How To Use File Explorer To Share Files & Folders In Windows 8.1 & 10

In order to continue our series about File Explorer's user interface, today we are going to explain a bit about the Share tab and how you can use it to send folders and files to other people. This tab is where you'll find the tools you need to help send your files via email, share over a network or simply by handing someone a copy. Here's how it all works:

How To Access The Share Tab In File Explorer

Before you can start exploring this new tab, you'll need to access File Explorer. Once you've launched File Explorer, open a drive, library or folder and click or tap Share from the ribbon menu, to view the tools we'll be discussing.

You'll find the tools are separated into three sections:

  • Send - Tools that help you send a file by various methods.
  • Share with - Tools to change network sharing settings for a file or folder.
  • Advanced Security - Provides access to advanced file and folder security settings.

How To Use The Send Tools In The File Explorer Share Tab

In Windows 8.1, there are five tools in the Send section that help you take a file and give it to someone else.

In Windows 10, you get the same tools, plus a new one called Share.

No matter whether you're using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, these options become active, clickable buttons only when you select the appropriate type of content in File Explorer. If nothing is selected they are greyed out and unusable.

If you're using Windows 10, your first option is the Share button. If you click or tap on it, Windows 10 will offer you the option to share the selected file via any compatible app you have installed on your computer. For example, if you choose to share a file via Facebook, that file will be posted on your Wall. But if you choose to share a file via Windows 10's Mail app, that file will be added as an attachment to an email message. It all depends on the app you choose to use for sharing and, in a way, it's similar to how the Share charm used to work in Windows 8.1.

The next options you get in File Explorer are the same both in Windows 8.1 and in Windows 10. Note that, to make things simple, we're going to use screenshots taken only in Windows 10.

The Email will open your default email client with your selected file or files attached. All you have to do is address the message and click or tap Send.

If your file is a bit too large to email, you can try compressing it using the Zip button. This automatically creates a .ZIP archive that compresses the file for easier sending.

Your next option is to share your files and folders via optical media like a CD or DVD. Click or tap "Burn to disc" to try this out. The Burn a Disc dialog that opens gives you two options for how you want to burn the file, depending on how you intend to use it. More information about burning discs can be found in this tutorial: How to Burn Files and Folders to a Disc.

If you'd rather create a physical copy of a file you selected, you can click or tap the Print button. Documents will be sent directly to your printer, without any confirmation required while pictures will open a dialog from which you can select options such as image size and quality.

Your last option is to fax a file to someone by clicking or tapping the Fax button. Windows will open a fax editor from which you can enter a phone number, subject and a brief message. This works only if you have a fax device installed and connected to your computer. Otherwise it will only start a guide for setting up a fax modem.

Click or tap Send to fax the file using a connected fax machine.

How To Use The Share With Tools In File Explorer

The next section of the Share tab offers tools to share your files and folders over a network. There are only two tools in this section. One to add permissions, and one to take them away.

To share with other users on your computer or network, select a folder and then select a name from the list in the "Share with" section of the Share tab. If the person you want to share with is not listed, click or tap "Specific people...".

You can find more detailed information about sharing folders and libraries, here: How to Share Libraries & Folders with the Sharing Wizard in Windows.

How To Access Advanced File Security Settings From File Explorer

The last tool provided on the Share tab of the File Explorer is a button that provides easy access to the Advanced Security Settings for a file or folder. Click or tap Advanced Security to access the dialog.

From this dialog you can adjust permissions for all users who have access to the file or folder, share the file with networked users or groups, view or edit auditing properties and test individual accounts to see what access they are given to your file.

It's a one stop shop for choosing who on your computer or network can view and edit your files.


The Share tab provides access to different tools that can help you quickly share files and folders with others. As you've seen from this tutorial, all the options are easy to use and also easy to understand. With just a few clicks or taps you can send any file or folder to anyone you like. Before closing this article, don't hesitate to use the comments form below for any kind of questions or problems you might have.