is tightly integrated with the Microsoft Office Suite, allowing files to be created and edited in SharePoint Online directly from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Click here to watch a short video from Microsoft: “What is SharePoint Online?”

Request a SharePoint Online Site

We highly recommend adding at least one other UW employee or Shared UW NetID to a SharePoint Online site as a site collection admin. This will allow another account to continue managing a SharePoint Online site if you should depart the UW. If a SharePoint Online site no longer has a site collection admin, there is currently no process to allow us to transfer ownership and the site will fall into our deletion policy.

Click here to request a SharePoint Online site

Responsibilities of the owner of a SharePoint Online site

Only UW faculty and staff can request a SharePoint Online site.  The owner of a SharePoint Online site is responsible for:

SharePoint Online site deletion

A SharePoint Online site may be deleted by UW-IT when the last UW employee or Shared UW NetID is removed as a site collection admin.

The owner of a site can delete the site by following these directions.

Share SharePoint Online files & folders

Learn how to share SharePoint files or folders

Understanding SharePoint Online permissions

Understanding permission levels

Create and edit permission levels

External Sharing with SharePoint Online


External sharing is enabled in the UW Office 365 tenant, but off by default for new SharePoint Online sites.  External sharing is applied at the site level only. Site owners/admins and members can choose to share sites, lists, libraries, folders, documents, etc. with those who are outside of the UW.

Enable external sharing on a new SharePoint Online site

To enable external sharing on a new SharePoint Online site, please indicate whether you want external sharing option “Authenticated users” or “Anonymous access” (more information below) in the “Notes” field when you request a new SharePoint Online site.

Enable external sharing on an existing SharePoint Online site

To enable external sharing on an existing site, a site collection admin can email and include:

  1. Subject: “Enable external sharing on SharePoint Online site”
  2. The site URL
  3. The external sharing option desired, as described below (“Authenticated users” or “Anonymous access”)

External sharing options: “Authenticated users” or “Anonymous access”

Option 1: Authenticated users (Allow external users who accept sharing invitations and sign-in as authenticated users)

This option allows you to share with any external user via an email invitation. The user will receive an email containing a link to the shared item. Once they click the link, their experience will differ depending on whether the invitation is for a site or document. When sharing sites, the user will be asked to log in with a Microsoft account. If the user does not have a Microsoft account, they can create one at that point. Once they log in with their Microsoft account, they will gain access to the site.

For sharing documents, the user is not required to have a Microsoft account. Once they click on the link in the email, they will be instructed to enter a verification code that has been sent in a subsequent email. Entering the code will give access to the content.

Option 2: Anonymous access (Allow sharing with all external users by using anonymous access links [not recommended])

This option allows you to share with an external user who has a valid email address. There will be no verification code when opening the content. Because it is an anonymous access link, anyone who receives the link will be able to open the content. For security purposes we do not recommend this option.

More information on external sharing

Click here for a more in-depth explanation of external sharing with SharePoint Online

Sync SharePoint Online Files with Your Computer

Click here to learn how to sync SharePoint Online files with your computer

SharePoint Online Storage Limits

  • Maximum file size: 250GB
  • Default SharePoint Online site storage limit: 25TB
  • Maximum items in a list: 30 million items
  • Maximum files and folders in a library: 30 million

Click here for list of SharePoint Online limits

Click here for additional restrictions and limitations in SharePoint Online

Click here for tips on managing large lists and libraries 

SharePoint Online Help and Training

UW-IT is unable to provide training on how to use SharePoint Online. Instead, explore a number of excellent resources available on the web: