9 Useful OneDrive Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Account

OneDrive is a powerful cloud service offered by Microsoft. You can get 5 GB of free storage space or sign up for a subscription with 100 GB or 1 TB of space.



But did you know you can do so much more than just keeping your files on it? Here’s a primer on OneDrive’s capabilities so you could maximize them.



1. Download the App to Sync Your Files

Microsoft OneDrive homepage

If you have a OneDrive account, you should download the app on your devices to get the most out of it. Whether you have a Windows or Mac computer and own an Android or iOS device, you can download an app to get the most out of it.

The most important feature the OneDrive app offers for computers is automatic syncing. Once you install it and designate a folder in your drive, it will automatically sync. As long as you’re online, everything inside the OneDrive folder gets uploaded to the cloud.

If you install the OneDrive app on your tablet or smartphone, you can turn on Camera Upload in the Settings menu. Doing this will back up all your images on your mobile device to the cloud.

Download: OneDrive for Mac | PC | iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)


2. Getting More Space on Your Device

If you subscribe to OneDrive’s most premium offer, you get 1 TB of cloud storage. Since some computers only come with 500 GB of storage or smaller, you could use OneDrive to save space.

You can do this by going into the OneDrive folder and right-clicking the files and folders you don’t need on your computer. Choose Free up space on the menu, and it will get uploaded to the cloud while getting removed from your drive.

Free up space on OneDrive in Windows File Explorer

You can still see the uploaded file in your folder, but it doesn’t take up space. If you’re connected to the internet, you can open the file anytime.

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Related: How to Remove Local OneDrive Files Without Deleting Them

3. Keeping Files Always Available

OneDrive also has a Always keep on this device feature for files you need to have on your computer all the time. This is especially useful if you have spotty internet or are using two devices to edit it.


To make sure that your file or folder is available, right-click its icon and click on Always keep on this device. A checkmark should appear beside it. The status icon on File Explorer would also update to show a green circle with a white checkmark.

You can also do this on your mobile devices by selecting the three-button menu under the file or folder you want to set. Click on the toggle switch beside the Make available offline option.

The toggle switch should turn to the color blue. A blue sync icon will appear in the file/folder details beneath its icon. Once ready, the icon will turn grey with a black checkmark on it.

4. Sharing Files and Folders to Others

One of the hallmarks of cloud services is the ease of sharing files. This is no different with OneDrive.


To share files from your computer, right-click the file or folder you want to share, then choose Share. A new window should appear to change the link configurations, enter the recipient and your message, plus a Copy link and More apps button.

When you click the link configurations button, you can change your share permissions. You can choose if you want it to be view only by unticking the Allow editing option. You can also set the access expiry date under the Set expiration date option. Finally, you can secure your share by adding a password.

File sharing options on OneDrive in the Apple iPad

If you want to copy an access link instead, choose the Copy link button. On the other hand, if you’re going to share it directly with an app, choose More apps instead.

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On mobile devices, the process is similar. Select the three-button menu under the file or folder you want to share. Choose Share in the submenu; then, you can change the options under there.

5. Finding Files Shared to You

When you have many items on OneDrive, it isn’t easy to find files and folders shared with you. If you need to look for these, you need to access your account online. Login to the OneDrive Live website, then go to the Shared menu.

Once inside, you’ll first see the files you shared with others under Shared by me. Then underneath that, you’ll see the files you have access to under the names of each person who did the share.

You can also view this in the mobile app by looking at the bottom menu then choosing Shared. You’ll see a list of profiles to select. Select the person you’re interested in then you’ll see all the files they shared with you.

6. Version History

This is another feature you can find useful. OneDrive takes a snapshot of a file every time it changes. So, if you made an unintentional change, you can restore it.


To do this, right-click on the file you want to restore, then choose Version history. A new window will appear showing all the versions saved in OneDrive, the file size, and the profile that made the changes.

Viewing a Microsoft Word version history on both OneDrive Live and via the Windows app

You can also view the version history on the OneDrive Live by clicking the three-button menu beside the file name.

Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available on mobile devices. You have to go on the website or on your computer to view changes made to your files.

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7. Keeping Your Files Secured

An extra benefit that Version History brings is additional security. Because OneDrive keeps versions of your file whenever a change is made, it can detect if you’re the target of a ransomware attack.

If that happens, OneDrive will send an email notifying of the attack. They will then walk you through the process of recovering your files. This includes attack confirmation, cleaning your devices, and restoring your OneDrive files.


Related: The Most Secure Cloud Storage Services

8. Unbeatable Integration

The 1 TB OneDrive plan is included in the Microsoft 365 subscription. Because of this integration, every Excel, Powerpoint, and Word file in your OneDrive folder automatically syncs the changes you make. You no longer have to save your files manually.

So, if your computer unexpectedly loses power or crashes, the changes you made are retained. You don’t have to worry about losing your work because you forgot to save.

9. Sharing Your Account

If you want to save money, you could share one Microsoft 365 subscription with six people. This option allows each user to access the Microsoft Office suite, plus 60-minutes of Skype calls. Best of all, each person would have 1 TB of cloud storage each.

At a little over 42% pricier than the personal account, you’re getting at least 76% off if you split the cost between six users.

Comparison of OneDrive plans and pricing for home users.


Unleash the Power of the Cloud

Cloud storage is already an integral part of our digital lives. As long as you’re sharing files and collaborating, you need this tool. So, whether you’re a student or a professional, you definitely could use a OneDrive account.

You can sign up for free at the Microsoft 365 website or view your subscription options at the Cloud Storage Pricing and Plans page.

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