Six clicks: Microsoft OneDrive tricks that make it easy

Six clicks: Microsoft OneDrive tricks that make it easy

Summary: Microsoft's free cloud storage isn't just for Office files. You can use its rich set of features to share files, photos, and documents. Here are six tricks to help you get more out of OneDrive.

TOPICS: Cloud, Microsoft

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  • Move the OneDrive folder

    On a Windows PC, your synced files appear in a subfolder in your user profile folder. But you can move those synced files to an alternate folder or even to a separate drive, if you prefer. The latter strategy is handy if you're using a Windows tablet with limited storage and you want to put your synced files on an SD card.)

    In Windows 8.1, the OneDrive sync utility is installed by default. Right-click the folder in File Explorer, choose Properties, and pick a folder from the Location tab.

    In Windows 7, install the OneDrive sync utility from During setup, you can choose the local folder. If you've already set it up, right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and choose Settings. Then click Unlink OneDrive. Move your locally synced files to the new folder and then run setup again.

    Previously on six clicks:

    Six clicks: What we think we know about Windows 9

    Six clicks: What we know about Microsoft's Internet of Things

    Six clicks: Weird tricks that will actually make you happier with Windows 8.1

    Six Clicks: Dead software we loved

    Six clicks: Gadgets to let you do more with your tablet/smartphone



  • Embed a document in a blog or web page

    It's easy enough to share a document, a picture, or a whole folder from OneDrive. The commands are all at the top of the browser window when you navigate to that object.

    For pictures and folders, there's also an embed option, which allows you to insert a link into a blog or web page. But how do you do that with a Word Online file or a PDF document?

    The simple trick: don't open the document. Instead, find the document entry in its folder and select it by right-clicking. When you do that, you'll see an Embed option on the right-click menu and at the top of the web page. Choose that option and follow the instructions to generate HTML code that you can paste in your blog or web page.

  • Create an online survey

    When you sign in to OneDrive in a web browser, you'll see a Create button at the top of the page. Clicking that button leads to a drop-down menu that allows you to create an online Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, OneNote notebook, or text file.

    But there's another option as well. Click the Excel Survey option to create a special Excel spreadsheet and build a multi-question survey on the fly. After you're done, you can share a link to that survey that other people can fill in using any web browser. They enter the data, but only you can see the results.

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft

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  • #5 is something i've been looking for

    The ability to see my work Microsoft account info along with my personal info is something I've been trying to figure out for a long time. That one tip made your post worthwhile, even though 4 of the other 5 I didn't know either.

    Do you have any tips for integration of organizational accounts in Office 365 E and A plans and OneDrive for Business with the Microsoft accounts and OneDrive? I think when Microsoft makes that integration easy OneDrive will be feature solid.

    Great tips!
  • I'm still waiting for MS to fix OneDrive

    Since Windows 8.1, you can't use it if you don't sign in with an MS account... I prefer local accounts, why can't I configure it individually like I did back in Windows 8 and previous versions...
    • That's the killer

      I spent lots of time trying to work around that issue. I refuse to be forced to log in to my computer with a Microsoft email account. They ruined a great feature that I used all the time.
      • You guys don't realize...

        You can use any email address for a Microsoft account, and you control what is synced.
        Ed Bott
      • You guys also don't realize...

        You can still use a local account but will need to access OneDrive using the web app only. If you want to use the service then you have to play by their rules. Their rules do make sense.
        The Heretic
        • Thank God Google doesn't make you follow their rules....

          After all, Google doesn't have any rules, now do that? Compare MS Office On-line to Google Docs, hands down MS is better.
        • Not Correct

          I use my own e-mail address and have no problem anywhere, Windows 8, Windows 7, and in the browser.

          I used Google Docs for awhile. OneDrive is way ahead of it.
  • OneDrive has got a great API

    there's tons of more stuff you can do with it if you know how to program against it.
  • Good tips

    Thanks for sharing, especially #5 and #6!
  • How about OneDrive for Business

    We are in the process of coming up on Office 365 and we will have OneDrive for business, are all of these tricks the same for OneDrive for business? I think that OD4B uses SharePoint online as its backend if you will and that is different than OneDrive for consumers. Feel free to correct me if I am not correct on that.
    • You are correct, OneDrive for Business is different

      These tips don't apply to OneDrive for Business, unfortunately.
      Ed Bott
    • Unfortunately

      One Drive for business is really Sharepoint, making simple document and fileshareing amongst small business work colleagues a whole lot more of a pain than it needs to be.
      Alan Smithie
  • Syncing

    OneDrive is slow with syncing and files get lost or screwed up. I want to edit files on my HD (not the sync folder) and THEN sync them with the OneDrive folder without having to manually copy them. Can OneDrive do this? Thanks.
    • Local edit of OneDrive files

      This is an easy one. You always have the option to store files locally. Always select and edit the file on your had. OneDrive will do the rest automatically. That local storage is the folder you set up on your had when you actually install OneDrive onto your system rather than only using the default set up by the web client.
      The Heretic
  • I would add....

    Stream video content to your XBOX one.

    Create a folder with the "type" == Pictures
    Add video clips to that folder (I use WMV or MP4)
    Fire up your XBOX One
    Say "go to skydrive" or "go to onedrive"
    You will see the thumbnails of your videos, select one and it streams

    I used this all the time since the XBOX One left our Media Center capabilities, which is another reason I keep a 360 around as well.
  • OneDrive good for offsite backup

    Previously I couldn't persuade SkyDrive to mirror the contents of my data partition in the cloud. If I deleted a file on my data partition, SkyDrive would very annoyingly reinstate it. Maybe this was my fault, but I spent hours trying to work around this serious problem.

    Now OneDrive mirrors perfectly, and IMO quickly.

    One trick that may help other users (what do you think Ed?): I don't want OD mirroring every one of the many thousand changes that occur in my data partition every day. So what I do is to mirror my data partition to a separate OD partition twice per week (though you could do it daily or what ever). It is then this partition that mirrors in the OD cloud.

    The second HUGE advantage of this is that I filter out stuff I don't want or need to backup, such as the thousands of changes to eg,
    \System Volume Information\
    and many others. The above is part of my filter in FreeFileSync. This limits the size of my OD partition and prevents the PC working like crazy to keep synced to the cloud.
  • Hey Ed, why can't we edit?

    I was going to add, that if you agree with me that OD now makes a fine off-site backup, this could merit a whole new article, where you would express it much better than my attempt above.

    It has made my life MUCH easier - I no longer have to keep an external drive in the garden shed! Thank you Microsoft.
  • Ummm...OneDrive is rubbish

    Its design is inferior to pretty much all its competitors, and its slow sync speed and how users who upgraded to Windows 8.1 found their remote file "Fetch" feature removed without notice speaks poorly of the backroom support and coding wherewithal. (For grins, look up what it takes to have your files available offline.)

    OneDrive might be OK with your elderly relative who wants to access family pics and (short) videos, but for anyone
    • Just depends what you want to do

      For me, it backs up my 25GB data drive just fine, which is all I want it to do for the time being. Yesterday it backed up around 1GB to the cloud in around 2 hours which I thought wasn't too bad given our poor bandwidth here in Central Asia.
  • OneDrive rules.

    I quit use Google docs for OneDrive, previously SkyDrive. It works great from my Window Phone 8, with Office built-in, my Surface Pro and my Desktop. Don't leave home without it.