Microsoft 365 cloud storage: What you need to know

With OneDrive for Business, Microsoft provides personal cloud storage in Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). Here you will learn how to use the tool optimally in everyday work. […]

OneDrive for Business is your personal storage in Microsoft 365. It offers you 1,000 gigabytes of storage for your data. In the first place, only you have access to it, unless you share individual files. A well-known competitor is Dropbox. OneDrive for Business stores your files in the cloud, like everything in Office 365, so you can access them from anywhere.

OneDrive (Personal) and OneDrive for Business have nothing to do with each other. While the often free OneDrive (Personal) is an offer for private customers, OneDrive for Business is only included in Microsoft’s business and Enterprise plans.

This is the former mysite from SharePoint. A separate site collection is created for each user, on which the user is the website collection administrator. With OneDrive for Business, only the “Documents” library from this site Collection is used. Each user receives 1 TB of storage, which can be limited or expanded by the administrator. The storage space occupied by the users is not important for the” SharePoint quota”, which is available for an Office 365 tenant. Basically, the user can share his files with any internal or external person. However, the share function for file sharing can also be restricted by an administrator.

New files can be added in OneDrive for Business either via the “Upload” button at the top of the ribbon or via drag and drop (see Fig. 1).

Figure 1: To add files to OneDrive, you just have to upload them or drag and drop them into the window or into a destination folder there (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier/Microsoft

OneDrive is also available directly in the Microsoft Office applications. Click on “File”, “Save”, here you will see the entry “OneDrive”. You then have the option of simply assigning a file name and clicking on “Save” will automatically save the file to your OneDrive for Business (see Fig. 2).

blankFigure 2: Microsoft Office applications such as Word or Excel automatically offer OneDrive as a possible location (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

You can get an overview of your files stored in OneDrive directly in your browser. The display can either be made as a list or you select the tile view at the top right (see Fig. 3).

blankFigure 3: The user can choose between list or tile view to view the files stored in OneDrive (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier/Microsoft

In the left bar of your OneDrive for Business, next to your files, you will see the most recently used files and files that you have shared. You can also find the trash at this point. Below you have access to the various SharePoint sites and the document libraries contained therein. You can access it directly from this location. These are no longer your personal documents, but documents within the various teams and SharePoint sites.

To find a file quickly, use the search function. Here you have the opportunity to browse your complete OneDrive. This means that you search not only file names ,but also the contents of the files (sh. Fig. 4).

blankFigure 4: The search function in OneDrive searches not only file names, but also content (c) IDGScreenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

To edit a file directly in the browser, it does not need to be downloaded locally. Changes are possible directly in the cloud. To return to OneDrive from editing in an Office application, simply click on “Documents” at the top of the title bar of the application.

OneDrive for Business always generates a version history of the saved files in the background. This can be called up by clicking with the right mouse button in the context menu. In this way, earlier versions of a file can also be opened, edited or deleted (see Fig. 5).

blankFigure 5: The version history can also be used to edit previous versions of a file in OneDrive for Business (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

As in the group applications SharePoint or Teams, files stored in your personal OneDrive for Business can be shared with other people and thus edited together. Sharing is done either directly via the “Share” button or via the “Share” command at the top of the ribbon. Here you can also set the different Office-typical access permissions for a file (see Fig. 6). This procedure only works for files from Office applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

blankFigure 6: Files shared in OneDrive can be edited together (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

If a joint processing is to be limited to a certain period of time, the release can also be limited with an end date. If the release was granted via a release link, this link expires on the specified date. Further down the mask there is the possibility to block the download of a file. People can then view the file only in the browser, but not download it. Once you have shared a file with others, you will also see this in the “Sharing” column. “Private” means that only you have access to it. “Shared” means that you have shared this file with others (see Fig. 7).

blankFigure 7: Whether a file is shared with other people can be seen in the “Sharing” column (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

When you click on it, the “Manage Access”sidebar will automatically appear. You will then see which people you have shared this file with. Here you can also revise a release by clicking on “Remove link”. After closing the right sidebar, the file is then displayed as “Private” again.

The files are currently only in the cloud. If you want to access it if you do not have Internet access, you should set the synchronization of the files. In the ribbon you will find the entry “Synchronize”. This will automatically connect to your PC. The files will then be downloaded to your PC. There are several options here (see Fig. 8):

  • Files with a green check mark are located directly on your PC. The cloud signals that this file is displayed but not yet downloaded. This means you can access it directly, but only as long as you have an Internet connection.
  • If you want to have the file constantly on your PC – even offline – , select “Always keep on this device”with the right mouse button.

blankFigure 8: In order to be able to edit files offline in Microsoft OneDrive, they must be synchronized (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier/Microsoft

Files that are synchronized do not consume space on the PC as long as the cloud is displayed. The green check mark indicates that a file has been downloaded and thus consumes local space.

For mobile use via smartphone or tablet, OneDrive for Business is available via download in the following app stores:

You can also use the mobile apps to view the recently used files and the shared files. You can easily access the document libraries via touch on “Websites” and you can also open and edit a file directly from here.

blankMicrosoft OnDrive Mobile App (c) Screenshot Thomas Maier / Microsoft

* Thomas Maier heads the 365 Academy and works in this position as a consultant and trainer on Microsoft 365, collaboration and SharePoint. “Working more productively-this is what drives me. Both in the SharePoint environment, as well as in Microsoft 365”, so the author. The goal of the expert is that users can make better use of their Microsoft 365 and thus increase productivity in the company.

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