How do you make a document public

Approvals: Share documents - that's the best way to do it

Approvals, internal links, external links ...

On a typical work day, I have a lot to do with documents. Presentations, concepts, PDF files, offers ... but also with video files and images.
I share the individual files with my colleagues and send them to customers or partners.
In the meantime I don't think about which way is the best anymore, it works automatically.


If you're just starting to stop sending files via email or FTP, I'd like to share a few tips with you using my own workflows with CenterDevice to get you started.

You have probably already sent a lot of files by email. It's quick and easy. You can read about the major disadvantages of this type of mailing in my colleague's article, she no longer sends any attachments at all.

Share files:
What options are there and what situations are they suitable for?

There are several ways to share a document with other people or groups. Depending on the situation and role of the person, a certain type of mailing makes the most sense and is easiest. Below is a list of when to use what best:

  • A single document should be made available to colleagues: Release of individual documents
  • You would like to create an exchange place (file sharing area) in which all documents on a topic can be edited and uploaded or downloaded by everyone involved: Share collection
  • You would like to provide your employees with a collection of general information about the company: Public collection
  • You have released documents to employees and you refer to the document in a message: Internal link
  • You would like to send a file to an external person: External link to a file
  • A number of documents are to be shared with partners: External link to a collection
  • A customer wants to provide you with documents: Upload link

What is the difference between sharing via sharing and sharing via external links?

Approvals can only be given to people who are registered in the same account. So if you want to share documents with colleagues from your account, simply share the relevant documents with them.

External links, you can use to share a document with an external person, e.g. a customer or partner. Access to the application is not required to open this link and download the document.

External links are therefore a good substitute for e-mail attachments and are also much more secure. The link points directly to the file and the document is not sent around the world as an attachment.

Benefits of shares and links

  • Editing and sharing works within an account. You no longer need to upload documents to your e-mail inbox or to another external service.
  • Share documents with just a few clicks.
  • The recipients of the documents receive notifications when something has been approved or a new version has been uploaded. So you don't have to contact them additionally.
  • Collections allow you to share many files with one person, multiple users, or a whole group at once. Effort or capacity limits, as we know them from e-mail inboxes, are therefore not an issue.
  • Due to the versioning in CenterDevice, external links always refer to the latest version of a file. In this way, everyone involved always has the same level of knowledge.

Using our document management system (DMS) CenterDevice, I will show you in the following how you can share your documents as quickly and easily as possible.

Release of individual documents

Every day you create new documents that you want to discuss with colleagues or make available to your boss. A simple release with a mouse click or drag & drop saves you the detour via e-mail. In addition, thanks to the versioning, you or your colleague can continue to edit the document and everyone can see the latest version directly.

To share with a person or group with a click of the mouse, click on the “+” and select the person or group. To grant approval via drag & drop, simply drag the document onto the person (s) or group (s) on the right-hand side of the application.

Approving a single document makes sense if it cannot be assigned to a specific area or project.

If you have a document that you would like to make available to the accounting department, for example, it is easier to assign the document to a collection and release it.

Tip: If you would like to release several documents that cannot be assigned to a collection, simply mark the relevant documents and release them all at once, e.g. to a group.

Release of collections

Do you have some invoice documents that you would like to make available to the accounting department? Simply drag and drop these into your CenterDevice account and then into the "Accounting" or "Invoice receipts" collection.

You can now share the entire collection with your accountant or - if you have several colleagues in accounting - the "Accounting" group. The collection is automatically visible to everyone in the group.

You can choose whether you drag and drop the collection onto the group on the right in the application or whether you select the appropriate groups or persons in the collection under Sharing. If you upload further documents to the collection in the future, the documents are automatically released to the accounting colleagues.

If you select the collection before uploading the files (you can tell by the collection name appearing in the search field), the documents are automatically shared through the collection.

If you work on projects with customers or partners over a longer period of time and you have to exchange documents regularly, it is practical to invite the customers or partners to your account as guests or external parties and to create a collection for the project. You can upload all documents relating to the project to this collection. In this way, everyone involved has access to the latest version of the relevant documents at all times. If you want to securely share invoices with your customers via CenterDevice, you will find a guide as best practice in this blog post.

If a customer quits or an employee changes department, thanks to the user and rights management it is of course possible to revoke the releases.

If an employee should no longer have access to certain documents, you can revoke the approvals for documents and collections via the "Approval tab" by simply removing the tick in front of the name.

If an employee leaves your company, you can transfer their files to another user and delete them completely from the system. The releases and external links of the documents are retained!

Danger: If you do NOT transfer the documents, they will be deleted from the application together with the user!

If you click on “Approvals” for a document or a collection, you can check at any time to whom the document has been approved and thus easily manage the approvals.

Make collections public

Have you created a collection that should be accessible to all users in your account? Then you do not have to manually share this collection with all persons or groups, but can make the collection public via the settings. Any employee who would like to see the collection can join this collection.

Searches are also performed through public collections. You can also find documents from collections that you have not yet joined.

Internal links to documents or collections

You can create internal links to documents or collections if you have already shared them with people or groups.

To do this, send a link that leads directly to the document.

External links to documents or collections

Do you want to send the print file for your new flyer to the printer or a brochure to a customer?

Create an external link to the document and send it e.g. by email. Here you also have to write an e-mail, but you are not sending the file, just a link. The advantages:

  • You can also easily send large files (up to 5 GB per file)
  • Versioning is also possible after the link has been sent, so the customer always has the current version of the prospectus available via the link
  • You can protect the link individually with a password or limit the number of downloads. (More about protecting your link)
  • Your file will be sent encrypted

If you want to make several documents available to a partner or customer, you do not have to create an external link for each individual document, but can create a link to the entire collection. Advantage: The customer or partner can download the entire collection with all documents at once. If you upload new documents to the collection, the customer will also receive these documents via the link.

Upload link

An upload link is similar to the external link, but works the other way around. Let us assume that you do not want to provide documents for the customer, but rather the customer would like to send you, for example, contract documents or a new applicant his application documents. The applicant does not have to send their documents by email, but can conveniently upload them via an upload link. You have previously decided in which collection the documents will be loaded from the upload link. In this way, the documents are available punctually and correctly addressed, regardless of whether the HR department is occupied. The collection "Application XY" can be released directly to the responsible employees and as soon as the applicant has uploaded their documents, everyone can immediately access them, view the documents and comment directly.

To create the upload link, go to the “Import” tab and click on “Upload link” on the left in the application, assign a name, select a collection and optionally assign keywords. Then click on "Create new upload link".

As you can see, there are many different ways to share documents. All options replace the medium of e-mail attachments and simplify your work. You now know the easiest and fastest way to exchange for every situation.

... Try out the possibilities yourself in a free test account from CenterDevice!

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Tags: cloud, external links, file sharing, sharing