Should I save my documents to OneDrive for Business or a team site?

It’s tempting to save all your documents to OneDrive for Business. The link to your OneDrive for Business library is always sitting there at the top of the page, ready for you to upload or create a document from OneDrive for Business. However you need to think about who can and can’t access the documents you save to OneDrive for Business. If a document is a collaborative effort related to a project, then saving to a team site might be a better choice.

What's the difference between OneDrive for Business and a SharePoint team site

OneDrive for Business is a place where you can store files from your computer into the cloud, and access them from any device, or share them with others. As part of Office 365 or SharePoint Server, OneDrive for Business lets you update and share your files from anywhere and work on Office documents with others at the same time.

A SharePoint team site is a place that users can collaborate on files, documents, and ideas. It is set up to facilitate two way communication between team members. SharePoint offers a full range of document libraries, task lists, calendars, workflows, wikis, and other features to help a team communicate and collaborate.

With both OneDrive for Business and a SharePoint team site, your files are stored in the cloud. You can sync either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint to your computer. See sync your OneDrive for Business files or sync SharePoint files for more info.

When to save documents to OneDrive for Business

  • You don’t plan to share them.
    Documents you place in OneDrive for Business are private until you share them. This makes OneDrive for Business your best option for draft documents or personal documents that no one else needs to see.

  • You plan to share files individually and with a limited scope or lifecycle.
    For example, you’re writing a blog post that may not be associated with a project, and you’d like a few colleagues to review it before you post it. In this case, you expect people to use the document once without needing additional storage or context information. All they need is a link to the document and editing permission.

  • You can’t identify an existing team site where your document belongs, and you don’t think the purpose of the document warrants creating a new one.

When to save documents to a team site library

  • You want team members to recognize the document as being relevant to an ongoing project.

  • You want to spread ownership and permissions across a wider collection of people. If a document is important to the success of a project, it’s a good idea for there to be people other than yourself who can control what happens on the site.

  • You want permissions to be granted on a site basis, instead of on individual documents. If people have access to the team site, then they have access to documents stored in the site.

  • Other project-related documents are already saved to the team site library, and others expect to find it there.

  • You want to create a check-in workflow that assigns the document to someone else.

If you have a small business, it's ideal to set up your file storage and sharing so you use OneDrive for Business and your Office 365 team site together. Check out this tutorial on customizing your team site. The tutorial includes steps for how you can promote your team site so your team members can quickly navigate back and forth between their OneDrive for Business folder and your Office 365 team site.

Move documents from OneDrive for Business to team sites

Sometimes individual documents grow in importance and become relevant to a project. When that happens, it may make sense to copy files from OneDrive for Business to a team site.

Troubleshoot moving documents from OneDrive for Business

There are a few issues to keep in mind when moving documents from OneDrive for Business to a team site library:

  • The steps for copying or moving files can vary between versions of OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. For more info, see Move or copy a folder, file, or link in a document library.

  • Hyperlinks to the original document stop working, because you’ve deleted the document in OneDrive for Business. You may want to share the document you moved to the team site to give people on the site an updated, working link.

  • If people followed the original document, links in their newsfeed to that document will stop working. To restore this association, people will need to follow the document in its new location.

  • You might want to replace the original document in OneDrive for Business with one that simply gives a link to the new file, and announces the new location.

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