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Announcing simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration for Office 365

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Effectively managing and sharing files is critical to almost every organization. Today, we’re announcing a bold new vision for file management in Office 365 across OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, and new ways for you to share and collaborate on all your files on any device. We’ll also talk about how we’re moving beyond utility file sync and share by bringing intelligent discovery to recommend content, as well as providing insights on the impact and reach of your work.

OneDrive recap

It’s been a breakthrough year for OneDrive. We’ve made important advances with rock-solid, reliable sync on your PC and Mac, deep Office integration, four-star and above–rated mobile apps and a fast, intuitive browser experience. Additionally, we’ve built lots of new admin and security controls for IT to protect critical corporate data. Great progress, but as always, there is more to do! Later this year, we’ll make it possible for you to sync files stored in any SharePoint document library. Stay tuned for details of our Pre-Release program in the third quarter of 2016.

A file’s journey

The foundation of our vision starts with understanding how people in organizations work together to create and collaborate with files. In Office 365, we have two powerful places to store files: your OneDrive and SharePoint team sites. The OneDrive web, mobile and sync applications provide the most capable and complete ways of creating, sharing and collaborating on files stored in OneDrive and SharePoint anywhere, on any device.

Let’s look at how someone might work in OneDrive to collaborate.

A file typically starts with an individual who creates it to drive a desired outcome (e.g., a sales proposal), and that person then needs to get others to contribute ideas, feedback and expertise to the file. Organizations want to give their people a place to put all these files and allow them to share and collaborate as they need, both internally and externally, on any device. This is the role of OneDrive—your personal space to create, access and share with individuals. In a mobile-first, cloud-first world, OneDrive is your “My Documents” folder in the cloud.

At some point, people may want to publish or distribute their files—make them available for a broader audience for viewing, feedback, discovery and reuse, as well as for applying workflow-like approvals. This is the role of a SharePoint team site, as it creates a place to put shared files, so your whole team or organization can discover content and collaborate effectively. It’s also the way organizations can be sure that content remains shared and available and not confined to a person’s OneDrive as people move jobs, companies and teams.

OneDrive and SharePoint work hand-in-hand to make storing and accessing all your information simple and powerful. We are making it easy to copy or move files between them plus ensure all your files are accessible and actionable from a single set of desktop, browser and mobile experiences.

Copy from OneDrive to SharePoint

In the coming months, we’re rolling out the ability to copy a file from OneDrive to a SharePoint document library. Later this year, we’ll add the ability to move a file, as well.

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Copy from OneDrive to SharePoint document library.

SharePoint document library improvements

The true heart of SharePoint team sites is the document library, a secure location to create, share and organize team files. As we’ve delivered a new simple browser experience for OneDrive, we have feedback that SharePoint should have a similarly simple experience. We’re rolling out an update to SharePoint document libraries that builds on the core value people depend on—adding new user experiences and capabilities that bring consistency to working on files throughout Office 365 while maintaining the full power of SharePoint document libraries.

We’re focused on helping your team get to work right away and highlight what is most important.

Use Pin to top to increase visibility and discoverability for important files at the top of the document library for all users. You can also add a link in an Office 365 document library to an item that is located outside the document library. For example, you can add a link to a file or folder located in a different document library or website. When you add a link in a document library, the link shows up in the list of items in that library with a web globe icon to identify it as a linked item.

To help you find and manage items, you can now sort and filter columns. In addition, new real-time, full-text search results appear directly in the document library experience along with quick, inline metadata management.

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A view of the new SharePoint document library experience.

Anywhere access to all your Office 365 files

Our mission is to enable you to work with all your files wherever you are. If you’re in the browser, it’s already really simple to access and share all your files across OneDrive and SharePoint. As we’ve just outlined above, we’re bringing a single sync experience for all your files before the end of the year. However, probably the most important device to have a fast and simple experience to access all your files is your phone. We’re proud to announce that starting today in our OneDrive iOS app you can access, edit, share and take offline all your Office 365 files in OneDrive and SharePoint!

Accessing your SharePoint files from the iOS app

Accessing your SharePoint files from the iOS app.

All the great capabilities provided to you for working with your OneDrive files are available to your SharePoint files. You truly now have anywhere access to all your files in Office 365. Later this year, we’ll bring this capability to Android and Windows Phone.

Intelligent discovery

Today, there’s a great search experience in OneDrive and SharePoint—it’s a simple process to search for content across your files, as well as files that have been shared with you. But what if you didn’t have to search for files? Instead, what if they found you?

Starting today, for both the OneDrive Android app and browser experience, we’re introducing a Discover view, which uses the Office Graph to suggest relevant and trending files from Office 365 (similar to Delve). The new Discover view suggests content that is most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they engage. As you share and collaborate on your files on OneDrive and SharePoint, other content is recommended and suggested to you—it means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or endlessly search for useful content and expertise. Best of all, you don’t have to switch to another app to benefit from these insights and suggestions.

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Discover view in Android.

We’ll also bring this experience to the iOS and Windows Phone apps later in the year.

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Discover view in the browser.

Understanding the impact of your work

We’re laying the foundation of a simpler, more powerful way to manage your files in Office 365, but our mission is to go beyond this. We looked at what will motivate people to copy or move their files between OneDrive and SharePoint Online. Historically it’s due to organization-mandated processes, but increasingly people want to make their work broadly discoverable, reviewed, liked, shared—all the reasons why Facebook and Instagram have been such big social phenomena. Our vision is to do with files what Instagram did for photos. Not only can you publish from OneDrive to SharePoint, but you’ll want to for the visibility and discoverability this offers. We harness your desire for self-expression and recognition—to be noticed and valued for your contribution. We’re currently working on a means for you to measure the reach of your files with embedded analytics that show over time how many people have discovered and viewed your files. Like never before you’ll be able to get an insight into the impact of your work. We’ll ship this new feature in our mobile apps before the end of the year.

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Prototype of the document analytics shipping later this year.

Beyond these capabilities, we’ll add familiar social constructs such as likes, comments and mentions that will provide further insights into the value of your work.

The future starts now

So there you have it, some great new capabilities for anyone who manages files in Office 365. Get started with the new mobile updates today! We’ve got a great vision for the future of file sync and share, and we’re already delivering it! A future that combines reliable sync, simple browser access, powerful mobile experiences, true Office integration anywhere you use it, intelligent discovery and incredible insights into the impact of your work. As always, give us your feedback on UserVoice. There’s so much more to come with OneDrive and SharePoint—stay tuned!

—Reuben Krippner, director of product management for the OneDrive team

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23 comments
  1. So what is this new “Restricted Link” when you share a file? With the old O365 site UI, you could click the elipses and get a link to a file to send to someone. No share was created, it is just a way to direct someone to a specific file in a site they already have access to.

    Now that is gone, and you must create links. I am scared our users won’t understand what they are doing and will either not get the link for fear or expanding the access to the file, or will inadvertently create links that greatly expand the access to the file.

    • Ed-

      A restricted link is simply a link to the file that only people with standing access to the site or folder will have access to.

      So it’s not sharing the file beyond the established people who have standing access.

  2. No mention at all regarding OneDrive for Business shared folder sync (The second most requested OneDrive for Business feature on UserVoice). It’s unbelievable that shared folders in OneDrive for Business don’t work like they do in OneDrive Consumer! Many SMBs don’t want users moving/copying things into SharePoint document libraries for simple team collaboration scenarios. They want the ability for a user to share a folder from their OneDrive and have those other users sync it to their OneDrive Business accounts. It should work exactly like it does in the consumer version. Shared folders can be added to the users OneDrive and will be accessible and sync just like any other folder. And there is no real workaround for this functionality using the ODB website/office online/outlook groups/SharePoint sites, despite what my MS reps have been saying. My clients are killing me over this and my only option is to purchase Dropbox Business/Box/Google Drive and fully disable OneDrive within Windows 10 Office 2016, and Office 365!

    Read through the comments here of all the people pleading for this functionality: https://onedrive.uservoice.com/forums/262982-onedrive/suggestions/9163807-onedrive-for-business-implement-shared-folder-sy

    • Shared folder sync will be delivered at the same time as SharePoint Online sync. It was mentioned today in the Future of SharePoint event.

      • But doesn’t that contradict the story of “a file’s journey” above where Onedrive is for personal files and Sharepoint Team Sites for shared team files. Where do we need Team Sites if Onedrive folders can be soon shared AND synced with team members?

        • I totally agree with you Teemu. From ILM perspective you don’t want people to share from within their personal workplace aka OneDrive for Business. Because when someone leaves the company it must be possibble to close/ clean up the space. It’s a company responsibility. You don’t have this problem with OneDrive for consumers because the lifetime of this space is a personal responsibility therefore you are personally responsible of taking care of the shares if you want to close the account.

        • For a lot of small business SharePoint is a bit overkill for their simple sharing and collaborating needs. Also there are times that you need a few colleagues to work with you on some personal files, which shouldn’t be in SharePoint doc lib at all. ODFB sharing and shared file syncing are for these scenarios.

  3. Sounds like everything I need and more will be delivered this calendar year, great to see. Thanks for the update.

    Now just to make sure we get on the Q3 preview…

  4. Awesome! Keep up the good work!

    Giving us access to our own data is so helpful. I think this is what big data providers are missing in general, but it looks like you are providing it here.

    (For example, Harris Teeter, a Southeastern grocer, could compile everything that a family buys and tell them how healthy they are eating. Or, American Express could tell its customers how well they are spending their money. I think this is the next revolution—Facebook and Google shouldn’t be the only ones who profit from our data.)

  5. Once again, why do we see apps and features launched for Android and iOS (the competition) first rather than Microsoft’s own windows mobile devices, this makes no sense at all! The recent updates to the Office suite for iOS already allow direct access to SharePoint files which we still cannot access from WM10. I purchased the latest Windows Mobile devices to get the best Microsoft experience, but I continue to see feature sets inexplicably developed for other devices first. Something is wrong with prioritization here, please explain.

    • I concur with Michael. As an enterprise CIO, since Windows Mobile 6.5, I’ve patiently supported Microsoft’s vision for a mobile strategy within the Microsoft ecosystem. However, this announcement suggests I promote the iOS ecosystem as the enterprise mobile platform for the near future. I’m due for an upgrade on my Nokia Lumia 930 in two months. If there are no further developments in WP space during this time, I’ll convert to an iPhone, and promote this platform for enterprise mobility, as there appears to no longer be a unique value proposition for the Windows platform. It used to be rights management, however this is no longer the case.

    • I was a die hard Windows Phone user until last year for exactly this reason. They started pushing all the cool collaboration apps to iOS first. I was disappointed at first. But I believe this is the right move for Microsoft. Its counter-intuitive for sure, but as a “cloud first / mobile first” company… it makes sense. (Most mobile users are on iOS and Android, not Windows Phone.)

      • I am also disappointed as windows phone user as well. I understand the business model that IOS and Android have a larger user base and have more attention. What i don’t understand is, that microsoft is promoting cross developer tools (Xamarin) for mobile devices, to get one codebase for every device. I would expect that microsoft is using internally the same tools, so i don’t understand the different possibilities and capabilities between IOS, Android and Windows phone. Isn’t microsoft using these tools for there own development?
        Otherwise i could not explain the lack of functionallity on the windows phone platform.
        I still believe in windows 10 mobile, especially for the business market, but at this moment i feel abandoned by microsoft and better could purchase a IOS or Android device instead of a Lumia 950 XL.

      • I use Windows Phone and still think it’s the best phone environment. I’m also an Admin supporting a mixed environment of Windows, Mac, Chrome, Linux, and Android. I’m glad MS is releasing cross platform apps to allow all systems to work together. It would be nice if they all were released at the same time to allow a full implementation on an environment rather then waiting or onboarding patches of people.

  6. Nice to see some love for OneDrive for Business – thanks! Any update on the likelihood of supporting a broader characterset for file names? Common filename characters like ‘#’ are still incompatible with OneDrive for Business, yet work just fine in OneDrive. In our specific case, this has halted our enterprise wide use of OneDrive for Business, as several corporate partners’ document management systems revise filenames with # tagged version numbers.

    Until the full Windows filename characterset is supported, OneDrive for Business will still be a secondary tool for us.

    • Still listed as in development…
      http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/roadmap#I-5098

      We’re adding support for file names that contain ‘%’ or ‘#’ characters. Previously these were blocked for upload to OneDrive for Business. Additionally for all other blocked characters in filenames, OneDrive for Business will warn the user of a problem with their filename and provide them with the opportunity to rename the file to continue the upload. Finally, OneDrive for business will support filenames up to 256 characters in length. Together these changes will help users and organizations more easily adopt OneDrive for Business.

  7. Will the file copy feature from onedrive also work to Office 365 groups as well as sharepoint sites?

  8. Copying a file from OneDrive to a sharepoint site is a pain… because it creates a duplicate copy of the file. What I really want to be able to do is to move a file, but leave a link in my OneDrive, so that I can easily find it again.

  9. Disappointing to see Windows Mobile is been put on the back foot again!! It really shows how committed (not) Microsoft are to their own mobile platform. I’ve been Windows Mobile users since 6.5 and have always held on thinking it was going to get better (especially when Win 10 came about), but clearly it’s not! How can you expect other vendors to take Window Phone seriously when Microsoft don’t? Another VERY VERY disappointing outcome.

    Having said all above, I do love the direction SharePoint and OneDrive are going!!

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