To Sync or Not to Sync That is The Question: SharePoint Syncing Explained

While SharePoint Online gives you the ability to sync document libraries, folders and folders to your desktop’s hard drive it may sometimes not be the correct solution for your business. Syncing document libraries in their entirety may cause issues down the line. As the document library grows in size, so does the space this library is taking up on your computer’s hard drive. As a computer’s hard drive space gets smaller and smaller, the slower the machine becomes causing user issues. SharePoint Online has Online in the title because that is how is was designed to be used. It was designed for you and your users to access your files in an online format; eliminating the need to take up hard drive space or use your computer’s resources (to free them up for better things and faster speeds). But, there are times where syncing may be advantageous to the user. A user could use syncing to access folders use very frequently (many times per day) or to work on files offline while traveling on a plane or other place where there is no wireless connectivity. But, as stated before, syncing should be used sparingly. Today’s tips and tricks will show you how to sync files to your machine’s hard drive as well as how to de-sync them to save space.

Set up syncing

    1. On the Office 365 app launcher, choose SharePoint, and then click the site with the files you want to sync.
    2. Click Documents or navigate to the subfolder you want to sync.
    3. Click the Sync button. (You only need to do this once on a computer to set up syncing on that computer. After you set up syncing, the files sync automatically.)
    4. If your browser requests permission to use “Microsoft OneDrive,” confirm that this is okay.
      Important: If you see a screen that says “Which library do you want to sync?”, your site hasn’t been set up to sync with the OneDrive sync client. If you’re the IT admin for your organization, see Enable users to sync SharePoint files with the new OneDrive sync client. If you’re not the IT admin, and your screens don’t look like the ones in this article, see Set up your computer to sync SharePoint on-premises files or contact your IT department.
    5. Choose the folders that you want to sync (and ONLY THOSE FOLDERS as to not sync the entire library), and then click Start sync.

The files will sync to a folder on your PC that has the name of your organization (for example, %userprofile%\Contoso). This folder is automatically added to the left pane in File Explorer. You can’t select to sync to a different location.6. To sync the files on another computer, go to that computer and follow the steps again.

Change sync settings

  1. To change the folders that sync for a site, or to stop syncing all files on a site, follow these steps:
  2. Select the white or blue OneDrive cloud icon in the Windows taskbar notification area.
  3. In the activity center, select More  > Settings.
  4. Click the Account tab to see a list of all your syncing sites.
    5. To change the folders that you’re syncing, click Choose folders for that library, and then choose the folders that you want to sync. To stop syncing a site, click  Stop sync next to the site. (Copies of the files remain on your computer. You can delete them if you want.)If you’re interested in learning how SharePoint Online can transform your business take advantage of a free 30 minute demo. Claim your spot at: