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Using Microsoft OneDrive


Microsoft OneDrive is a file hosting service and synchronisation service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office. It helps protect your files, gives you more access to the files while on the move, and allows collaboration and sharing of files with people both inside and outside your company.

Microsoft Windows

How to Sync OneDrive

Windows 10 come preloaded with OneDrive. This same application is also used to run OneDrive for business and the SharePoint synchronisations. To connect an account for synchronisation, do the following:

1)    Right click on the OneDrive icon in the Task Bar on your computer.

2)    From the menu, click on Settings.

3)    Click on the Accounts tab and then click on the Add an account button.

4)    You will be prompted to sign in. Type in your address and then click Sign in.

5)    You will also be prompted for a password and to select the type of account to use. For personal account select

       Personal, and for all other select Work or school.

6)    You will be prompted to confirm which folders you wish to sync. Select which files you wish to synchronise and

       then click Next to continue.

7)    It will then open a new Windows Explorer window with the files and folders it is syncing. You can now use this

       folder as a normal Windows Explorer, and the files will synchronise to the OneDrive cloud storage.

Mac OS

On a Mac you will first need to download OneDrive before you are able to use it. In order to synchronise your files and folders, do the following:

1)    Download the OneDrive application from the Mac App Store.

2)    Once it has finished downloading install the OneDrive.pkg file, following the on-screen instructions to install it

       on your Mac. From this point the login is the same as it is on a Windows machine.

3)    Once it has installed and the account is signed in, you will be able to upload files by dragging and dropping

       them into the OneDrive library.

Recommended Synchronisation Settings

There are some settings that we recommend using when setting up your OneDrive. All these settings are accessible through the Settings window, reachable by right-clicking on the OneDrive icon.

Files on Demand

Set by default, Files On-Demand can allow you to save space by only downloading the files as you use them. This works very well when you have good connectivity, but this is not always possible to have. It is recommended, therefore, that if you have the space you turn this setting off. This will make the files faster to access and also ensures that the files are available on your machine even when you do not have internet coverage.

Office File Collaboration

File collaboration allows multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously. This can be useful if you have a strong connection. It is better to work on the web version for more efficient updating and tends to be more reliable in places where the connection is weaker.

OneDrive Backup

It is highly recommended that you enable windows backups for your important files using the backup function in OneDrive. This will redirect your Documents, Desktop and Pictures folders to OneDrive and cause them to synchronise to the cloud storage. This allows recovery in the case of malware, corruption of the files, damage to the physical hardware or loss of the machine. This is easy to enable:

Click on the Manage backup button.

Select the folders from those indicated and enable the backups.

Sharing Files in OneDrive

You can easily share files between people inside and outside your organisation.

To start right-click on a folder that you want to share, from within OneDrive, then click on the Share button.

A window will pop-up, indicating the name of the folder and allowing you to set the type of permission and who needs access.

You will get a confirmation that the share has been sent to the person.

An email will then be sent to the person you have shared with, giving them a link to access the files with.

Clicking on the link will take them to an online version of the folder with permission as you have set when creating the share.

Note that for larger projects, with multiple directories or complex permissions, it is recommended using SharePoint to share and manage access to files and folders.

What the icons mean on files and folders

There are several icons that can appear next to a file or folder in OneDrive to indicate the status of the file. They are indicated below:

This icon means that the file is syncing, and available on the computer and online.

This icon means that there is a share on this file or folder.

This icon means there were changes and the file is busy synchronising.

This icon means the file is available online only.

This icon means that this file or folder is an on-demand file or folder. 

This means that there is a synchronisation error on the file.


There will also be a cross on the OneDrive icon if there is an error.

Right click on the OneDrive icon to see what the error is and get options to resolve it.

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