We send out a feedback form with an Excel Survey whenever we complete a job for our customers. We recently noticed that the Excel Survey link stopped working with the following error: Sorry, you cannot access this document. Please contact the person who shared it with you.
When the Excel document is opened on SharePoint, the Survey option is missing from the home tab. When attempting to create a new Excel Survey via the New menu, we receive the message – Sorry, you can’t create surveys here. Your administrator needs to allow users to share survey links.
To resolve this, we need to enable the sharing of documents with anonymous links. This can be enabled on the organisation-wide sharing settings, or on the individual site collections under the SharePoint Admin Center.
Navigate to the SharePoint Admin Center via the Office 365 Admin Portal at https://portal.office.com/AdminPortal/Home, then click SharePoint under Admin centers on the left menu.
Alternatively you can go direct to https://yourtenantname-admin.sharepoint.com, where yourtenantname is replaced by the name that appears before .sharepoint.com in your SharePoint site URL. For example, https://ozbizweb.sharepoint.com becomes https://ozbizweb-admin.sharepoint.com.
Change the Sharing Settings on the entire organisation:
We can change the organisation wide sharing settings to allow anonymous links. This makes the change across all site collections.
Click Sharing on the left menu, and then choose to Allow sharing to authenticated external users and using anonymous access links.
Change the Sharing Settings on an individual site collection:
- Click site collections on the left menu
- Select the site collection you want to modify, and click Sharing on the ribbon
- Select the option to Allow sharing with all external users, and by using anonymous access links.
Confirm the Surveys are working
We can now re-open the Excel Survey, and see that the survey option has returned.
The original shared survey links should also be working as normal.
What caused the sharing settings to be changed?
I wasn’t sure, so I had to check the Unified Audit Logs in the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.
You can use the new Office 365 Security and Compliance Center to report on pretty much any action that occurs in Office 365.
The Security and Compliance Center can be found at https://protection.office.com, or by navigating to Security & Compliance under the app launcher.
Click on Search & Investigation on the left menu, then click Audit Log Search.
Unfortunately, the Unified Audit Log is not running by default. So if you haven’t enabled it yet, it won’t be recording any user/admin actions with Office 365. To enable it, click Start recording user and admin activities.
We’ve been recording to the Unified Audit Log for a while, so I was able to run a search on anyone who changed a sharing policy since we last received a completed Excel Survey:
The results reveal the source of the change:
On the 6th of September, Ryan was working on some Data Loss Prevention alerts and made some changes to the Default Sharing Policy for sharing using anonymous links.
If your Excel Survey anonymous links stop working, check your sharing settings. To find out what happened, check the Security and Compliance center. And if you haven’t already, start recording User and Admin activities at https://protection.office.com/#/unifiedauditlog