Is there a way to turn off external sharing on a SharePoint site, but enable it on one document library or two?

I have SharePoint Online modern team site, where I need to allow external users to add documents to one library, but I don't want them to see anything else on the site. Is that possible?

3 Answers 3


You can grant external user permissions on a library.

Navigate to the library->Library settings->Permissions for this document library->stop inheriting permissions->grant permissions->then you can grant external user permissions on the library:

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  • Thanks @Lisa. Regarding the external sharing, should it be set on the site itself? If external sharing is set on the site, would that mean it's open for external users invited to the site, or does it mean it's open only to external users to "only" those lists shared with them?
    – B1B
    Sep 9, 2019 at 19:39
  • If external sharing is enabled on the site, you can grant external user permissions on the site (lists/libraries, items/documents). If external sharing is not enabled on the site, you can not grant external user permissions on the site (lists/libraries, items/documents). Sep 10, 2019 at 9:30
  • Thanks Lisa! I think I'll go with this, would have been great to have a "share" link on the library itself though!! I added a new question if you have an idea about it: sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/269101/… .. Thanks again Lisa!
    – B1B
    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:51

You do need to have external sharing on at the site level, but what you can do is just share out the specific location you want to provide them access to.

  • Thanks @Trevor. What I want to do is to share the whole document library to them. So if I enable external sharing on the site collection, how can I guarantee that they have access to ALL folders in that doc library? All I can see in the UI is the ability to share folders, but not the library itself.
    – B1B
    Sep 8, 2019 at 15:58

Sharing just a library is messy and discouraged by Microsoft. Sharing is supported and easily done for files, folders and sites.

If you want to share a whole library, but not the rest of the site, you need to apply permissions gymnastics that can turn ugly fast.

  • Create a new SharePoint group in the site. It should not have any permissions assigned at the site level
  • Edit the library, break permissions inheritance and add that new group with read or edit permissions to the library
  • Add the external user to the group, which will send them the usual invitation. The invite will contain the title of the site, not the title of the library, which may be confusing to the user.

A much cleaner approach would be to create a separate site that is shared with external users and use the regular way to share the site.

  • Thanks @teylyn. But that means I have to tell users to create 2 sites, one for internal use and one for sharing with the client, just for the client to add documents to that one library. It would have been much better if there was a "Share" link on the document library to share externally, and let internal users work on the site, instead of having a replica of the site just to share one library, am I right with that?
    – B1B
    Sep 10, 2019 at 9:42
  • The recommended practice is that all members of a site have the same permissions. It's quite easy to create a new site collection that can be shared externally. There is no need to have a replica of anything. It's easy to give internal people permissions to that site. It's easy to integrate the library on one site into the navigation of another site. Permissions are one core element that differentiates sites. Breaking permissions for single libraries is possible, but it is messy. Nobody keeps you from doing it but people have found that it is not the best way to implement external sharing.
    – teylyn
    Sep 10, 2019 at 20:50

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