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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  • Share a full-resolution image

    If you open a picture in OneDrive, you see an info pane on the right, with a command bar at the top and an optional caption at the bottom. Click the Share command at the top and you get a link you can send to other people who see this same view.

    But what if you just want to share the picture, without all that other stuff? After you create the sharing link to make the picture (or an entire folder) visible to others, click View Original. That opens the picture in the browser at full resolution. Copy the link from the address bar and use that link for sharing.

  • Share two OneDrive accounts

    Every account you create in OneDrive gets a minimum of 7 GB of online storage. Your main account is the only one you can sync to a PC, Mac, or tablet, but you can still access other accounts.

    If you have a second or Hotmail address, open a web browser (ideally in private/incognito mode) and sign in at using that account. Create a new folder or use one of the standard folders, then right-click that folder and choose Share. Use the Invite People link to create a link using the address associated with your main OneDrive account.

    Click the Recipients Can Only View link at the bottom of the Invite window to change the settings: You want to allow yourself to edit files in that folder, and for security reasons you also want to require that you sign in with your Microsoft account.

    When you're done, send the link to yourself. You can now access files from that secondary account by going to OneDrive in a web browser, signing in with your main account, and clicking the Shared link in the pane on the left.

  • Add a cover image to any folder

    Normally, when you open OneDrive in a web browser and choose Thumbnails view, each folder cycles through different images from that folder.

    For some folders, you might want to choose a specific cover image that identifies that folder easily and never changes. To do so, open the folder, find the image, right-click, and choose Add As Cover from the menu. Done.

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.