Connecting people is the heart of what we do at Upwork. Every day, we connect users across over 180 countries in a global marketplace, giving you the secure tools you need to connect and get more done.
Sharing information is an important first step in any relationship formed through Upwork, but it's important to do so safely and follow Upwork’s Terms of Service (TOS). Start working confidently with these best practices.
Sharing Documents, Files, and Project Materials
Upwork offers many ways to share documents and files directly.
Troubleshooting? Find our FAQs and Pro Tips for sharing files and URLs here.
Upwork Message Center
Attach files directly in Upwork Messages. To attach a file, drag and drop it right into your message room, or use the attachment tool to the left of the message box. Anyone in the room can open attached files at any time.
You may also access these files quickly in the Files & Links sidebar in the Upwork Message Center. Click the (...) button at the top right corner of the conversation.
At this time, your files must be smaller than 1 GB to use this feature.
Learn more about using Upwork Messages to collaborate here.
Dropbox is integrated directly with Upwork Messages. To access your Dropbox files, select the attachment symbol to the left of the message box and select Share via Dropbox. From here, sign into your Dropbox account and select the files you wish to share.
If you make a video call through Upwork Messages, you can share your screen with anyone else on the call. This is a simple way to share information about a project and still control access to documents or materials that may be sensitive.
Once you have started a video call, select the screenshare icon at the bottom of the video. You can choose to share your whole screen, or select a particular window to show.
You can share information with quick screenshots through the Upwork Desktop App. In the Message Center, simply select the tool button just left of Send in the message draft box.
Learn more about screenshots here.
Many clients and freelancers use various project management, database, file-sharing, and storage systems to maintain their information. Users are free to share project-relevant information from these systems, including by providing direct access to them.
As with anyone you've just met, be cautious about sharing your personal or confidential information, including access to your private systems. Be careful with any sensitive content and consider using limited permissions settings when possible.
Before a contract starts, we only allow sharing systems access for project scoping, not communications.
Portfolios are a great way for clients to learn about freelancers, and for freelancers to showcase their skills.
Portfolios display past work so that clients can see real examples of a freelancer's skills. A portfolio is not a listing of past jobs, a resume, a C.V., or a LinkedIn profile.
Freelancers might include contact information directly in their portfolios. It's still okay to share, just remember to keep all pre-contract communications on Upwork.
Portfolios take many forms, such as:
- A collection of logo designs
- Past web pages or apps built
- A series of translated documents
- A personal website with work highlights
- A PDF document
- A web-based profile on another site, such as GitHub
When sharing examples of past work in a portfolio on Upwork or anywhere else, freelancers should remember to protect both their own and their clients' intellectual property. Be careful to only share materials with permission.
Upwork provides the ability for freelancers to create a customized portfolio to showcase past work right on our platform. You can learn more about this feature here.
Sharing Contact Information
Clear, open communication is important in any job. Use the Upwork Message Center to chat directly with clients, freelancers, and team members.
Remember that it is against the Upwork Terms of Service to request or share contact information prior to the start of a contract. This includes sharing contact information in profiles, proposals, job postings, and invites.
Communication with people in your Upwork network also needs to stay in Upwork Messages unless you already knew someone outside of Upwork or are working on a contract together.
You can chat in real time or leave messages for when a user comes online in the Upwork Message Center. Learn more about using Upwork Messages here.
Start a video or voice call right from the Upwork Message Center at any time. Learn how here.
Following our Terms of Service
It's against our TOS to share your contact information or to ask others to share theirs before a contract starts.
We provide secure tools for you to communicate directly from the Upwork platform, as described above. Once a contract is in place, you can choose to share your contact information and use other tools to manage your project, too.
We always recommend that users should be cautious when sharing any sensitive or personal information with anyone they do not know. Learn more about best practices for online safety here.
Details and Definitions
Upwork clients on Business or Enterprise plans are the only groups exempt from this rule. These users may share or request contact information, and may conduct communication, outside of Upwork before a contract is started.
You may not share any of your personal contact information with another user on Upwork prior to starting a contract. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical address
- Link to a contact form or form requesting contact information
- Link to an applicant management system or means to submit a proposal or application outside of Upwork
- Any handles, user names, or information that would enable a user to contact you on social media or another website/platform/application that includes a communications tool (such as Skype, Slack, or Wechat ID)
Communication is important and many kinds of information can be helpful to share before a project begins. Project details, systems information, and relevant websites can all help freelancers and clients gather important information. Other types of information that can be shared include:
- Portfolios and samples of past work
- Website URLs that pertain to the project
- Documents or files containing information about the project
- Completed work from similar projects
- Legal documents
Except as provided under "Exceptions," users should not include or require contact information with these materials. All communications must take place on Upwork before a contract has started. If your portfolio or website contains contact information, you should advise your client or freelancer that they should only contact you through Upwork.
There are two cases when users may share their personal contact information before a contract begins:
- If users must share or collect information that may include contact information — such as non-disclosure agreements, business licenses, etc — for legal purposes.
- If users must provide their email address to gain access to a system for the purposes of scoping a project.
In these cases, contact information is permitted to be shared, but all communication must still take place on Upwork.
Yes! We know that sometimes the best way to see if a relationship will work out is by testing it, so we welcome test projects. After the contract has started you are free to share contact information and communicate in the best way for the relationship.
Unless an exception applies, it is against the terms to request contact information before a contract starts. If a request is made, inform them that this is against Upwork’s Terms of Service and as such you cannot provide them with that information.
Yes, as long as you or the person you are scheduling with does not need to share their contact information to do so.
No. Except as provided above, any document you provide cannot include contact information. You must remove any such information from your resume before you send it to a client.
In the job search feed results, the job preview will show a symbol to indicate clients as a Business or Enterprise client. This symbol, a light blue building, can also be seen on the right-hand side of the job post with other client details.
If your portfolio contains your contact information, it is still okay to share that portfolio with your clients. You must let your client know, and all communication must take place on Upwork.
Yes. Upwork provides a space for you to include a link to your external portfolio in your proposals and it is fine to share your external portfolio this way.
We understand that you may need to exchange information to get work done. You can always exchange contact information after a contract starts. But you can’t share contact information in your job post, proposal, messages, or during an interview before a contract starts. Instead, you can use the tools Upwork provides, like Upwork Messages, to connect and interview. Learn more about keeping your information safe.