Office 365 Tips Worth Sharing: Email a Link, Not an Attachment

Posted by Dan St. Hilaire  /  April 20, 2017  /  Microsoft 365, Team Leaders / Managers   —   1 Comments ↓

Email a link, not an attachmentYour team is up and running with Office 365 and its cloud storage solutions: OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. (Congrats - take a bow!)

We like to share Office 365 tips to help make your work life better. This one focuses on breaking an old habit: end users attaching files to their emails.

Current best practice: Links trump attachments

This used to be the primary way to share files, so of course we are all comfortable with this technique. But there is a better way to do it, and I now cringe when I see a file (especially a large file) attached to an email sent to me from a co-worker. You'll cringe, too, once you learn the benefits of using a link instead. 

Best practice now tells us to save the file in a shared or sharable location, then email a link to it instead – all of which can be done with the power of Office 365. Doing so reduces the risk of:

  • Raising spam flags
    Some clients will mark emails containing large files as spam and drop the incoming message into a junk mail folder.
  • Delivery failure
    Even in the cloud age, some email clients have strict file size limits. Sending a link instead of a bulky file ensures a smooth delivery to the intended recipient.
  • Consuming space
    Managing your organization’s data and storage keeps your IT staff hopping. Sending and receiving large files – especially when there’s a lighter alternative – makes their lives more difficult.

Put an end to the versioning vortex

Sharing links also cuts back on over-versioning of documents. You don’t need 10 versions of the same file clogging up network storage. Especially when a single, sharable document could suffice. Office 365, OneDrive and SharePoint work together to help people work smarter. We recently devoted an entire post to this topic. Give yourself a break by using tools designed to help you collaborate in a single, shared file.

Ideally, all files should be stored in a central location, accessible by those who need to work on/with them. With the advent of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups, managing who on a team can access and edit files is even easier. (We've also written about using Groups and Shared Calendars for increased efficiency.)

Keeping your files in shared locations makes collaboration a snap. The most obvious locations are SharePoint and OneDrive. However, the choice will depend on your organization’s preference and other considerations.

Watch Video on Sharing and Collaboration with Office 365

The 1MB rule

Here's another Office 365 tip to help get your team members on board. If your team’s resistant to change, give them a golden rule to follow first: any file over 1MB must be shared by link, but strive to share ALL files and keep inboxes light.

This will make team members more personally aware of the files they’re sending. Obviously change doesn’t come in a day. Be persistent, and monitor for strays from the 1MB rule. With enough enforcement, change will occur. As a bonus, your IT department may prioritize your future requests for being so forward-thinking and considerate of precious IT resources (but we can’t guarantee it).

Provide training

Savvy users will figure out how to insert links to files...but the majority of us need some training! There are 2 aspects: where to save the files in a shared location, and how to send the links so that coworkers can access files. Be sure to provide video and live training around these topics. (By the way, we can get your team up-to-speed in no time.)

If you want your team to get even more out of Office 365 tips, consider additional training. There is all sorts of training to help end users develop good, efficient habits to increase productivity and minimize network cramping.

With your team’s Office 365 environment up and running, now is the perfect time to break those old habits that turn into nightmares down the road. Cloud storage makes breaking those habits easier by giving users a common place to work and link to – putting an end to inbox cringing, document versioning headaches and (eventually) making your team beam with appreciation.

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Topics: Microsoft 365, Team Leaders / Managers