The latest addition, as far as I know, is the Voice option in the Office Mobile app. It is super easy to use and allows you to make notes while on the go. But I have also used it while sitting at home on the sofa, capturing the most interesting statements from election programmes for our recent council elections. It has saved me a lot of writing. 🙂
How to start?
Download the Office Mobile app to your phone
Log in with your account (one-time, unless you want to switch accounts)
Click +, then Voice
Select language by clicking the world logo (one-time, unless you want to switch language)
How to record?
Click the Microphone button – this will turn red
Click the Microphone button to pause, and click again to resume
When done, click Done button
Now what happens?
Depending on your license, different things will happen. As far as I could find out, from literature and experiments, my Business Basic subscription has limited options, but my Family account is supported. How strange! In the screenshot below, the subscriptions marked with * have limited options.
You will see the written text appear while you speak. Magic! Even in Dutch it is very accurate.
When you open the file on your phone and click the Share icon, you can share it to Word which creates a Word file with a link to the voice file. You can save that in OneDrive.
A voice file (.wav) and a transcript (.transcript) will appear in OneDrive, in a new folder called Voice Captures.
I have tried to share my phone screen in a Teams meeting and recording that, but that did not work out. I suppose it is a microphone issue. So, I made a (silent) video using screenshots.
You will create a voice file (.wav) which is stored on your phone. You can share it and save it on OneDrive, or download it and transcribe the text to Word, as described in my earlier post, option 1. So, rather disappointing.
You can see the difference in outcome in below screenshot:
Another limitation: device
Voice appears to be available on phones only and not on tablets. In any case, I could not select any microphone settings on my iPad, not even when I had my headset attached.
I really like this option for taking quick notes, but I was rather disappointed to find out that my Business Basic license only has limited options. But you, reader, will probably have a solid Enterprise license so I guess that won’t be an issue. So, why not give it a try!
Do you or your organization have any experiences with the app? Have I missed something, or do you have more experiences with the licenses? Please share!
I am also investigating the other Mobile app options, so watch this space 😁!
Around this time the default location to store Teams meeting recordings will change from Microsoft Stream to
SharePoint if this is a Channel meeting (In the SharePoint folder of the Channel, in a new folder called “Recordings”.)
OneDrive of the person who records, for any other meeting (in a new folder called “Recordings”)
20 days download option for the person who records, if they have an F3 license
According to Microsoft this is because a video is a document and should therefore live with and managed like a document. A recording will benefit from regular document management options, security and permissions, and the ability for external sharing.
In theory, this makes sense. In practice, there are some things you may want to know. In my organization we have chosen to switch early so we could control the switch date and make sure to have proper communication and support available. We have a few months of experience by now.
1. Stream is still not accessible for externals. Will it ever be?
When I was working with Office365 video (it must have been around 2015), we were told that it’s follow-up Stream would be accessible for externals. Until now, I have not seen any evidence or announcement of that. So storing meeting recordings in Stream has always been unpleasant for webinars and meetings with externals. You had to download the video from Stream and send or share it from OneDrive or SharePoint.
2. Spreading videos over 4 different locations is confusing (Stream, OneDrive, SharePoint, download)
We have been using the new locations for a few months now and boy, does this confuse people! You need a lot of words to explain where videos are stored. Many people are not aware of their license, or of the meeting type, or of their power when they record the meeting. And then you have all your earlier recordings still living in Stream. 😦
3. Storing recordings on the OneDrive of the “button-pusher” is confusing
We have had a few questions from meeting organizers about the recordings, where someone other than the organizer recorded the meeting. When something needed to be done, e.g. sharing the video with external attendees afterwards, or a bit of editing, or removing the video, the organizer did not know where to go. When I explained the situation, it happened that the “button-pusher” was on holiday, had no time or was unwilling to cooperate.
As the organizer already has so many unique powers in a Teams meeting, would it not make sense if the recording was always stored in the OneDrive of the organizer? And perhaps with a 20-day download option in case the meeting is organized by a group mailbox? (Which does not have a license, hence no OneDrive)
4. Your OneDrive and/or SharePoint must be accessible for externals
That is, if you want to share recordings with external parties. As you know, external participants can not watch the recording of meetings by default, even if they have a Microsoft365 account. In my organization the OneDrives have the option to share with externals, but not all our SharePoint sites allow external access. In some cases we can make external access available with little effort, but not for every site type. If your organization does not want that, you will be unable to share with externals, so you will have to send large files around. 😦 This is not a big difference with the earlier situation on Stream, but Microsoft assumes external access by default, making it sound easier than it sometimes is.
5. This will add another folder to your systems
The recordings from a regular meeting will create a new folder in the OneDrive of the person who records, called “Recordings”. A Channel meeting recording will create a new subfolder in your Channel documents, also called “Recordings”. This is not a big deal but you may want to tell people about all those folders that they themselves have not created. Some time ago I wrote an overview of all system-created folders in your OneDrive.
6. Stream can play videos at different speed
If you have a video in Stream, you can play it at different speeds. Click on the gear wheel under the video, click “Playback speed” and select the speed. You can not do this in OneDrive or SharePoint.
7. Stream has (limited) video editing options
If you want to do something with your video for the long term, you will probably want to use the best part only. In Stream, you can trim the beginning and end off your video if needed. There are no other editing options, but this option is useful AND more than what OneDrive and SharePoint have to offer. So, if you want to remove the start and end bits of a recording, you will have to upload your meeting recording to Stream OR use another video editing tool. Please, can we have some editing options in OneDrive and SharePoint too?
8. Stream has caption, subtitle and other video options
This is perhaps not very relevant for the meetings that you record for people who could not attend, or to make sure you have captured the notes correctly, but these functionalities certainly add value for a webinar or an instruction video.
9. Adding a Form works better in SharePoint
In Stream you can add a Forms, as a poll or a survey. In is rather strange – there is a side panel where I would expect the Poll to show up, but it is actually shown on the location of the video. Also, you have to specify a time, which could be nice for a quiz, but not for a general question.
In SharePoint, you can create a nice page with an embedded video and a Form on the side.
10. Currently there are two messages when you save a Channel meeting.
My own tenant is still in Stream mode (mostly because I don’t do PowerShell 🙂 ) and I am currently getting a message when I stop the recording.
On Teams desktop it says: “After the meeting, you can find this recording in the channel conversation or on Microsoft Stream.”
On Teams for the web you get: “Recording is being saved. Recording has stopped. You can find the link to the recording in meeting chat history.”
Not a big deal, but something you may want to be aware of.
Although the sharing and management of meeting recordings will be better when the recordings are stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, you miss out on specific video functionality. I would appreciate to have some basic video editing capabilities for OneDrive and SharePoint.
Has your organization made the switch to OneDrive and SharePoint? Do you have something else to add?
Update April 2022: From January 1st, 2022 I am no longer working at an organization where I have access to both the E3 and F3 licenses. Unfortunately I can no longer update this post.
When people talk or write about Microsoft 365 Outlook, Word or Excel, they generally mean the desktop versions.
However, there are Microsoft365 subscriptions that provide only the web and mobile versions of things. With the ongoing improvements of the web apps these subscriptions are getting better and better.
Most of my therapist colleagues have the Microsoft365 F3 license, which is a good fit for people who mostly work with patients and use dedicated medical software as their main application. F3 has web and mobile apps only.
While the comparison with the Microsoft E3 license (which most secretaries and staff have) clearly display most of the limitations of the F3, (albeit in the small print) there’s a few unmentioned “surprises” so let me list all that we have found so far, while providing support to our F3 collagues.
1. No desktop apps
This is the most obvious limitation. I think Word and Outlook for the web are both pretty good and getting better all the time, but some advanced functions are only available in the desktop apps, e.g. creation of scientific literature citations, or creation of a book index in Word. An overview of the differences:
Yes, it is mentioned quite clearly (also in our own support materials) but we regularly get questions from people who have almost reached the limit. All we can do is provide them with help to clean up their Outlook and OneDrive.
This is also the reason why I was not happy with the recent change to store Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive.
3. You can not upload a video to Stream
Just to be clear: F3 people can consume videos from Stream but not create them. It is mentioned in the comparison. I do not really get this. Are F3 users not expected to share any videos? Not even of training materials or a team get-together? We have a few colleagues who like to do vlogs for their colleagues – no Stream for them. 😢
Fortunately, OneDrive and SharePoint now have good video players so I guess it will not be a big problem, apart from the storage space allocation. It does make me wonder what Stream is good for, then.
4. Recorded Teams meetings go nowhere
We made the change from storage in Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint early, because we knew that F3-users can not upload anything to Stream. If an F3 recorded a meeting, they got an error message. So we thought: “Well, OneDrive may not be optimal, but at least they will be able to store their recording in a good place. So let’s make the change, make them aware and suggest to move any recordings to SharePoint at their earliest convenience.”
The other day I recorded something with my F3 test account, and I was totally surprised to see that the recording did not go anywhere. It is in the meeting chat, with a message that it can be downloaded for 20 days. The good news is that the recording can be saved. The bad news is that this is not as expected, and that people will need to take action to store it.
5. You can not create a Live Event
This is not a major issue, as organizing a large online event will generally be done by a few selected roles. An executive secretary, our Convention Bureau, communications etc. An F3 colleague can produce and present, however, as described in this post.
This has nothing to do with the difference between web or desktop app – everyone in our organization has the Teams desktop app.
6. You do not have the Delve app
This is not mentioned anywhere in the comparison, so this was also a surprise when we found this. It is not too much of a limitation, as you can get there via your Office profile.
7. Agenda sharing issues with E3-colleagues
If an F3 colleague shares his or her agenda with an E3-licensed colleague, e.g. a group secretary, the secretary can only edit the agenda when using the Outlook web app. This may have to do with the fact that there is no “desktop equivalent” in the F3-agenda. It is annoying though, as our secretaries generally prefer to work with Outlook desktop. We are trying to convince them that the Outlook web app is a joy to use, but so far most of them stick to desktop. 😢
Do you know any more quirks?
I have deliberately not mentioned a number in the title. Please let me know in the comments if you know something else, so we can create a shared resource!
This is a great opportunity to use one of the more than gorgeous letters of Simon Koay’s Superbet. F = Flash!
Did you know you can Protect a document in SharePoint and OneDrive from being accidentally altered or overwritten? If that has been enabled you will need to take conscious action to edit the document. Very useful for Excel files, especially when “auto-save” is on! This has been around for a few months. Review mode is a relatively new option in SharePoint, allowing people to only make Comments in your documents, and not change the original text. Together they can be a good way to prevent accidents.
I guess you know me by now: I had to find out how these things work, also related to the permissions you have in the site.
How to protect a document
If you protect a document, you protect it against accidental changes. Go to the document, click File > Info and then you can select “Protect document”
When you open a protected document, you see this:
When you want to add comments or edit the file, click on OK and then “Viewing” and you will see these options:
How to share a document in review mode
When you want to allow people to give feedback, but as comments only, you can share in review mode. Select the document, click Share and then click on the “People you specify can edit” link on top. This will give you the advanced sharing options. Make sure the “Open in review mode only” is toggled (as in screenshot) and click “Apply”.
This option is only available if you allow editing. Recipients can only add comments, and can not edit the text itself, so this will keep your original text intact. This is especially helpful when many people may want to add feedback. If everyone is allowed to edit the original text, you may end up with something incomprehensible. When you write the message to the recipient, the sharing popup will show a little icon next to the “People you specify can edit” link.
In one SharePoint document library I created 4 new documents from the New button:
Plain document as is, shared as is
Document with protection, shared as is
Plain document, shared in Review mode
Document with protection and Review mode
I did that for each of the following apps, both online and desktop:
I shared the documents with each of the following permissions:
Member (can edit)
Visitor (can read)
Someone with no access to the site
Afterwards, I repeated relevant experiments with documents in my OneDrive.
What do you need to know?
You can only protect individual documents, not a complete document library.
You can not protect OneNote documents, in desktop nor online nor that half-baked OneNote for Windows 10.
In the desktop apps you can protect Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents against overwriting. (You can also use other ways of protection, but that is out-of-scope for now)
In the online apps you can only protect Word and Excel, but not PowerPoint.
You can protect Word and Excel files in SharePoint and OneDrive.
You can only send with “review-only” in Word, not in Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote (I hope that will change).
You can only send with “review-only” when you share with “people you specify” or “people in [tenant] with the link”.
You can use “review-only” in Word in SharePoint and OneDrive.
When you share the document from SharePoint with an external person who has no access to the site, they receive a code via mail as soon as they try to open the document. Not sure if that is a tenant setting, but I thought I’d mention it.
How does a Word-document open, and which options do you have when you share the document with or without protection, with our without “review-only” and with people with various roles in your SharePoint site? See the table below. The first word is the option that the document opens with.
Plain document “review-only”
Reviewing, can view, editing greyed out
Reviewing, can view, editing greyed out
Protected document “review-only”
Viewing, can review, editing greyed out
Viewing, can review, editing greyed out
Various sharing options – the first word in the cells shows the “landing” option.
What do I think?
Protecting a document can be a good way to avoid accidental changes, as it opens the document consistently in “Viewing” mode, regardless of your own role in a SharePoint site. 👍 It also works on OneDrive. 👍 It is not available for PowerPoint Online. 👎 It is per document only, while per document library might be nice as well.
The “Review Only” mode is disappointing as you can only use it on Word files. 👎 Additionally it allows site users with Full Control and Edit permissions to edit the original text, even if you ask for comments only. 👎 However, this is a useful option for sharing with people who have no access or who can only Read in your site, as they will have no permissions to Edit the original text. 👍 It is also useful for sharing files on your OneDrive as everyone will be unable to edit the original text. 👍
I hope there will be some developments in both functionalities, so it can be used with more file types and “people with existing access”.
Are you using this in your organization? Do you have any additional tips or lessons to share?
We always think very carefully if and how we communicate changes to our Microsoft365 environment. Generally, changes that affect all users, and may lead to questions or confusion, will be posted on the intranet. We do this for about 2 or 3 changes a year. Think about “the new Outlook on the web” last summer, and the new design of the SharePoint homepage earlier this year. Changes with a lesser impact are communicated through our dedicated Yammer group for people who take an interest, and during webinars. Additionally we regularly revise our training and webinar materials.
So, we were a tad worried when we found that some new functionality that had been in our tenant, and had been communicated, suddenly disappeared. In one case we found out that the functionality had been retracted, but we have no clue about the others.
Perhaps one of my readers can help?
1. The SharePoint start page
A few months ago we published an article on the intranet that there would be a new SharePoint start page. The column on the left hand side would be removed and some of the info there would move to below the site cards. We prepared the communication and an explanatory screenshot. When we could finally confirm that also our non-targeted release users had it, we published the article.
Around March and the start of the Corona-crisis, I noticed that my SharePoint start page had reverted back to the old setup, both at work and in my own tenant. I checked the Roadmap, the tenant Message Center, the internet, but nothing came up.
Only half May I found out that I had missed this article, which has a small paragraph on this topic.
Well, thanks for that. And I could not find the #192001 in my Message center, nor in that from my work tenant. 😦
2. Save documents for later in SharePoint
I was already aware of the Save for Later options in SharePoint News, but I was happily surprised to find that this function would also be available for regular documents in SharePoint sites. I saw it a few months ago, immediately saved a few documents and told our Yammer group.
I still have them saved on my SharePoint page. But the functionality is gone in both my private and my work tenant!
The files tab in Outlook is back! I just received a comment from Eric (see below) and I immediately checked. I wish I could sort them on file size, but it is already a big plus that I can see how many files live in my Outlook!
Does anyone know?
You know I like to play the detective, but I could not find the answers this time 😉
Have you ever started a brand new Microsoft365 subscription and looked at your OneDrive? I haven’t – but when I recently gave a basic tour of the Microsoft365 suite to a new colleague she asked me what I meant with the “Attachments” folder in OneDrive, as she did not see it. Nor did I when she shared her screen. But once she saved a file from Outlook to her OneDrive the folder was created.
I had already noticed earlier that I sometimes get these folders in my OneDrive, which I could not remember creating, so I decided to find out.
I removed all folders in my OneDrive and ended up with a completely empty page:
And then started to do a few things and noted when a folder was being created and what it was called. The end result 👇
When you save an attachment from Outlook to OneDrive, the Attachments folder is created. By default you add all attachments there, although I wish you could select a folder of your own choice, which saves time.
When I created a new Notebook, this folder was added. It is pretty straightforward. I think your personal Notebook gets created in the top level but as I do not have it anymore, I am not 100% sure.
This folder is created when you create a Form with a File Upload as a Q&A type. Fortunately, you get an explanation of this behaviour.
Apart from the name of the folder being rather generic, you have to click through 3 nested subfolders before you get to the file that has been uploaded. I sense an opportunity for optimization. 😉
4. Microsoft Teams Data
Have you ever seen the option “Open meeting notes” when you were on a Teams meeting? I am still finding out why I sometimes see it and sometimes not. At first I thought it was an organizer’s privilege (like “End Meeting”) , but the organizer of our daily work meeting does not see it either. But I digress! If you click “Show meeting notes” in your Teams popup behind the … you will open a small side panel where you can start typing meeting notes. They will be stored in the Microsoft Teams Data folder in a subfolder called Wiki.
5. Microsoft Teams Chat files
This folder is created to store files that you share during a chat. This can be both a 1:1 chat, a group chat (outside of a Team site), or a chat in a meeting.
This folder gets created when you connect your phone camera to OneDrive. After that, your pictures will automagically be added to OneDrive. Unfortunately it has a lot of nesting, like year and month. 👉 Be careful if you have a F3 license – you only have 2 GB of storage space so using this option may fill your OneDrive quickly.
7. Office Lens
If you install the Office Lens app on your telephone and you select OneDrive as the storage place of choice, a new folder is created with your first image. It is a plain list of files. I prefer to use the Office Lens functionality that comes with the OneNote, OneDrive and Teams apps, however. It saves me an app. 🙂
8. Recordings (added 21-10-2020)
Soon, or now if you have already made the switch yourself, your recorded Teams meetings will be no longer stored in Stream, but in OneDrive (mostly) or in SharePoint (for channel meetings in Teams). According to Microsoft this will simplify sharing the recording.
The good news is that our F3-licenses colleagues can not upload to Stream, so in the new situation they are able to record their meetings. The worry is that their OneDrive will fill up quickly as these are generally large files which may quickly fill their 2 GB of storage space.
Fortunately, from about September 2021 onwards, recordings older than 60 days will be automatically deleted into the Recycle bin. The owner receives an email warning and can restore it if needed. This will help keep small OneDrives within limits.
9. Transcriptions (added 13-05-2021)
I assume you have already tried the Dictation options on Word or OneNote, which are absolutely wonderful. Dutch is not yet an official language, but it already works very very well, and we plan to advise this instead of (expensive) dedicated dictation tools, as soon as Dutch is out of beta. (or whatever it is).
But there’s also Transcriptions, which will write down everything everyone says, in a dialogue format. Pretty cool and very good for processing meeting notes or interviews, or creating video subtitles. It is available in Word for the web only, as far as I know.
10. Whiteboards (added 13-05-2021)
Microsoft Roadmap Whiteboards are also stored in OneDrive. It works similarly to the Teams meeting recordings: the person who creates the Whiteboard will be the owner and get it in their OneDrive.
11. Power Apps (added 20-06-2021)
When you create a Power App and use an Excel file as part of the data source OneDrive creates a PowerApps folder for the file. Thank you Andy Huneycutt for mentioning this! I am not really creating PowerApps so this is a helpful addition.
12. Office Mobile (added 24-02-2022)
Do you use the Office app for mobile devices? When you scan a document, the images will be stored in a new folder with this name.
13. Voice Captures (added 24-02-2022)
This is another folder created by the Office app for mobile. You can use the “voice” option to dictate a message and the recording and transcripts will be stored here.
Wait, there’s more!
I tried adding documents to a few other applications (Yammer, ToDo, Planner) but they do not store files in OneDrive. I expected it in ToDo, being something personal. The other day I installed Visio Data Visualizer which also created a folder. As I could not get it to work and it kept popping up in an annoying fashion I deleted it, and did not want to install it again just for this test. Guess I am not alone in my dislike according to the reviews.
Have I missed any?
👍 Your OneDrive serves as the hub for your personal documents in Microsoft365, so it makes sense that documents from all kinds of actions and applications are stored here. I expect that more applications will create folders over time. 👍 You can delete these folders and their content; when you start using the app again they will be recreated. 👍 Everything stored in OneDrive benefits from all document management options.
👎 Behaviour is explained for Forms, Pictures and Teams meeting recordings, but it should be explained everywhere. 👎 The naming convention and experience could benefit from streamlining, e.g. folder names, or the structuring of subfolders. 👎 I would like to see this also for attachments in ToDo, as this is your personal task list 👎 Users with an F3 license only have 2 GB of storage space in their OneDrive and they should be made aware of these folders, to avoid unpleasant surprises with a full OneDrive. I have written about cleaning your OneDrive before. 👎 There is a downside to having shared information in one person’s OneDrive…which will be another post soon!
We received an interesting question the other day: “I am sharing a document on my OneDrive with a colleague. Where can I set an Alert to know when she has made edits?”
The Alert option is available on SharePoint, so it feels a bit weird that it is not available on OneDrive. There is a suggestion in User Voice, which has been posted in 2014 (that is 6 years ago!) with the response that it is “in the Plans”. Let’s hit that voting button, folks – it should not be that hard knowing that SharePoint and OneDrive are basically the same thing. Please vote here!
So I had to resort to a few workarounds:
1. Move to SharePoint and set an Alert.
If you are sharing a document or folder for a longer time, and expecting regular edits, you’d better move it to SharePoint. SharePoint is designed for long-term team collaboration and allows you to receive an Alert.
Remember, your OneDrive will be removed when you leave the organization, so do not hoard documents that belong to your team or department!
Under “Activity” you can see if, and who, has edited your document, and when this has happened. Sadly you can not sort or filter so you will just have to scroll to find that file. This may be another good reason not to keep a lot of shared documents in your OneDrive forever 🙂
3. Make it a habit to add comments with an @mention
This one will need some training for all parties involved, but it is like learning html: you will forever benefit from knowing this 🙂
If you use Comments on the document, and @mention the other person, this person will receive an email that the document has been edited.
Open the document and make the changes
Put your cursor near the change and open the “Review” tab from the ribbon
Click “New comment” and a panel on the right side of the document will open. It already invites you to add a name (you will get suggestions as you type) – it is sufficient to do this in one comment, only.
When you are done commenting click the arrow button to send the comment
The @-mentioned person will receive an email notifying you of the comment, and you will of course see a more recent change in your “Shared by you” view.
Please note that the person will receive an email for every comment that @mentions them, so doing this once is sufficient! BTW, this only works within your organization as far as I have found.
In the application (Excel in this case) under “Recent” you will see that Mystery Guest has commented.
4. Use Power Automate
We have not really rolled out Power Automate throughout the organization yet, so this is just a quick test for myself. I used the recipe “When a file is modified, complete a custom action” and it looks like this:
It provides a basic email, that could be improved with the link or more details about the file and the author:
I would suggest to use this sparingly, and only for those folders you share (but then again, why not store them on SharePoint?) or you will get inundated with messages that you have edited a file 🙂
There are a few options to know if someone else has edited your document. If this is a regular process, please move the document(s) to SharePoint! However, it would be so much easier if Alerts were just standard functionality for OneDrive. So, remember to hit that Vote-button!
Have you received this question as well? How did you respond? Did I miss an option?
As mentioned in earlier posts, the majority of my colleagues have 2 GB of storage space in their OneDrive and some struggle to stay within those limits.
So, we are currently helping them with cleaning up and giving them some tips on how to keep within boundaries. It may be interesting for you as well!
1. Empty the Recycle Bin
You may want to start with a clean slate, so let’s empty the Recycle Bin first. If, during cleaning, you accidentally delete too much, you will have fewer documents to search through for restoring. Also, emptying the recycle bin will free up space!
2. Check the size of your OneDrive
It helps to know how much stuff you have, and how much you need to remove. So, click on the Gear wheel top right, click “OneDrive settings” and then select “More settings”. You will pass a useful screen with notification options – worth looking at but out of scope for this post.
Then click “Storage metrics”.
On the next page you will see the lists in your OneDrive site collection (it is a SharePoint site collection, after all) and the amount of free space is shown top right.
3. Move shared documents to SharePoint or Teams
Sharing documents in OneDrive to collaborate on is great as long as the document is not final. Once it is final, please move it to a SharePoint site so it can be part of the team’s collective knowledge and make room in your OneDrive.
Do not hoard shared OneDrive documents – if you leave the organization your OneDrive will disappear with all its content. (After a period when your manager can access it.) We frequently get questions about lost shared documents as many people appear not to be aware of this. 😦
So, check out which documents you share and with whom. Do you still need them at all? Do you still need to share them or are they ready to live elsewhere?
If you want to move the documents to SharePoint, go back to your “My One Drive” section, select them and then click “Move To” from the grey bar and select the SharePoint site where they will live. (Make sure you follow that site so it appears as one of your first choices). The documents will be deleted from your OneDrive in the process. (If you want to know how Copy To and Move To work, read my earlier post and also my post about the risks)
If you have many documents to move, you may either want to do it in smaller batches or use Copy To and delete the documents after you have checked that they have all safely arrived at their SharePoint destination.
And if you no longer need the documents you share, you can just delete them.
4. Create or Request a SharePoint or Teams site
In case you have no location at your disposal, create or request a SharePoint site or a Team (which comes with a SharePoint site) so you can share documents with your project team or department.
5. Find the largest and the oldest documents
Unfortunately you will have to do this by folder, as you can not create views without folders. Although OneDrive is a SharePoint site, it misses some cool SharePoint functionality, such as the option to add metadata columns and create views, or the possibility to add templates. (note to self: submit to User Voice 🙂 )
The following paragraph has been added in May 2020: * Please be aware that Microsoft365 adds folders to your OneDrive when you use certain applications. The “Attachments” folder to store email attachments is one, but Apps (contains Forms documents), Microsoft Teams Data, Microsoft Teams Chat files and Pictures can also contain a lot of documents that you may not be aware of. Read my post on this topic*
Open a folder and click on the pull-down arrow next to the File size column and click on “Larger to smaller”. Determine whether the largest files need to stay on your OneDrive. They may fit on your SharePoint or Teams site as well, so you can Move them there, or perhaps they can be deleted.
Then sort for the oldest documents by clicking the pull-down arrow next to the Modified column and selecting “Older to newer”. Generally you will have accumulated quite a lot of documents in your career. When projects have been completed or interest has waned, you might as well move them to a SharePoint archive site, a records center (in that case they should have been moved there long ago!) or delete them.
6. Remove versions
This can make sense for very large documents that you have worked on intensively and that you want to keep. There may be several versions that take up space.
Select the document, click the … to the right of the name, and select “Version History” from the menu.
You will now see the versions.
If you are still working on the document, it may be safer to remove the oldest versions only.
If your document is final, you can delete all versions and keep the latest version only. If there are many versions involved, the quickest route is to go to the Storage Metrics (see par. 2), click on “Documents” and drill down until you see the document.
Click “Version history” on the right of the document and then you will see an option to delete all versions in one go, leaving the last one.
7. Move private files to a personal location
While it is all too common to have a mix of private and organizational docs on your systems, your OneDrive is primarily meant for organizational stuff. Your private info should not be here, especially if it takes up valuable storage space. You also do not want to lose it when you leave the organization, right? So, move your personal files and photo’s to your private OneDrive (now with extra-secure Personal Vault), iCloud, Google Drive, a USB stick or another place.
8. Empty the Recycle Bin and check storage
Hopefully this has helped you get below that 2 GB. If you, you need to repeat and be a little more strict this time around!
9. Repeat regularly
In order to stay below the limit, go through these steps again on a regular basis.
Do you have tips?
Do you have experience with colleagues whose OneDrive fills up quickly? Any suggestions that we can use?
We sometimes get calls from colleagues who have lost a document in their OneDrive. Over time we have learned some procedures to try and find it.
Please be aware that the majority of my colleagues has a F3-license, so I am focusing on OneDrive Online only.
What could have happened?
Moved to another folder
Moved to SharePoint (which means deleted from your OneDrive)
Which tools are available?
Document details pane
Where to start?
I would suggest to start either with Search or the Recycle bin. I love the details pane, and it has greatly improved since I last wrote about it, but as almost every change is captured, you will have a lot of scrolling to do.
So let’s start with
1. Search in OneDrive
Found it? Phew, that was quick! That means it has been moved to another folder. Confirm it is the correct document and note down the new location. If you want to know WHEN you did this, check out the document details pane. Move the document back to its original folder if the move was an accident.
No luck? Well, there’s other ways to look!
2. Check the Recycle bin
Sadly you can only Sort in the Recycle bin, not Search, so if your document’s name starts with M or N, and it has been deleted some time ago, you will have to scroll a great deal.
Found it? Restore it! It will be back into its original folder, but if you forgot which one that was, you can Search again.
No luck? Well, it has been deleted or… it may have been moved to SharePoint more than 93 days ago, so let’s just have a look there.
3. Search on the SharePoint landing page
Found it? Congratulations! Confirm it is the document you are looking for and remember where it is.
No luck? Most likely you have either deleted the document more than 93 days ago, or renamed the document. There’s only one way to find out!
4. Look in the document details pane
As I mentioned above, you can do this as step 1 or 2 but if you are using your OneDrive intensively, you may need to scroll a lot and the other steps may be quicker.
The details pane has improved a lot since I last wrote about it. It is now available for OneDrive for Business, has clear icons and displays almost every change. It is context sensitive, so will display different things depending whether you are on your OneDrive landing page or in a folder. It also has clickable links for all documents that are still there. So please use this to check if the document has been renamed and/or moved.
If you have not been able to find the document in another way, this is the one option left. Scroll down until you see a “Deleted” or “Renamed” action for the document in question.
Moving a document to SharePoint only results in a “Deleted” mention, so you have no indication whether it has been moved to SharePoint or just plain deleted.
Found it? Hopefully you renamed it! Click on the title and find out where it lives.
No luck? Sorry, this is all that I can think of…
Can you blame the person with whom you shared the document?
No. If you share the document with someone, they can only edit the text in the document. They can not rename, move or delete the file.
Any other thoughts?
Did I miss something? Do you think there is a better order? Any other tricks to share? Please let me know!
…We are going to complicate things by trying to retrieve lost documents from SharePoint!
In my current role I have a slightly wider scope than “just” SharePoint and Yammer. I am now troubleshooting and advising about the other Office 365 tools as well, so I need to expand my skills and knowledge rapidly to stay a few steps ahead of my audience 🙂 .
The other day one of my colleagues asked if there is an easier way to create the photo albums he needs to make as part of his role. The organization I work for occasionally rents out parts of their buildings or hires space from others. In those cases, my colleague takes pictures of the buildings to document their current state. The pictures are collated into an album which has to be signed off by both parties at the start of the rental agreement.
What is the current method?
Take pictures with smartphone
Send pictures to work email (in batches to avoid too large attachments)
File pictures from each email in OneDrive on laptop (Attachments folder)
Create project folder in OneDrive
Transfer pictures to project folder
Remove pictures from phone
Creating the album
Open a new PowerPoint presentation
Make cover slide
Insert pictures from OneDrive into PowerPoint
Arrange pictures on slides
Add end slide (usually, with the dates, names and signatures)
Save PowerPoint as PDF
Well, I thought that I (or rather, Office 365) could make things easier for him. I confirmed he had the OneDrive app on his phone, so I came up with…
The new method
Getting pictures with the OneDrive app
Create project folder in the OneDrive app
Open the folder
3. Take pictures with the + button top right or the diaphragm button at the bottom (make sure you set it to “Photo”) 4. Pictures will be saved in the folder
Creating the album in the OneDrive Client
Create a picture of the cover and end slides
Add to project folder of pictures, making sure that cover and end slide are the first and last items (generally, adding an A and a Z in front of the respective names will do the trick)
Select all images in the folder, click “Share” > “Print”
4. In the screen that pops up, select “Microsoft Print to PDF” as the printer and determine a layout (generally 2 or 4 to a page)
You can only create the album in the OneDrive Client – the Online and App versions do not have this functionality. In fact, this is Windows functionality and not limited to OneDrive.
You can use a “blank image” just before the last image to make the number even and have a better print result.
You can change the orientation of the pictures/album by clicking “Options” in the pop up screen and then “Printer Properties”.
Unfortunately you can only use one display for the whole series. It would have been nice if you could decide to make the both cover and end slides a full page in the series, and provide the pictures in e.g. 4 on a page. This is clearly a limitation of this way of working.
My colleague was especially happy with the camera options of the OneDrive app, which he was not aware of before. Just after taking a few pictures he realized that this will be a big time-saver. The second part, creating the album with the OneDrive Client instead of PowerPoint, felt like a bigger change in practice, but he was willing to try it.
As usual, this is nothing fancy. It is just trying to match a need with existing functionality. And it makes me happy when I succeed. 🙂