o365: Sync OneDrive for Business as a Local Drive

Did you know that you can sync OneDrive for Business as a local drive on your laptop/computer?  This means that you can work on files on your laptop from anywhere – and you don’t even have to be connected to the Internet.


This is similar to Dropbox and Google Drive, but BETTER!  Why is it better? It recognizes the Microsoft products that we use (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) when we open them and you can make changes to them easily.   The best part is that you can do this on any device!  Watch the video to learn how to do this.  I also provided a step by step document, if you prefer.

Written Directions: sync-onedrive-for-business-as-local-drive-on-windows-10

MAC Directions: Sync OneDrive for Business as Local Drive on a MAC

So you must be thinking, “BVW TIS, are you saying that I can open a Word file on my phone, modify it, close it and it will have those changes made on the file that is also on my laptop?”.  To that, I reply, “Yeppers” (assuming you have Internet access)!  You just need to have those apps downloaded on that device (they are free in your app store).  So it seamlessly “syncs” both upstairs (in OneDrive for Business) and downstairs (as a local drive on your computer).

I imagine many of you are shaking your head thinking, “DropBox does this too (if you have installed Word, Excel, PowerPoint)”, and you are correct.  However,  you do not get 1 TB of free space with DropBox and you can’t host your OneNote Notebooks here and open them from a phone or tablet.   I still love DropBox and plan to continue to use it for my personal files.  However, the advantages of O365 to manage my work files is substantial.

Downsides/warnings to OneDrive for Business and syncing as a local file:

  • Shared with me folders will NOT sync down to your local drive, yet.  They have that feature in OneDrive, but not OneDrive for Business.  You can share still, but only the original “sharer” can sync their files.  Other will go “upstairs” to modify them.
  • Watch out when sharing.  I suggest that you go upstairs to share.  You get more options upstairs as well.
  • Sync speeds seem to vary.  While at home, it is fairly quick.  But at work I need to watch that I am on the current and most up to date version of a file.  I have it synced as a local drive to several devices.  So I strongly suggest that you sync to one device only (at first).  You need to get used to what is happening.  I would sync to your staff assigned laptop.  Always modify documents off of that laptop.  Download OneDrive for your phone (free app) and you will have access to your files as a next step.  When you start to feel more comfortable, modify a document on your phone and then check that the modifications applied to your synced laptops.  It works GREAT, but not always instantly.  Depends on wifi/nw speeds.
  • As compared to your files on your HDrive, these are NOT “backed up” nightly.  However, there is a version history that works in the same way.

Happy OneDriving!


4 thoughts on “o365: Sync OneDrive for Business as a Local Drive

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