My Favorite Top 5 Features in OneDrive

June 17th, 2014 No comments

Unless you are living in a cave, everywhere in the Microsoft technology stack you look these days, the first thing you would notice is that Microsoft is fully committed to deliver their next generation of their products in the cloud.

OneDrive , a product formerly known as SkyDrive, is one of Microsoft’s first investments in the cloud. To put it in layman’s term, OneDrive is your personal file storage/synchronization service that uses cloud as its backbone. The service was designed and implemented to compete with similar cloud-based storage services like Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive, to name a few! To make it a bit complicated, there are two distinct services Microsoft offers that carry the word “OneDrive”, and you certainly should NOT be confusing these two:

  1. Microsoft OneDrive : This is the consumer facing storage and synchronization service and the focus of this blog post. If you don’t have this service, you can sign up and get 7 GB  15GB (See this update) of Free space right away. All you need is a Microsoft account and Internet, and that’s all about it!
  2. Microsoft OneDrive for Business : This is the commercial facing service and you can read about it more here. If you have an internal SharePoint site or an Office 365 site,  you may encounter the word “OneDrive” in the top navigation or in various pages and that is an abbreviation for “OneDrive for Business” (the commercial service) to keep things simpler, as shown in the picture below:


Some very exciting updates to OneDrive and Office 365 were announced yesterday:

  • OneDrive will come with 15 GB for free (up from 7 GB)
  • All versions of Office 365 will come with 1 TB of OneDrive storage (up from 20 GB) – including OneDrive for Business (previously announced)
  • Storage prices have been dropped by over 70%


Focusing on Microsoft OneDrive, in this blog post I’d like to walk you through a few features of  Microsoft OneDrive that I have found useful:

1) Different Flavors, Supporting Different Platforms

Whether you are using your computer or your smart phone to work with your files, there is a OneDrive sku available for you. You can download OneDrive Desktop App and install it on your computer or you can add the smart phone app and work with your files just as you would on your computer. You can see a list of currently supported platforms for OneDrive here:

2) Tight Integration with Office, Both Offline and Online

OneDrive has a tight integration with Office, and it doesn’t matter if you are in the Office client apps offline, or in online. For example, the following picture shows the ability of OneNote client app to create and store a new Notebook in my OneDrive, the same goes for other Office client apps such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint.



If you browse to Office online at , sign in using your Microsoft account (or account) and create an Office document online, then your document will end up in your OneDrive instance in a folder called “Documents” and it’s viewed by Office Web app, as shown in the picture below:


While you are there, pay special attention to the fact that there is no “Save” button in the online version of Office apps as everything will be automatically saved to your OneDrive instance in the background.


3) Offline and Online Folder Structure

If you’ve installed OneDrive on your desktop, laptop or Surface, you’ll have a dedicated OneDrive folder which also gets added to your Favorites library in Windows Explorer. This allows you to work with your files offline (even when you don’t have Internet)  and perform file management tasks easier via familiar windows-style drag and drop.All you need to do is to drag the files you intend to share with others to the respective folders and everything is synchronized in the background when you have internet connectivity  to the online storage on Microsoft servers.


Side note: Green icon next to each file and folder represent complete sync state.

If you prefer to work with the online Web-based UI, just browse to your OneDrive Website at and the same folder structure will be there represented by blue tiles (big blue icons). Each folder also comes with thumbnail previews rotating through the content of each folder. Pretty cool feature that allows you to preview the content of each container without having to peek into every folder.


4) Guest Links

One of the advantages that OneDrive has over conventional file storage systems is the ability to share your content.  That comes really handy when you need to work with others collaboratively on for example a presentation or a document. You can share from the local folder structure or via OneDrive Website , which both will land you in the following page online:


When it comes to sharing, you have multiple options but the one that says “Recipients don’t need a Microsoft account” means anonymous sharing (or guest links). You send someone a link, they click on it and they can view (or edit) the document with or without having a Microsoft account.


5) Fetch Files

Another interesting feature of OneDrive is the ability to fetch files access all your computers via a central location in the OneDrive Website. When you browse one of your PC’s files remotely through the Website , you can download copies of the files or stream videos on that PC to your current device. Obviously, to use this feature you need to ensure the remote PC is turned on, it is connected to the Internet and OneDrive application is running.

Fetch files feature doesn’t work with your smart phones, as well as devices shipped with Windows 8.1

You can even access files on network shares and mapped drives if they exist in the remote PC you fetch files from. The following picture shows the PCs I can remotely access via OneDrive Website.


Other useful links related to this topic:

Categories: General, SharePoint 2013 Tags:

Canadian MVP Consumer Camp 2014

May 14th, 2014 No comments


I wanted to let everyone know about a great event that Microsoft is organizing at the Microsoft Store at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga – the first Canadian MVP Consumer Camp on Thursday, May 29th from 4pm to 9pm. I will be there with my fellow MVPs answering tech questions, showing off demos and the unique features of Microsoft devices. There will be prize draws, Q&A sessions, snacks and refreshments.

MVPs are recognized exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others. We speak at events, answer questions online, and have awesome technical blogs!  I will be there with quite a few MVPs from across Canada!

For those of you who haven’t been to a Microsoft Store yet, they are amazing!  They have a huge selection of the latest products and gadgets with experts who can answer all of your questions.  If you can’t make the event, definitely try to drop in to a store to try the latest Xbox game, check out Windows 8.1 and its great touch features or to buy the latest and greatest Windows Phone.  The Nokia Lumia 1020 has an unbelievable camera by the way 😉

Do you have any questions about Surface, Windows, Office, Windows Phone or Xbox?  Do you want to learn about how to get the most out of your gadgets?  There will be an MVP there who can provide answers! Hope to see you there!

Register here!



Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Tech Genius – Ask your Toughest Technical Questions

April 10th, 2014 No comments

New this year, we are having Ask the Experts round-table sessions in SharePoint Summit Toronto. I am leading “Tech Genius – Ask your toughest technical questions ( Dev & IT Pto) track. If you are around, come and see us in Session 3.4 during the conference. Dates and times are in the following flyer:

3-28-2014 9-58-43 AM

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Free SharePoint 2013 Apps: Action Tracker and Sticky Notes

March 7th, 2014 No comments

As you may have heard, apps are big in SharePoint 2013. In our SharePoint 2013 projects, we heavily rely on the new app architecture to deliver functionality that target end users. Recently, we have added two *free* SharePoint 2013 apps to the SharePoint App Store. Here is a brief description on each of them.

Action Tracker app lets you assign tasks to other users in the site and track the status of  the assigned tasks. The app was implemented using Twitter Bootstrap and Backbone.js, and uses SharePoint REST APIs.

See more about this app at


Action tracker app Has 3 different sections. On the left pane you see Tasks Assigned to You, My Action Items which is the tasks that you have created, and also Items that are due today.

On the main section you can see the 6 most recent items. You can also create items or view all items, in a grid view.

In the down section you have the navigation pane which lets you navigate through different pages. Below is a screen shot of all items.



The strong point about this grid view is that it works instantaneously when you navigate through pages or edit an item. After all it’s all about being the fastest 😉

The next app is the “Sticky Notes”. This simple but useful app brings sticky notes to your SharePoint Site. You can put small colorful reminders on a white wall. This app was created using the same architecture as “Action Tracker”, so the user experience is pretty the same. Also with how well they perform your users will feel like they are using an offline app.

This app is available at


That was a brief intro on our new FREE apps, please check them out in the SharePoint Store  and as always, we would love to hear your feedback!

Categories: SharePoint 2013 Tags:

Reasons to Love Yammer

February 13th, 2014 No comments

I love Yammer because it’s easy to use (just like Facebook). To me, Yammer is Facebook on diet …I mean there is no fluff or information overload and you can be much more focused on the conversation itself.

Conversations are like the oxygen for my daily work, so I do whatever it takes to improve them. Yammer is giving me the oxygen!

I love Yammer because it helps me explain SharePoint social features to my customers a lot easier than My Sites in SharePoint itself.  Here is an example of how I educate my customers on social features in Yammer before letting them touch MySite in SharePoint:


Have I replaced my outlook and Lync with Yammer? Absolutely No! Yammer is yet another right tool for the job. Depending on how urgent or braod my conversations are with my customers I use different tools. The following picture shows the model I follow:

Great article on how Yammer can help you drive better communication channels  with your customers: 

Categories: SharePoint 2010 Tags: