We have some pictures, documents and we want to track who downloads it. We have Office 365 which has SharePoint. People have to use their Active Directory account to sign-on to SharePoint.

  1. Can placing the pictures, documents inside SharePoint allow us to track who downloads the pictures, documents? If so, how?

  2. If there is no tracking, can it be added without lot of effort(like building an application which works with SharePoint for it)?


Because of storage and performance concerns, auditing for Opening or downloading documents, viewing items in lists, or viewing item properties is not available for SharePoint Online in Office 365 for enterprises.

This option is likely to generate a large number of events that will potentially degrading the performance and other aspects of the site collection.


I am not aware if their is any 3rd party or code solution available for O365.

  • Thanks Waqas. What would you advise for a situation like ours? – Chris H Jun 7 '15 at 3:53
  • I am not sure about it, because so far i haven't seen any 3rd party solution for it.I would open a support ticket with MSFT 365 team and seek guidance from them. – Waqas Sarwar MVP Jun 7 '15 at 4:12

Analytics has never been SharePoint's strong point, Office 365 does have auditing logs but its not very easy to see all the data in one place. You can use SharePoint Vitals which is an addon for cloud and onprem that does this in a very neat way. There is a free version to get you going which will show you all documents accessed and user history.


It is possible see access and download audit log to do using https://protection.office.com/ .

  • As of January 2020, at least when I look, there is nothing at that URL under Records management. – CarlF Jan 30 '20 at 19:00

On the site collection navigate Site Actions -> Site Settings. under

Site Collection Administration you will find Site Collection Audit Settings. In the Document and Items section check the Opening or downloading documents, viewing items in lists, or viewing item properties check-box and click OK.

Now SharePoint is logging all view/downloads. As viewing a document is the same thing as a download.

Go back one level and you can find Audit Log reports under Site Collection Administration to create reports on this information.

Please keep in mind to keep track of your audit settings as if you have a lot of visitors it can quickly take a lot of hard disk space storing the information.

  • Thanks a lot Robban. Can we allow only people in certain Organizational Units(OUs) to access the documents/pictures? Our Active Directory allows people from 10 OUs to access the Sharepoint site. How can we ensure that only users in OU "A" and OU "B" can download the documents/pictures? Thanks again. – Chris H Apr 29 '15 at 4:59
  • To remove permission to a specific library in SharePoint you would have to break the library permission inheritance and create a SharePoint permission group that is the group that should have access to the library. Then all users that should have access to the pictures are added to that SP Permission group, alternatively you have an AD security group that is added to the SharePoint Group for permissions. more information on basic permission structure support.office.com/en-ca/article/… – Robban1980 Apr 30 '15 at 0:52
  • Thanks Robban, I will have to read up on how to break library permission inheritance and create a Sharepoint permission group for the the two OUs. I appreciate your advice and time. – Chris H May 1 '15 at 4:37

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