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I am confused about links to files and folders in SharePoint Online. Especially on their robustness in case these files or folders or any of their parents are moved or renamed. In one site I see the following kind of links. All were taken from the “…” --> “Copy link” menu. Unique Document IDs are enabled.

  1. Link to a docx: https://domain.sharepoint.com/:w:/r/tst/dir/[some other dirs]/file.docx?d=[some long id]&csf=1&web=1&e=[some other short id]
  2. Link to a folder: https://domain.sharepoint.com/:f:/r/tst/dir/[some other dirs]/testdir?csf=1&web=1&e=[some short id]
  3. Link to a any non Micosoft Office file: https://domain.sharepoint.com/:u:/r/tst/dir/[some other dirs]/email.msg?csf=1&web=1&e=[some short id]

In the details pane (the panel that appears on if you click on the “i” in a circle on the right-hand side) at the property Document ID is another kind of link:

  1. Link to a file: https://domain.sharepoint.com/tst/_layouts/15/DocIdRedir.aspx?ID=[document ID]

On another site I see yet another kind of link:

  1. Link to file or folder https://domain.sharepoint.com/:w:/s/Website_Test/[some long id]?e=[some short id]

The link in 1 works even if the file itself is renamed or moved (including renaming and moving any of its parent folders). However, this kind of link seems to be available only for Microsoft Office files.

The links in 2 and 3 seem to be of the same kind of links. They both no longer work if their targets are moved or renamed. They also stop working if any parent directory is renamed.

Link 4 works just as 1. However, for reasons unknown to me, I seem to have a few files with the same Document ID. Links to those files lead to a list of search results with all the files with the same ID.

Link 5 works just as 1 and is avaiable for files and folders. This kind of link seems to be the one you would want to use.

Now to my questions:

  1. Is there any documentation on the link format? I have only found some blogs or forum pages from SharePoint users but no official documentation.
  2. Is there any recommendation to use one kind of link over the other?
  3. Why do the sites produce different kind of links? Is there any way to control this?
  4. Some sites suggest that enabling unique document IDs will give links of the form 4. on “…” -> “Copy link”. Since this is not the case on my site I wonder if there is something wrong.
  5. Why do some documents have the same Document ID?
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  • Microsoft still hasn't documented the "durability of links" as far as I know. It is a horrible user experience. Why does it matter what file type it is, or folder for that matter? I've got an idea. Just make all links durable, and it is easy to document. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:00
  • BTW, on my site the document ID service is disabled (I think), but links to Word docs still seem to be durable. I am thoroughly confused and frustrated. I just want to know what the functionality is supposed to be. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:19

1 Answer 1

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To answer your questions:

  1. There is no such official document for link format explanation, unfortunately.

  2. There is no recommendations or best practice for using links since they have different functions. If you are in SharePoint Online, sharing links are quite enough for sharing purpose, while Document ID links are used for document identification.

  3. Users do not have control to format the sharing links, but you can disable Document ID links by deactivating the Document ID feature on site level. You can also disable some of the sharing links by modifying the sharing settings for this site or this tenant.

  4. Note that since Document ID links work on site level, it is possible that some of the files have the same Document ID (across tenant), but they will not have the same link.

  5. As for the durable links/sharing links, none of them will lose effect on renaming or getting moved to another location in this site, per my test. And quoting the official document:

    The permission granted by a sharing link lasts only as long as the link exists.

Another reference on this topic: The Anatomy of a SharePoint URL.

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  • Regarding point #5: This is the point that really needs to be documented by Microsoft because it affects the user experience. End users shouldn't have to guess and test at desired functionality. I have been burned several times by this "feature" already and I "tested", but didn't test enough cases. Even if the links work today after the target was renamed/moved, what is my guarantee that it will still work tomorrow? Also, what you quoted really doesn't have anything to do with the durability of the link against renames/moves of the target, IMO. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:13
  • The anatomy link is really useful, but this should be documented by Microsoft as well. Dec 3, 2021 at 17:13

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