Sharing Files

Clicking the share icon on any file or folder opens the Details view on the right, where the Share tab has focus.

Sharing Status Icons

Any folder that has been shared is marked with the Shared overlay icon. Public link shares are marked with a chain link. Un-shared folders are blank.

Share status icons.

If your ownCloud server is the Enterprise edition, you may also have access to Sharepoint and Windows Network Drive file shares. These have special status icons. An icon with a red plugin and background means you have to enter a login to get access to the share.


Creating Shares

To share a file or folder, immediately below the Share tab, you will see a text field. In this field, you can enter any number of users (whether local to your ownCloud server or remote) or groups who you would like to share the file or folder with.

If username auto-completion is enabled, when you start typing the user or group name ownCloud will automatically complete it for you, if possible.


From 10.0.8, user and group name search results are dependent on a new configuration setting, called user.search_min_length (it is set to 4 by default). This setting helps to aid search performance but requires that search terms contain at least the defined number of characters. Consequently, search terms shorter than the defined number of characters will not return a list of matches. However, they will return an existing user or group with a name of the same length as the search term.

After a file or folder has been shared, Share Permissions can be set on it. In the image below, you can see that the directory “event-Photos” is shared with the user “pierpont”, who can share, edit, create, change, and delete the directory.

Sharing files.

What Happens When Share Recipients Move Files and Folders?

If a share recipient has “can edit” privileges and moves files or folders out of the share, ownCloud stores a backup copy of the moved file/folder in the Deleted Files (Trash) of the share’s owner. The user who moved the file/folder out of the share still has the original copy there, along with its attached metadata.

That way, the files/folders are not permanently lost. By clicking the Restore link, next to the respective file or folder, ownCloud will restore these files/folders to their original location.

Restore (backup) files from the Deleted Files directory.


Restoring files restores the backup copy for all users, including the user that originally moved them, into the original folder.

Sharing Files with Guest Users

Users can also share files and folders with guest users. To do so, your ownCloud administrator will need to have installed the Guest application.

If it’s already installed, in the “User and Groups” field of the “Sharing” panel, type the email address of a user who is not already a user in your ownCloud installation. You will then see a popup appear with the suffix (guest), as in the screenshot below.

Sharing with guest users.

After you do that, the content will be shared with the user with all permissions applied, except for the ability to share with other users.

Content shared with a guest user.

Updating Shares

To change any of the properties of a share, again, you first need to view the Share tab. From there, you can:

  • Delete a user’s access to a share
  • Give more users access to a share
  • Change a user’s share permissions
  • Add or remove password protection
  • Set or remove a share’s expiration date

As this functionality is already described in other parts of the Sharing Files section, it won’t be specifically covered here.

Deleting Shares

Despite the name of this section, you don’t actually delete a share. Rather what you do is remove the access of user’s to whom it’s already been shared with. When all users access to a shared resource has been removed, the resource is no longer shared.

To do that, you need to click on the rubbish bin icon, on the far right-hand side of the name of each user it’s been shared with, who should no longer have access to it.

Password Protecting Files

It’s also possible to password protect shared files and folders. If you want to do so, then you need to enable this functionality. Specifically, click the checkbox labeled “Password protect” under the “Share Link” section.

When you do so, you’ll see a password field appear. In there, add the password that the user will need to enter to access the shared resource and press the return key.

Changing The Share Expiration Date

In older versions of ownCloud, you could set an expiration date on both local and public shares. Since the most recent version three, key, changes have been made:

  • You can only set an expiration date on public shares
  • Local shares do not expire when public shares expire
  • A local share can only be “expired” (or deleted) by clicking the trash can icon

Share Permissions

Shares can have a combination of the following five permission types:

Permission Definition
can share Allows the users you share with to re-share
can edit Allows the users you share with to edit your shared files, and to collaborate using the Documents app
create Allows the users you share with to create new files and add them to the share
change Allows uploading a new version of a shared file and replacing it
delete Allows the users you share with to delete shared files

Creating Drop Folders

As of ownCloud version 10.0.2, users can create upload-only, public shares (otherwise known as “Drop Folders”). Drop Folders allow users to upload files to a central location, but don’t allow them to either see or change any existing files, which already have been uploaded.

Create a Drop Folder

To create one:

  1. View the sharing panel of the folder that you want to share as a Drop Folder, and under “Public Links” select “Create public link”.
  2. As with other shares, provide the name in the “Link Name” field.
  3. Check “Allow editing”, un-check “Show file listing”, and then un-check “Allow editing”.
  4. Finally, click “Save” to complete creation of the share.

Now, as with other public links, you can copy the link to the share and give it out, as and when necessary.

Using Drop Folders

Using Drop Folders

When users open the share link, they will see a page where they can either click to select files to share, or drag-and-drop files directly to share them. After the file’s been successfully uploaded, they’ll see (where possible) a preview of the file that has been uploaded.

All documentation licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.