Microsoft Onedrive For Business Plane Wing in Clouds

How to use Microsoft OneDrive for business

11 min read
Judith Kallos

Succeeding in business means you need to use all the available arrows in your quiver. Sometimes, especially when just starting out, we don’t even realize how many arrows we have. Microsoft OneDrive for business is just one of those arrows.

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based service included in Microsoft 365 that provides you the flexibility to keep your files synced in the cloud. You can then access those files from any device at any time.

And there is no limit to the type of files you can store with OneDrive. Microsoft OneDrive for business offers support for more than 270 file formats and 100 languages. Learn more by checking out our Help Center's guide on What is OndDrive for Business.

Just imagine, you are away from the office and you find yourself with an unexpected opportunity to provide some data to a potential customer. You could show them from your device, print to a local wireless printer or send them a link via email. Now that's how you make an incredible first impression.

Related: How to supercharge productivity with Microsoft 365 tools

Editor’s note: Microsoft 365 from GoDaddy offers all the tools you’ll need to managing your client relationships — from Microsoft Invoicing so you can get paid on time, to OneDrive so you can access files from anywhere.

Launch your business in minutes with GoDaddy Airo™

How does Microsoft OneDrive work?

When you create Word files in Microsoft 365 you can save those files to your OneDrive which then is synced to the cloud so that you can access them from anywhere. Whether that be a web browser, computer or mobile device. You can also upload any of your files from your desktop or other devices to your OneDrive.

How to use Microsoft OneDrive

When starting out with OneDrive for business the first thing you want to do is think about how you want to organize your files. Each of us has our own unique organizational style. You could look at 10 different computers and find 10 different “systems,” each of which works for that computer's owner.

Taking the time to map out your file structure (folder, names and which file types go where) from the start will help to avoid having a file structure that is not intuitive causing avoidable frustration.

You can name folders for activities, due dates or projects and then have file type specific folders within each.

The key is to come up with a system that works for you so that you naturally know where to go for the files you want to work on at any given time.

Your OneDrive home page gives you an at-a-glance view of your documents, when they were last modified, who they were modified by, and the file size. You'll also be able to see the Sharing status: private or shared.

The next thing to do would be to go through the entire dashboard and settings so that you know what is what and then configure everything to work exactly as you like.

Go to the OneDrive Admin link in the lower left of your OneDrive home page and go through all the settings there.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Dashboard Settings

Next, to store or share files with OneDrive, here's what you do:

  • On your computer, use File Explorer to open OneDrive. Or, from Microsoft 365, open OneDrive from the app launcher.
  • View and upload personal files, or share documents or folders by clicking Share and then either invite others to view the documents or sending them a link.
  • Drag files from your desktop to the OneDrive window.

Sharing files with OneDrive is easy

With OneDrive you can share or give permission to allow others to view or even edit your files or folders. This is effective when collaborating with others on an important project.

Microsoft OneDrive for business will create a link that can be shared through email or any other way you choose. Don't worry about security — everything in your OneDrive is private until you make the decision to share it.

Shared links are great for sharing files with groups that might include people you do not know. Examples would be sharing on social media and posting to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Your OneDrive links can be used in emails or text messages, too.

For example, let's say you have project that a bunch of people are working on. Using the Outlook Web App, you can include a file that you have in your OneDrive as a link instead of as an attachment. By attaching a file as a link with edit permissions, you automatically give everyone working on the project that you send that link to permission to edit that file.

Everyone then works on the same copy in OneDrive for business.

When you provide editing permissions and shared folders, the contact you share with can add the shared folders to their own OneDrive. This allows them to keep the folder alongside their own folders and items, easily move items between folders, and more easily work on it offline.

You also have the opportunity to set an expiration date to the folders that are “shareable.” This is a useful feature for when you only need to collaborate on certain aspects of a project or program within a limited time-frame.

Any updates made will sync with the shared folder, so everyone with access to that folder is up-to-date, keeping everyone in the loop.

You can share photos, Microsoft Office documents, any other files or entire folders.

Quick tips for sharing with Microsoft OneDrive for business

Sharing files or folders with Microsoft OneDrive for business is easy but there are many steps involved. Just follow along and you’ll be on to sharing your files with ease and collaborating with your team and clients in not time.

1. Log in to your account

Log in to your Microsoft 365 account and then click OneDrive in apps.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Apps Login

2. Choose files or folders

Select the file or folder that you want to share by selecting the circle to the left of the item. You can also choose multiple items at one time.

To share the file or folder with a link: Choose Get a link, and in the Share box, select Anyone with the link can edit this item.

To share the folder by email: Choose Email, and in the Share box, select Can edit.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Selecting Document

For either sharing option, select Share in the top-of-page menu.

4. Set your permissions

When the Share Send Link box appears you can choose your sharing variables. Allow editing – or not — or even set an expiration date.

5. Share with your contacts

Type a name or email address, your message and the click Send. An email will then be sent with a link to that file. When you begin to enter info in the box, you can also choose a contact or contacts from the list that appears from your established Contacts list.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Linkshare Settings

You also have the option to Copy Link or Open Outlook to share your link.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Send Link

Once a Share link is created, moving forward you can select that document and click Copy link in the top navigation bar to get a copy of the link at any time in the future.

Getting notified when your shared file in OneDrive is modified

When I share a link, I get a notice on my phone that states “The Link you sent was clicked!” When the link is clicked by the recipient they are sent an access code to the email address you sent the link to.

This verifies the recipient is the intended party before they are allowed access.

When you log in to Microsoft 365, your home page will note the edited documents and who, by email, made the edits. You'll see your shared documents and if there were any comments made.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Document Updates

At any time you can change your files to “read only” to prevent further modifications.

Microsoft Onedrive For Business Protect Document

What about Microsoft OneDrive security?

When you talk about sharing files, it is common to worry about access and security. In the OneDrive Admin area you are offered the choice of setting your default link type to:

  • Shareable: Anyone with the link
  • Internal: Only people in your organization
  • Direct: Specific People.

You can then go further and set your external sharing based on “Anyone, New and existing external users, Existing external users and only people in your organization.”

Advanced settings include:

  • Allow or block sharing with people on specific domains.
  • External users must accept sharing invitations using the same account that the invitations were sent to.
  • Let external users share items they don't own.

Sharing settings also display to owners the names of the people who view their files.

The many benefits of Microsoft OneDrive for your business

Microsoft OneDrive isn’t just about sharing documents — there are many benefits for your business.

Access from any device

The primary and most exciting benefit is that you can store your documents and files in one central location so that you can access them at any time from any device. You can sync OneDrive for business to your computer and visa versa.

Mobile device apps

This includes your mobile devices as well. You can access your files right from your mobile devices with the OneDrive app for Android, iOS or Windows Phone.

Customize your organizational layout

I don't know about you, but keeping organized is something I am constantly struggling with and looking for ways to improve. Microsoft OneDrive for business helps me do that by allowing me to organize by file type, date, project — whatever I want.

You could create a unique system that works for you, too.

Related: How to use OneNote to organize your business

Work offline

You can download the content you want to work on and get to work without having to be online. This is great for when you might be traveling or where internet connectivity is not reliable or available.

With OneDrive you can work on files offline knowing that once you go online, your files will automatically sync with OneDrive.

File restore

Never worry about malware, corruption or accidental deletions due to OneDrive's File Restore. You have the option of undo changes or actions made to your files and folders by restoring your OneDrive to a date within the previous 30 days.

Flexible syncing

You don't have to worry about syncing your entire OneDrive account on all your devices. You can select which files are available on each of your devices. This is advantageous for your mobile devices or tablets where storage might be limited.

You can then sync only the documents that you want to take with you on your mobile devices.

Never lose your files

Another less discussed benefit is you never have to worry about losing your documents. Hard disk failures can cause you to lose important files regardless of what backup system you have in place. What if your scheduled backup is the next morning after working on a project all day? Let's not forget about fire or theft that can cause lost files.

None of that is a concern with OneDrive – your docs, files and videos are all in the cloud.

Scan directly to OneDrive

Use your mobile device's camera to create digital copies of receipts, documents business cards, whiteboards and more.

OneDrive Files On-Demand options

OneDrive Files On-Demand allows you to access your files without having to download all of them, allowing you to save space on your devices. Here are three options:

1. Online-only

These files will always be visible in your File Explorer and will only download to your device when you open it. You do need to be connected to the Internet to open files with this designation.

A note about online-only files: When you delete an online-only file from a device it is deleted from OneDrive and moved to the Recycle bin. You then have 30 days to restore the file before it is permanently deleted.

2. Locally available

Files with this setting have online-only access. These files will be cached locally so you do not need internet access to open them.

3. Always keep on this device

These are your files that are available on a specific device and will always be available even when you are offline.

Start by migrating all of your files to OneDrive for business

Now that you know all the benefits and how easy it is to use Microsoft OneDrive for business, getting all your files uploaded can seem like an intimidating task.

If you have files and folders on your computer or on a network drive, you can now use the SharePoint Migration tool to migrate that content to your own OneDrive for free.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get organized and more efficient! Check out Microsoft 365 from GoDaddy and get started with OneDrive for business.

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