Video Transcription

Another great feature of SharePoint is the ability to synchronize a library to your computer. You can sync all of the files and folders from your favorite SharePoint location to your desktop using OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage app.

This adds your SharePoint library as a location on your computer and syncs the files within it so that you can work with any of your documents in a familiar Windows Explorer experience or Finder experience on a Mac. You can also work on any of these files even when you’re not connected to the internet. Once you’re reconnected, all of the changes are synced back to SharePoint automatically for you. This also helps make your SharePoint library accessible as a storage location for apps that maybe aren’t a part of the Office 365 suite because it shows up as a normal network or storage location on your computer.

To sync a library, browse to the location that you’d like to sync via SharePoint Online and click the “sync” button. If you open Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer on a PC, you’ll now notice if there is company site folder listed in your navigation tree. Inside of this folder is the library that you synchronized with all of the files inside of it.

Sync button location in SharePoint Online

Location of the sync button in SharePoint Online.

Keep in mind that when you initially start this sync it may take some time to download all the files from that library to your computer. The beauty of having this sync to your computer is that you can now drag and drop or copy-paste files from your computer to the library and they upload to SharePoint automatically. Now, they’re accessible to anyone else who also has access to that location in SharePoint.

You might notice that the files and folders have small symbols or icons on them. These are status indicators that let you know the sync status of a folder or file, with the green checkmark indicating that it is fully synced with SharePoint. Keep in mind that any changes you make to these folders or files will be synchronized automatically back to SharePoint. These are the same live versions of the files that exist in SharePoint Online in your web browser. If you delete a file or rename it, all those changes are going to be synced up automatically so keep that in mind that this is live version of those files.

Sync status indicator in Windows Explorer

SharePoint sync status indicator icons in Windows Explorer.

To stop synchronizing a SharePoint library with your computer, open up OneDrive, go to more > settings > account, and click “stop sync” next to the library that you wish to syncing. This will unlink your SharePoint account from the computer. It will leave a copy of the files on your computer, which you can then delete afterwards if you no longer need them. Make sure to not delete any of those files until the synchronization has stopped in order to not make any changes to the live files that still live in SharePoint.

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