Sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business

Sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business

September 22, 2016 by

UPDATE: It seems that the below process uses the old Groove Client. My colleagues in support recommend not doing it this way unless you really have to! According to the Office Roadmap, the feature I want is still in development. ūüôĀ

Office 365 Groups are a really great way of setting up a light virtual-community for small projects or groups within companies. You can have easily have a group conversation, a shared OneNote, group calendar and a shared file folder. Until quite recently, one of the things you were not able to do was sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business.

Why is this a pain? For a start, if you create a new document that pertains to the group, you have to manually add it to the shared library – this isn’t a big hassle, ¬†but it does mean that you generally end up with two versions of the doc in your recent documents folder, the early one you saved to your desktop and the one you finally dragged into the group shared folder.

Re-opening a document from an Office client requires to you to be pretty au fait with pinning documents folders and so on. First time opening a document that someone told you about – “hey – it’s in the group library” means you have to navigate to the actual library!

A recent update means this messing about is now more and you can now sync Office 365 Group Files with OneDrive for Business. There is one or two interesting gotchas though!

  1. Navigate to the Office 365 Group library in question – if you have Outlook 2016, all you have to do is click Files on the group toolbar.
    outlook-2016-group-files
    This will open the group library in your browser (Edge appears to work best here).
  2. Click Sync on the toolbar and then Sync now on the dialog that pops up.
    sync-o365-files-to-desktop1
  3. Confirm that you want to let your browser open OneDrive for Business.
    sync-o365-files-to-desktop2
  4. Click Sync Now.
    sync-o365-files-to-desktop3
  5. Finally, click Show my files…¬†to open the document library where the files are stored.
    sync-o365-files-to-desktop4

There is a very important caveat to be aware of here – the files are not actually synced to your OneDrive for Business folder – they are synced to a separate folder called SharePoint, and this folder is only available on your desktop – as of yet, you can’t navigate to group files from your Android or iPhone (not sure about Windows Mobile). The folder appears as a system folder in Windows File Explorer and it appears to work just like a normal file folder.

sharepoint-folder-on-desktop

HatTip to Bamboo for bringing this to my attention with their How to Sync files/folders with Documents List in Office 365 post.

 

 

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