17 Jul 2019

How the recipient of shared content accesses files

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When a file or folder is shared via email, every recipient of that share will receive a separate email with sufficient information to access the file or folder.   

Contents of the Email

Here is what a typical email looks like (the branding of the email will be different in each instance of Collaborate). The email will appear to come from the user who shared the file and any reply that is sent will go back to that user.

Notice the key features of the email:

  1. The subject line, which may have been modified from the default. Typically this includes the name of the person who shared the file or folder and the name of the file or folder.
  2. The first name of the recipient (if sent to a Collaborate user).
  3. The name of the person who shared the file or folder, which is a link to that user's Collaborate profile. (If the recipient is NOT a Collaborate user, they will not be able to access this profile.)
  4. Information about the file or folder that had been shared, including:
    • The file or folder name (which is also a link for accessing the file.)
    • The file or folder type icon
    • The file or folder size
    • When access to the file or folder will expire.
      In the case of Quick Share, this is also the date when the file will automatically be deleted (the expiration date and time are based on the default time zone for the instance of Collaborate).
  5. A link to access the file or folder.  Note that each recipient of the file or folder is provided with a unique link so that the system can track who has accessed the file or folder.

The email may have certain variations, based on the choices made when the file or folder was shared, like including a custom message.

  1. If the recipient is not a Collaborate user, the email will not include a salutation.
  2. A custom message will be displayed above the file information.
  3. If the recipient only has view access rights to the file, the "Click here" link will only mention that the file can be viewed, not downloaded.

Accessing the File or Folder

When a recipient of a share attempts to access the shared file or folder by clicking on the share link, whether in an email, private message, microblog or anonymous link, a new page is displayed in the recipient's browser, like this:

Basic information about the file or folder is provided here, including:

  • name
  • type icon
  • size
  • when the file or folder was last updated
  • when access to the file or folder expires

To download the file or folder, the recipient simply clicks the Download button. If the file type can be previewed, the View button will be displayed.  When clicked, the preview will appear in a new window. If a folder had been shared, clicking Download will download a ZIP file (called "My Site.zip") with the full folder contents.

View-Only Rights

If the recipient only has view rights to the file, then the page would look like this and only include the "View" button:

Similarly, if the shared file type can only be downloaded and not viewed, then only a Download button will appear.

Logging In

There is no requirement that the recipient login to access the file or folder IF the setting when the item was shared was Can be accessed by anyone who has the link. Otherwise, the recipient must log in to their Collaborate account first. When a login is required to access the item and the recipient is not logged in, the user will be presented with a login page first (and possibly the two-factor authentication screen, if enabled), before the user can access the shared item.

In the example above, the recipient either does not have a Collaborate account or was not logged in and is given the opportunity to log in.  If the recipient was already logged in, the page would look like this:

and the recipient would be invited to view all of their received items.

Expired Links

If access to the file or folder has expired or the item is otherwise not available; when the link is clicked, a page with this message will appear:

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