Share OneDrive photos with family group members: Easy guide

Have fun creating OneDrive photo albums and sharing them with family

Do you store photos on OneDrive? With the app on your phone, photos are uploaded automatically. Create and share OneDrive photos albums with family group members. Set up your family group.

Smartphones and digital cameras make it so easy to take photos. We don’t go anywhere without our phones and this means we always have a camera in our pocket. Taking photos is free and the only limit to the number we can take is the storage capacity on the phone.

The phone’s storage is not a limit and photos can automatically be uploaded to online drives like OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and others. Here we will focus on Microsoft OneDrive and look at how to organize your photos into albums. These can be based on any topic, such as people, places or pets and events like weddings birthdays, holidays and trips.

Albums are great and they are even more fun when you share them with others, such as your family. You can easily create a family group and share a OneDrive photo album with all of your family members with the minimum of effort.

You can do this on a Windows PC, an Apple Mac or Linux because everything is done in a web browser.

Set up a family group

A Microsoft Outlook email account enables you to create groups and then invite people to them. This is useful for clubs, work teams, projects and so on. Anything where you need to email multiple people and keep them up to date with events and information.

A Family group is a special type of group and it works not only with Outlook, but also with OneDrive. It even has a special place in your Microsoft account.

1 Create your family

Microsoft family group settings at the Microsoft website
Create your Family group in your Microsoft account

To create a Family group, go to family.microsoft.com in a web browser. This redirects you to the Family Safety page in your Microsoft account. In the Your Family section are the members of your family and their status. Click Add a family member.

2 Invite family members

Add members to a family group in a Microsoft account
Add family members to a Microsoft account

A family member can be invited with a phone number or an email. An email is best. They will receive an invitation in their inbox and they can click a button or link to accept it and join. Family members must have a Microsoft account, but it can be a free one.

Create a photo album

Before we can share a photo album with our family group members, we must create an album. If you already have a photo album you can skip to the next section. Here we will see how to create one. Photos can be manually uploaded to your OneDrive online storage, but the simplest method is to enable photo uploads in the OneDrive app on your iPhone or Android phone.

These days you only get 5 GB of free storage when you sign up for OneDrive, but I have been with it since the start and have accumulated 50 GB of free space through various offers over the years.

1 Select photos for an album

Create a OneDrive photo album
Select photos to create an album

Go to onedrive.com in a web browser and select Photos in the sidebar. This displays all of your photos (items in the Pictures folder) in chronological order. Select the photos that you want to include in the album – there is a circle to tick in the top right corner of each thumbnail.

Mouse over a date and you can select a whole day’s worth of photos in one click. This is useful when selecting an event like a holiday or trip.

Click the Share button in the toolbar at the top when all the photos have been selected.

2 Name the photo album

Create a OneDrive photo album
Name the OneDrive photo album

When the Share button is clicked, a panel opens on the right side of the page. Type a name for the photo album in the box at the top and then click the Create button below. The photo album is created and displayed.

3 View your photo albums

View OneDrive photo albums
Photo albums in OneDrive

If it does not automatically display your photo album, select Albums in the menu bar at the top. Here is the album just created. There may also be automatically generated albums here as well. Click an album thumbnail to open it and view the collection of photographs it contains.

Share photos with a family group

Now that we have a photo album on OneDrive, how do we share it with other people, especially family? This is straightforward using the Share feature.

1 Invite people to an album

Share a OneDrive photo album
Invite family to view a OneDrive photo album

Go to the onedrive.com website, select Photos in the sidebar and then click Albums in the menu bar. Click a photo album to open it. Click the Share button in the menu bar at the top. You can enter any name or email address into the Send link box.

As you type, names are suggested, so as soon as you see who you want, you can click it. The interesting is that you can type ‘fam’ and Your Family is suggested. This is your Family group from your Microsoft account. It can contain any number of people and can be selected with a mouse click and then invitations to everyone sent with one more mouse click.

The Family group makes it very easy to invite family members and there is no need to send invitations to everyone separately.

2 Receive an invitation to an album

Invite family to a OneDrive photo album
A family photo album invitation

What is it like to receive an invitation to a family photo album? An email will be received that contains a small number of photos, just a few samples to show you what to expect. At the bottom of the email is a View all photos button. Click it and the album opens in a browser window or a new tab in the browser.

View and manage shared albums

If you ever want to see what you are sharing, manage the people that can see shared items and stop or change sharing permissions, here is how to do it.

1 View OneDrive shares

View OneDrive shared photo albums
OneDrive shared items

Go to OneDrive.com in a web browser and click Shared in the sidebar. All items you share and items shared by others with you are displayed. If it looks confusing, click Shared by me to see only the items you are sharing. Among them will be any shared photo albums.

Move the mouse over an item, such as the shared photo album, and a selection circle appears in the top right corner of the icon. Click it to tick it, then click the i button in the top right corner of the page.

2 View shared album details

OneDrive shared photo album information
File/folder information panel

Open the information panel for a shared photo album on the right and it lists the people that have access. You can see two icons in the screenshot above and the first is to add people. The second, YF, is Your Family. If other people have been invited, their initials will be displayed.

If you want to change the sharing features, click the Manage access link.

3 manage shared photo album access

Change permissions for a OneDrive shared photo album
Modify sharing permissions for a photo album

There is an option to add people and you might want to include a few family friends for example. For groups or people already added, below their name is their permissions. In the screenshot above, Your Family is set to Can Edit. Click the V and there is an option to Change to view only or Stop Sharing.

Whether you let your family edit (add, modify or delete) items or simply view them is up to you. Presumably you do trust them, so Can Edit is OK.


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