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OneDrive & SharePoint are Better Together

Author by Drew Madelung

OneDrive & SharePoint are at the center of the productivity story in Office 365. These are the primary locations for your content. When working with Office 365, your overall collaboration story is better when working with both of them together.

Where do OneDrive & SharePoint fit within Office 365?

The majority of Office 365 solutions work with both OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you are working with Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, or Yammer and you want to work with a file, it will be located in SharePoint or OneDrive. So the question of where do they fit in, the answer is everywhere.

This is especially obvious within the newest collaboration solution Microsoft Teams. In my opinion Teams will become your central toolbox for all your daily work within Office 365 so I will break down the files section of Teams.
If you want to access your Files in Teams there is a tab available on the left. The Files tab provides quick access to your files located in SharePoint and OneDrive in Office 365.

This is broken down into:

  • Recent view
    • Shows you every Office 365 document you've viewed or edited recently
  • Microsoft Teams view
    • Show you all documents that have been created or edited recently with your favorite channels
      • Files in a channel exist as files in a folder in the document library of the Groups SharePoint site
  • Cloud storage view
    • Contains all your OneDrive for Business files as a cloud storage provider

When walking through these views you'll see that you can access your content across OneDrive and SharePoint all within the single Teams application.

Working with both OneDrive & SharePoint

There can be overlap and confusion on where to save your files which I will go through later in this post but I wanted to start out by pointing out differences and similarities of OneDrive and SharePoint. I think a great way to look at is that OneDrive is used for My Files while SharePoint is used for Our Files.

The most common business scenario for working with OneDrive & SharePoint is that you create or upload a file into your OneDrive first. You work with that file for a period of time to build it to what you need. If you only need access to it you keep it stored just in OneDrive. If you need to work on that document with some more people you can copy or move it to a SharePoint site.

Let's breakdown each solution some more and where they overlap.

  • A place where you can store your files from your computer into the cloud, and access them from any device, or share them with others.
    • Accessible only to you by default
    • You own all the files stored in OneDrive
    • The lifecycle of your OneDrive is tied to your account
    • You have the power to grant file/folder access to others
  • A place that you and your team members can collaborate on files and digital content. It is set up to facilitate easier collaboration and communication with team members.
    • Files shared by default
    • The SharePoint admins or site owners are in control
    • The lifecycle of the files are tied to the site not your account
    • If you have proper site permission, you can grant file/folder access others
OneDrive & SharePoint
  • Utilize the OneDrive sync tool to bring cloud files to your device on both SharePoint & OneDrive
  • When working with the SharePoint mobile app, you access files using the OneDrive app
  • Access all your files in Office 365 in the OneDrive web interface
  • When emailing a file use cloudy links in Outlook that can automatically grant access to a file instead of emailing an actual attachment

Where to save your files and when

There are best practices when you should save files to OneDrive or SharePoint. As I highlighted above each solution has a scenario that you should be using it for. If you are saving your files in the improper location it can be confusing to you or your team members when trying to work with it or find it.

A primary example that I see happen is when someone in your company only uses OneDrive and then leaves the company. Since a OneDrive site is tied to your account it becomes will be removed after a period of time that your admin declares. The files that your user had shared with people are now gone. This is not the best way to store your files in Office 365.

Saving files in OneDrive should be done when…
  • Only you need access to them
  • You only need to share a file with 1 or 2 people for better security control
  • There isn't a SharePoint site that it belongs in
    • If you believe it should be in a SharePoint site make sure you copy or move it once it is created
Saving files to SharePoint should be done when…
  • You want them to more visible or relevant
  • You want to spread ownership and permissions
  • Other related files are located there
  • You want to apply a more enhanced business process
    • Like a workflow

Want to learn more?


Features are continuously coming along that are enhancing and changing the productivity story in Office 365. Microsoft Ignite is coming to Orlando this month and there will be a lot of new information and customer stories about working with OneDrive and SharePoint. If you will be down, feel free join me on Tuesday the 26th as I will be speaking about this topic some more at my session titled Can I get a side of OneDrive for Business with my SharePoint?



Drew Madelung

Technical Architect