Deciphering the SharePoint Online/OneDrive sharing links

I’ve been asked about some of the odd parameters that are now part of sharing links when you’re grabbing a copy of a link to a file or folder to share with someone else. In trying to research the answer, I found that there’s very little information in a single location that addresses this, so I’m going to give it a shot here. Keep in mind that this is my “best guess” on the topic, and it may not be totally correct and/or may change without notice. 🙂

Let’s take a couple of sample URLs:

https://domain.sharepoint.com/:x:/r/sites/siteName/libraryName/fileName.xlsx?d=w82af6e57974b4590975fad3205d14418&csf=1&e=mXYB20

https://domain.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/siteName/EsCYEdnX-1lElxqXjdoSG2wBtz3JsARV7T1V1y8bGDH4Yg?e=kNrp5D

There are three elements I’ll try to explain… the letter surrounded by colons, the letter that follows the letter surrounded by colons, and the information following the ? at the end of the URL.

The letter surrounded by colons specifies what type of file is being referenced in the URL. I was able to figure out the following file type indicators:

  • :b: – PDF
  • :f: – Folders
  • :i: – Image
  • :p: – PowerPoint
  • :o: – OneNote
  • :t: – Text
  • :u: – Undefined
  • :v: – Video
  • :w: – Word
  • :x: – Excel files

The letter following the letter surrounded by colons appears to indicate whether the link is to a file that is read-only (/r) or editable (/s). I was unable to get any other letter option to appear in there, but again, your mileage may vary.

Finally, there are parameters after the ? in the URL. I’ve seen d=, e=, and csf=1. From what I found, it appears that the d= and e= values have to do with creating a unique URL that can still be referenced if the document is moved elsewhere. I didn’t find a clear explanation of how exactly that works, however. The csf=1 parameter is also not readily apparent, other than it causes a lot of online complaints from people trying to figure out why Microsoft puts it there.

Basically, these strange URLs only come into play when you’re creating a sharing link for someone to read or edit a file in your OneDrive or SharePoint Online site. If you’re simply linking to a file that someone has access to via the site permissions, then you can go with a “normal” URL, like https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/siteName/libraryName/fileName.xlsx.

Hope that helps a bit…

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