Open, edit, and update files from a SharePoint site

You can connect a Microsoft SharePoint library to Microsoft Outlook 2010. This enables you to view and edit SharePoint library files in Outlook. You can work with the SharePoint files, even when you are not connected to the SharePoint server.

Note:  The features described in this article work best with SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2007. If you are not sure which version of Microsoft SharePoint your organization uses, ask your SharePoint administrator.

When Outlook is connected to a SharePoint library, such as a document library, that library is listed as a folder in the Outlook Navigation Pane in the SharePoint Lists folder. The SharePoint files do not increase the size of your Inbox on your mail server because a copy of the SharePoint files is saved in an Outlook Data File (.pst) on your computer. When you click a file, a preview appears in the Reading Pane.

What do you want to do?

Access SharePoint library files in Outlook

Download a file from a SharePoint library to Outlook

Open a file from a SharePoint library in Outlook

Edit a file from a SharePoint library in Outlook

Add a file to a SharePoint library by sending an email message

Access SharePoint library files in Outlook

  1. In a web browser, open the library on the SharePoint site.

    If you can’t locate the library, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of the library.

  2. On the Library tab, in the Connect & Export group, click Connect to Outlook.

Connect to Outlook command

  1. When prompted to open a program on your computer, click Allow.

    In Outlook, the library is added to the Navigation Pane in a new folder named SharePoint Lists.

    The files in the library behave similar to email messages. Click to preview the file in the Reading Pane or double-click the file to open it. Right-click the file for more options.

    Notes: 

    • If the library has subfolders and you want to have access to all of the files in Outlook, view the library at its top level and then connect it to Outlook. By default, if you are working in a subfolder of a library, and then connect the library to Outlook, only the contents of that folder are connected.

    • To access only the contents of a single folder in Outlook, there are two options. If the folder that contains files that you want to access in Outlook is not open, point to the folder, click the Open Menu arrow that appears, and then click Connect to Outlook. If the folder that you want to connect is already open, follow the steps to connect a library. On the Actions menu, click Connect to Outlook.

    • After you connect a library to Outlook, you can invite other team members to connect to the library. Right-click the library name in Outlook, and then click Share This Folder.

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Download a file from a SharePoint library to Outlook

If any new files are available in the SharePoint library, those files appear in the Available for Download group in the message list. You can mark files to be downloaded during the next Send/Receive command, or you download files immediately if a connection to the SharePoint site is available.

  1. In the message list, in the Available for Download group, right-click the file that you want to download.

    Tip:  To select multiple files press and hold CTRL as you click each file header.

  2. Click Mark to Download Document(s).

Note:  If the preview displays a file that hasn't been downloaded yet, click Download this document.

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Open a file from a SharePoint library in Outlook

After files are downloaded to Outlook, you can open the files at any time, such as when you are working offline. To determine whether files are available, at the top of the message list, click Arrange By, and then click Availability. Any files that are not downloaded appear in the Available for Download group.

  1. In Mailor theFolder List, in the Navigation Pane, expand the SharePoint Lists folder, and then select the name of the SharePoint library.

  2. To open a file, double-click the file name. If prompted to verify the source of the file, click Open if you know it is safe to do.

  3. If the file was updated on the SharePoint server after it was downloaded in Outlook, you might be prompted to open the newest version of the file. Click Yes or No, depending on whether you want to open the copy on your computer or the updated copy from the SharePoint server.

    The file opens in the program in which it was created, if you have that program installed on your computer.

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Edit a file from a SharePoint library in Outlook

After files are downloaded to Outlook, you can open the files at any time, such as when you are working offline. To determine whether files are available, at the top of the message list, click Arrange By, and then click Availability. Any files that are not downloaded appear in the Available for Download group.

Tip:  To prevent someone from making changes to a file on the SharePoint server while you are working on it, check out the file. When a file is opened that you have checked out, it opens in editing mode. You can start to make changes immediately.

  1. In Mailor theFolder List, in the Navigation Pane, expand the SharePoint Lists folder, and then select the name of the SharePoint library.

  2. To open a file, double-click the file name. If prompted to verify the source of the file, click Open if you know it is safe to do.

  3. If the file was updated on the SharePoint server after it was downloaded in Outlook, you might be prompted to open the newest version of the file. Click Yes or No, depending on whether you want to open the copy on your computer or the updated copy from the SharePoint server.

    The file opens in the program in which it was created, if you have that program installed on your computer. If the file was created in a program compatible with SharePoint, such as a Microsoft Office program, the message bar might appear at the top of the document.

  4. In the message bar, click Edit Offline.

    A message might appear that provides information about working offline, such as links to the SharePoint Drafts folder on your computer and to the Offline Editing Options for your program.

  5. After you have edited the file, save the file as you usually do.

  6. Close the file.

    If a connection to the server is available when you close the file, the Edit Offline dialog box might appear to enable you to update your changes on the server. If a server connection is not available, the dialog box does not appear when you close the file, However, it might appear when you reconnect, and then reopen the file.

  7. Click Update to update the file on the server.

  8. If the file is checked out, other people can’t see the changes until you check the file in. If the file is checked out, you might be prompted to check in the file. To check in the file, click Yes.

    You might get a prompt to enter additional information, such as comments about the changes that you made or other details about the file.

  9. If you work on the file while you are working without a connection to the server, you are not prompted to update the file when you close it. To update the file on the server, open the file again, make any additional changes that you want, and then close the file. When the Edit Offline dialog box appears, click Update.

    Note:  If you did not check out the file first, and someone updates the file on the SharePoint server, a message appears to inform you of a change conflict. Follow the instructions on your screen to reconcile the changes.

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Add a file to a SharePoint library by sending an email message

If your SharePoint site and library are set up to receive email messages, you can add a file to the library by sending it as an attachment in a message. If you do this, you don’t have to connect your SharePoint library to Outlook.

Before you can send messages to a library, you must know whether the library is set up to receive email file attachments and what email address to use.

  1. To find the email address for the library, do one of the following:

    • Look in the Address Book. If the email address is not there, you can obtain it from the person who set up the library. Then you can add it to your Contacts list so that you can easily find it later.

    • View the description of the library on the SharePoint site, which appears under the title of the library. The site owner might have added the email address of the library to the description.

    • View the email settings for the library. This requires you to have permission to view the library settings:

      1. In a web browser, open the site, and then to open a library, click the library name.

        If the name of your library does not appear, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

      2. On the Settings menu, click the settings for the type of library you are opening.

        For example, in a document library, click Document Library Settings.

      3. If the library is enabled to receive messages, the email address appears under List Information, next to E-mail Address.

        Your organization might have its own email list, which is named a SharePoint group, which enables members to send messages to one another. The SharePoint group address can contain the addresses of libraries so that when you send messages to members of the group, message attachments are automatically added to the SharePoint site. Your SharePoint administrator can give you more information on your organization’s SharePoint libraries.

  2. In Outlook, create a message, and then add a file as an attachment.

  3. In the To or Cc box, enter the email address of the SharePoint library. If your organization uses a SharePoint group that includes the library, use the email address of the SharePoint group instead.

  4. Click Send.

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