OneDrive and Office Online: Upload, Sync, and Manage Files

Lesson 4: Upload, Sync, and Manage Files



OneDrive isn't just for storing documents. You can also upload other files, like photos, videos, and music. In total, OneDrive gives you 5GB of free space to store files of all types.

In this lesson, you will learn how to upload and sync files from your computer to OneDrive. You'll also learn how to move files from one folder to another. Finally, you'll learn about additional file options, including special options for managing photos.

Watch the video below to learn more about uploading and syncing files in OneDrive.

Uploading and syncing files with OneDrive

The OneDrive desktop application makes it easy to upload and sync files across all of your devices. If you have Windows 8.1 or 10, the OneDrive app is already built in. If you're using an earlier version of Windows, review our lesson on Getting Started with OneDrive to learn how to install the app (if you haven't already). The OneDrive desktop application works like any other folder on your computer. Whenever you move a file to the OneDrive folder, that file is moved online to the cloud, allowing you to access the same version of that file from any computer connected to the Internet.

To upload files:

  1. Locate the file on your computer that you want to upload to your OneDrive.
  2. Click and drag the file to the OneDrive folder.
  3. The file will appear on your OneDrive. Now you can access the file from anywhere by signing in to your OneDrive account.

To upload folders:

Uploading individual files can be time consuming. Fortunately, you can move entire folders to OneDrive. Whenever you upload a folder, the folder and every file stored within it will be uploaded to your OneDrive.

  1. Locate the folder you want to upload to your OneDrive.
  2. Click and drag the folder to the OneDrive folder.
  3. The folder and its files will appear on your OneDrive.

Uploading files on the Web

If you don't have access to the OneDrive desktop application, you can upload files using the web uploader. The process takes a little more time than uploading files with the OneDrive application, but it's still an easy way to upload files from anywhere.

To upload files to OneDrive on the Web:

  1. Navigate to OneDrive. Locate and select the Upload button.
  2. Locate and select the desired file. You can select multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key, then click Open.
  3. Your files will be uploaded to OneDrive. (This may take a few moments.)

Managing files

After you've been using OneDrive for a while, you might find yourself having a difficult time keeping track of all of your files. Fortunately, OneDrive offers several features to help you manage and organize them.

Watch the video below to learn more about managing your files in OneDrive.

Sorting your files

When you navigate to the OneDrive main page, you'll see all of your files and folders. You can choose which files to view by selecting various options in the left navigation pane.

You can also change how your files are displayed by clicking the View Options icon.

  • Tiles view lets you view your files in a grid of icons. This is the default view for your files and folders.
  • List view lets you view your files with their names and other information, which may feel more familiar if you usually work with files on a desktop computer.

  • Photos view is great for when you have a folder of photos you'd like to skim through. It shows you thumbnails of your photos scaled down in a grid.

Searching for files

You can find documents by using the search feature. Searching lets you look for a specific document using words contained within the document and its title.

  • To search for a file, click the search bar. Type the word or words you want to search for, then press Enter. Your search results will appear.

Working with folders

You can use folders to organize your files. Documents can be stored in folders and moved from one folder to another. Moving documents can be useful because you can share a document simply by moving it to a shared folder. For example, if you're working on a project with a group of people, you can share a folder with them. Then you can move any files you want to share with the group to that folder.

To learn more about creating and sharing folders, review our lesson on how to Create and Share Office Documents.

To move a file to a folder:

  1. Hover the mouse over a file, then click the check box in the upper-right corner. You can select multiple files by clicking additional check boxes.
  2. Click the Move to button in the menu at the top.
  3. A Move items to pane will appear on the right side of the screen. Select the folder where you want to move the file, then click Move.
  4. Your file will be moved. If you moved your file to a shared folder, your file will be shared as well.

More file options

To access additional file management options, right-click the file.

These options include:

  • Version history: Access and restore earlier saved versions of the file.
  • Download: Save a copy of the file to your computer. Downloaded documents will not be updated when you make changes to them on OneDrive.
  • Rename: Change the file's name.
  • Delete: Move the file to the Recycle Bin. You will need to empty the Recycle Bin to permanently delete a file.

To empty the Recycle Bin:

  1. Locate and select the Recycle Bin in the left navigation menu.
  2. The Recycle Bin will appear. Click the Empty recycle bin button.
  3. The files will be permanently deleted from your OneDrive.