20-Minute Tech Talk:

SharePoint and OneDrive Tips & Tricks

Whether working in the office or remotely, storing files in the cloud is common nowadays. With so many options to choose from, we realize selecting the best platform for your business can be overwhelming. Watch our recorded webinar below and learn about the features of both SharePoint and OneDrive and how best to access, share and collaborate on all your files from anywhere.

Watch the replay here:

Complete transcript below:

All right, it is 12:10 on the dot. We’re going to go ahead and get started. Thank you for joining us today. I am Cathy Coloff from IT Radix and we’re going to spend a little bit of time delving into SharePoint and OneDrive–specifically, document libraries. I’m gonna do a little bit of a hands-on demo so you can see how this works in real life and, as I mentioned, if you have any questions, please we like these to be interactive either unmute yourself or type it in the chat and my Wizard of Oz behind the scenes curtain, Dan, will keep me honest to make sure that I answer everyone’s questions so with that we will get started.

I think most of you know who I am. I’m Cathy from IT Radix. You know, I’ve been doing this for about 30 plus years give or take. I don’t like to admit my age anymore at that point, but we’ve done IT and managed services since 2008. I have this wonderful crack team as I said with the with us, 30 people approximately, you’ll see some of them. All the IT Radix people if you’re looking on the video you can wave now. I’m not going to mention them all but some of you probably know Robin and Ken and Paula and Marina from talking to us on the phone. Certainly the technical folks as well. We’ve been a Microsoft Silver Partner for quite a while. We like to be your trusted technology guide and what I will always say is that, while I’m an avid user of Office 365, I don’t know everything. I always like to learn new things. So, as we go through, I find that often somebody will ask me a question, I learned something new today too. So with that, let’s get started.

SharePoint is an Electronic Filing System

What I wanted to do was just sort of remind everybody, revisit a little bit, we did a webinar maybe about a couple months ago on SharePoint and just remind you what SharePoint is so that we can compare and contrast that between SharePoint and OneDrive. SharePoint is an online collaboration system. It allows you to share files, you can share information, you can have things like a calendar, you could have a blog or a news feed, all kinds of things and it is essentially like an electronic bulletin board on the web. You usually interface with it through a web page. It is typically centrally managed. It is fully integrated across the entire Microsoft 365 platform and you can build workflows. You can do a lot of very sophisticated things with SharePoint. Because it’s web based or like a web browser web page, typically people are using it through Edge, Chrome, Firefox… things of that nature. SharePoint document libraries is just a small component of SharePoint and a document library. I like to think of it as just an electronic filing system. Just like on your computer, you have a folder that says “documents” and under there maybe you make “clients” and “vendors” and things like that. You can create a document library in SharePoint and it gives you a place to store all your files. SharePoint is central. It is centrally managed typically by someone like ourselves with your IT Administrators.

Let's Compare and Contrast SharePoint and OneDrive

So SharePoint again is the document library and the library where you would put things so to compare and contrast that with OneDrive… OneDrive is strictly files. It is a file hosting service. It has been around since I think 2007, if I went back and looked at when it came on the scene. It is intended to be a place where you can put files either locally on your computer and sync them up to the cloud or you can have them strictly in the cloud, but it is a file synchronization service. So what that means is you save a file, let’s say you have it saved on your computer and you set it to sync, it will sync the file from your computer up to the cloud. It is also fully integrated with Microsoft 365, but it does have one distinction. You can have a personal OneDrive area which I like to liken it to how you have “My Documents” on your computer. That’s the personal OneDrive and if you decide to link it or share it to your SharePoint document libraries, you can now sync your SharePoint document libraries down to your computer as well. And that typically, as I mentioned before, is centrally managed. So your IT Administrator may say, hey, you can’t sync this library down to your computer and they can control that at the central level and that’s really important from a security standpoint.

Let's Demo SharePoint and OneDrive

All right, so now, what I really want to do is spend the rest of the time kind of doing a little bit of a demo. So I’m going to stop this slideshow. I’m going to minimize this and I’m going to come out here to look at my computer. So there’s a few things I want to sort of start with so let me bring up my browser. Typically, when you log into Office 365 as I mentioned it’s web-based and the app launcher here if you click on the app launcher, you can get in you’ll notice there’s a OneDrive option. You’ll notice there’s also a SharePoint option. As I mentioned, SharePoint is a web page; OneDrive is files only. So if I click on the files-only version of it, if you look at it, it is just folders and then underneath each of these folders there will be files. If you click on SharePoint, I’m going to just go straight to the one that we have, this is the SharePoint that we’ve built up in this Magic Kingdom that we’ve created for IT Radix and today my persona is Be Connected and the Magic Kingdom as you notice from a SharePoint standpoint there’s lots of things here. There’s links, there’s a news feed, there’s an activity feed AND there’s this document library right here called Documents for the entire team. We’ve also created a few other document libraries one called Finance one called Directors Only and the idea there is that those are restricted document libraries that only certain people can get into. So you may, if you have a file server environment in your world this would be akin to having a public share that everybody can get to and then maybe a management share or an accounting share that has restricted access and each one of those becomes a document library in SharePoint and what I’m going to do is show you how you can get to those not just through the web but also through the OneDrive client that you install on your computer.

So if you have the OneDrive client on your computer, let me minimize this, hopefully you can see it down here in the lower, right corner down near the time on my computer this little blue cloud is the OneDrive application. If this is running and it’s all up to date is when you hover over it it says “up to date” that means that everything that’s on my local computer that I’ve chosen to sync to the cloud they are 100 in sync. One of the things that you want to pay attention to is if you do decide to use OneDrive and to sync things up to the cloud that sometimes that little blue cloud down there will get maybe a red X on it or it might go gray or it might have a little pause button. All of those things are telling you that, hey, if there’s a red X on it there’s some kind of a problem or a conflict between what’s going on on your local machine in the cloud. if it’s paused, you know the sort of universal sign for pause with the two lines on it, that means that the synchronization between your computer and the cloud is paused. It is not running actively at the moment. And you can do that intentionally just by right-clicking on it and saying “pause” in here right here pause syncing and I’m not going to actually do this right now because I want everything to sync, but you can choose this if you want. I will also tell you sometimes I work in my car offline and don’t have internet access it is automatically paused. If it sees that you’re on a slow link like maybe you’re hot spotted to your cell phone it will by default be paused but you can choose to unpause it and it will warn you that your minutes will tick up and things like that. So you want to make sure if you’re using OneDrive that you’re kind of keeping an eye on this little blue puffy cloud icon down in the lower, right corner. You want it to look like it is right now which means everything’s up to date, everything is syncing.

OneDrive Offers "Files on Demand" to Free Up Storage

The other concept that OneDrive brings to the table that is relative, it’s not new but it did not exist in the beginning. It’s called Files on Demand. So Files on Demand, what that does is if you think about it when you had a file server, your file server typically had maybe way more storage than your computer did and so you can’t necessarily pull all of those files down from the file server onto your local computer because you simply just don’t have enough storage space. So the solution to this was Files on Demand and what that means is while you can see all those files up in the cloud, it does not actually bring them down to your computer until you take an action that requires it to come down off the cloud and open it locally on your computer. So what this did was it allowed you to have you know lots and lots of data stored up in the cloud but you’re only bringing down what you need to your local computer and in some cases maybe you need nothing on your local computer. You can see all the folders and you can see the files and the folder names but until you actually pull them down they’re not on your local machine. So just to sort of orient you in terms of how this looks, I mentioned there was a personal and when you link it to the OneDrive for Business to SharePoint it puts two icons on your computer under File Explorer. So I launched File Explorer down here and this is what it looks like. You can see that there is a personal OneDrive and this is our playground tenant called IT Radix and it has the little traditional blue puffy cloud and then this one here that looks like a building that is actually the SharePoint document libraries that you have up in the cloud.

Again, centrally managed so the building is supposed to be the enterprise so this is the centrally-managed things…the ones that are in the OneDrive personally managed. What that means is if I share something from my personal OneDrive out to someone either inside the organization or outside the organization, I am in control. The IT Admin can’t get control unless we you go in and take over and take ownership. But in the situation where it’s under the SharePoint under the enterprise control at that point we as IT Administrators can say, hey, you know I don’t want to let you share anything outside of my organization, so I’m going to prevent you from doing that. So this is important from a security standpoint. If you look at it though, it looks a lot like what you might see if you had a server drive mapped you know you get the you know down here this is an example of a server drive that you might typically see you know in our case we have a server called Zion and we had an S drive which was the equivalent of our common share. In the SharePoint world, it might be something like this where you see the enterprise and then you see the name of the SharePoint site is called the Magic Kingdom and then this is the name of the document library. And when you click the “expand” button, you can see that there’s all these folders here underneath–Backstage and Movie Scripts–and what I want to do real quick is just sort of compare and contrast what this looks like if you were to look at it from the web. So here’s documents for the entire team. I’m going to click on that, I’m going to see in the web browser it brings up something similar to what you just saw over here in File Explorer you see the documents for the entire team. You see the two folders which are Backstage and Movie Scripts, they’re here, and then if I drill down into these folders you can see these are all the files that are inside of Backstage. And if I were to click over here in the web, they look 100% the same. That is because OneDrive the application is keeping these two files in sync.

Now the next thing I wanted to just run through was back to this Files on Demand. If you look at this, each of these files has a little icon sort of indicating the status that it has with OneDrive. With OneDrive, as I mentioned, it’s syncing a copy so if you change it here it changes and pushes it up there, if you change it up there it pushes it back down here, if you’ve pulled it down. So the Files on Demand, these icons are trying to explain to you what is going on. So in the case of the one where it’s a white cloud outlined in blue, that means that the file exists only up in the cloud and when you open it, at this point if I double click on it, you know it will open the file. So here’s the file and you notice it changed it to a white circle with a green check. What that did is by the action of my opening that file, it pulled a copy of it down to my local computer. So now the file exists both here and in the cloud. Okay?

So you’ll see that I have a little bit of a mix here. I have some that are up in the cloud only and I have some that are here locally. Now sometimes, maybe you’re working offline, maybe you always want to have a copy local on your computer. So let’s just say I always want to have this no matter what, even if I’m offline. I always want to have these 10 areas, 10 hidden areas of Walt Disney on my computer. If I right click on it, I can choose–of course, I can’t see it right now because I’m typing too fast, talking too fast–“Always Keep on This Device.” If I choose that, you’ll notice that it changes to a green circle with a white check and that means that no matter what, this copy this file is always here. So if I’m off the internet, I will always be able to get to this file. That’s the distinction. So the ones that are in the cloud only, which is the cloud icon, if you’re offline and you go to open this locally inside of File Explorer, it will not be able to open the file. You have to be online to get into this file. If they’re in the green, if they’re checked either the green dark circle or the white circle with the green check both of those are local now and you would be able to open it even if you’re offline. So those are the meanings of the icons. 

Sharing Files Inside and Outside Your Organization

The other thing that you can do here is, let’s just pretend that you wanted to share a file with somebody either in the organization or outside of the organization. You can just right click on it and choose “share” right here on the menu and then it’s going to ask you who you want to share it with. and if your IT Administrator has allowed you to share it, you can fill this in and it’ll do a little a little bit of an email message. It’ll send them a copy of the file when you hit “send.” Okay? So, if you want to share it’s pretty easy just to do that right here. You do not have to go back to the web interface if you’re not looking to do that. Let’s see, what else did I want to show you?
Question #1: Can You Run More Than One OneDrive Accounts Simultaneously?

I’m going to pause for just a second and see if there’s some questions here, which I think there are. So one of the questions was “Can you run more than one OneDrive accounts simultaneously?” and the answer is absolutely yes! I personally have two… I have one for my personal family life that I have and I also have one for work. When you look at it over here in File Explorer, it will just show up as, you know, one is IT Radix and one is Cathy’s personal and on the description there it will put enough information there that you can distinguish between the two. So, that is the answer to that.

Question #2: Can Files be Protected so People Can't Change Them and Vice Versa?

Let’s see, the next question I saw is, “Can files be protected so people can’t change them and vice versa?” So, the answer to that is, it depends. Okay, for that particular one, if you’re sharing something out of your personal OneDrive, you as the person who’s sharing it, you need to determine if you’re going to let people edit it or not. In the case of if you’ve put it up in SharePoint and it’s in a document library, typically what we’ll do is have a discussion with the client around what do you want to do. So in the case, you’ll notice I have three document libraries here. Directors Only is restricted to a group of people inside of our little Magic Kingdom here that is two people. Only two people can edit it and we’ve restricted that on the think of it as the cloud server side, the SharePoint side, so that only those two people can get into it. So you can pick and choose how you do that, whereas in this Documents for the Entire Team we’ve allowed everybody in our little pretend Magic Kingdom. They can make changes to this as much as they like. And the same thing is true with the Finance, we’ve restricted that one as well.

Collaborating is Simple with SharePoint and OneDrive

The other thing I wanted to show you is that when you come in here, as you’re editing these I believe I have my colleague, Justin Case, here with me and I will say I didn’t prep him for this so he may not be prepared but you can click on this and if you say “open” it will open it. Typically I’ve already got this set up but you just say “Always Use Excel” it’s going to launch this file in Excel we can co-edit this at the same time. So that if Justin Case came in here and started making changes with me, he would show up here in the upper corner a little icon that would show his name so that I would know who was collaborating with me. You notice that this opened in the full-on version of Excel. Okay, if you don’t want to open it in the full-on version of Excel, you can just right click on it, let me pick one, right click and say “View Online” and what it does instead of opening it in Excel, it opens it in the web browser. You can make the changes here. They will automatically get saved up to the cloud. Or, if you don’t want to continue editing in the browser, you can always choose here “Open in the Desktop” and now it opens it locally on your computer. But you can collaborate whether it’s in the OneDrive for personal if you’ve allowed, if you’ve shared it with somebody, and certainly if you’ve put it in the SharePoint document library which you’ve synced you can collaborate very easily through all of this. Okay? Let’s see, any other questions?

I’m looking good, so I think I will yeah, if Justin wants to try to edit, I opened a file… this one was under 2021. If you want to pop in there, we’ll see that he should pop up here, the balance sheet and then as you’re working together you can co-edit

it’s extremely convenient, I would say. And the other thing, I just wanted to mention, so as I make the changes, you see up here it’ll say “saved” as changes get made. Now I haven’t made any changes, but let me just copy some data here just to make a few little changes so we see some activity. I’ll paste it in here. It’ll go up, it’ll say “saving” and when it’s in that saving mode it’s really fast but it said “saving” and then “saved” you can notice that the icons change to the little circular arrow that means it’s syncing it from your local machine up to the cloud so as you make the changes the syncing is happening real time. All right, but OneDrive for Business is typically if you’ve come from a server environment we find that most people prefer to interface with SharePoint this way. There are limitations though around this, as I mentioned, you can’t pull everything down to your local machine because you’ll run out of disk space and then the other thing is there are some limitations in terms of syncing it down to your computer, how deep the files can go and then also how many it can keep track of. So as we’re moving people to SharePoint we’re having these conversations with our clients to help them make sure that whatever they’re pushing up to SharePoint is not exceeding some of those limitations, and if they do, then we can architect the system such that we compensate for that. Okay, any other questions?

All right, well it’s a quiet group today which is always great. Just to remind you about the icons. You know the Files on Demand is a great thing. Online Only, the cloud with the blue outline, the On This Device is with the check circle and always available. I will say as I just said that I’m going to do one more thing. So I have a laptop. I don’t necessarily want everything on my computer on my laptop because there’s a limited amount of space on my laptop. So if you decide that, hey, I don’t want any more of this stuff on my computer you can just right click on it and say Free Up Space and then what it’ll do is it’ll push it back up to the cloud and then you’ll see it go to this status. It will say, since I have that file open it may not do that while I’m in the middle of it but once I get out of the file, it will push it up and then it will free up the space on my local laptop. So I have had a few clients where they’ve filled up their whole machine because they chose to sync it all down and that was not necessarily the best choice. So if you want to free up space, you just right click and you can do that at the folder level too. You don’t have to do it an individual file level. You could pick the top level parent and right click say Free Up Space and it’ll push everything down below it back up to the cloud.

OneDrive Mobile App is Great!

And then the last thing I was just going to mention, there is a OneDrive mobile app for your phone or for your Android and iOS. It’s great; you can get to all your files so anything you’ve stored in your personal OneDrive or anything that you’ve made available through your SharePoint document libraries you can get to them from your tablet or your phone. I will always remind you just like you have MFA on Outlook, we want you to have MFA on all of this. So please be sure if you don’t have MFA or if that sounds like you don’t know what I’m talking about, please reach out to us. You want to make sure that your files, because now your files are up in the cloud and potentially on mobile devices and things of that nature, you always want to make sure that you have the appropriate security layers in place to protect them.

Let’s see, I saw one more question here… the recording will be put up on our webpage so you’ll be able to get it. We’ll send out the link for that so you can you can get that after it’s been trimmed up a little bit just to trim off the top the beginning but, yes, it will absolutely be available afterwards online. All right, so we will be sending out a feedback form. If you would like to possibly win a $5 Starbucks gift card, we would love the feedback. We want to know what you thought, was this useful in terms of the information shared, and what other topics you might be interested in in the future. So with that, I will say, “goodbye…take care everyone!”