How to Run SkyDrive on the Web - dummies

By Woody Leonhard

By far the most options and the best controls for the SkyDrive app that shipped with Windows 8.1 are on the web. The option you’ll use most? Sharing.

While it’s true that you can right-click a file or folder in the old-fashioned desktop version of SkyDrive — inside File Explorer — and choose Share With/SkyDrive, that just pops you into the web-based version of SkyDrive. Kinda cheating, but it works.

To share a file that’s sitting in your SkyDrive folder:

1Go to SkyDrive with your favorite browser and then sign in with your Microsoft account.

Your SkyDrive data appears as big boxy tiles on a web page. To make the whole thing more accessible, at least with a mouse and keyboard, click or tap the icon immediately to the right of the Sort by Name line. That brings you into Details View.

2Find the file or folder you want to share, hover your mouse over it, and then select the box to the left of its name, or in the upper-right corner of the picture.

Selecting the box is important. Don’t click the file. If you click the file, you’ll probably open it — not the end of the world, but it’s easier to share without opening.

If the file or folder is already shared, the word “Shared” appears in the Sharing column.

3With the box in front of the file or folder selected (or the upper-right corner of the picture selected), tap or click the Sharing link at the top of the screen.

SkyDrive assumes that you not only want to share the file, but you also want to send an e-mail to the person(s) you’re sharing the file with. The e-mail has a link to the file or folder. The Send a Link screen appears.

4If you want to send a message to someone and put the link to the shared file/folder in the message, fill out the Send a Link screen: Type e-mail address(es) in the To box, add whatever note you like, and then tap or click Share.

Go to Step 6.

If you deselect both of the boxes at the bottom of the Send a Link screen, the person receiving the e-mail message and the link can only view, and not edit, the file.

If you select the box at the bottom, the recipient of the e-mail message has to log on with a Microsoft account that matches the e-mail address you sent. That’s a good way to reduce the possibility that the person who receives the e-mail will pass along the link.

5If you don’t want to send an e-mail, or you don’t want to share the file (folder) with specific e-mail addresses, tap or click the Get a Link option on the left.

SkyDrive shows you the rather ambiguous Get a Link screen. Although the options seem straightforward, they aren’t.

6Tap or click the correct button for your situation.

A link appears. Send that link to somebody, and when he clicks it, his web browser will open with the file you’ve selected, giving the person who clicked the link editing permissions indicated.

View Only — SkyDrive gives you a link to your file or folder. Anybody who has that link can view, but not change, the file or folder. This setting doesn’t lock out other people: If someone can guess the link, she’s in like Flynn. Similarly if you give the link to someone, and she gives it to someone else, the third party can see the file or folder.

View and Edit — Like View Only, except anybody who gets into the file or folder can change or delete the file or anything in the folder.

Public — Makes the contents searchable, so Google or Bing may pick it up someday. Anyone can view, but not change, the file or folder.

7Make sure you copy the link provided by SkyDrive.

You can use the link any way you wish.