Sync Office 365 to OneDrive for Business

Keeping track of all the different file sharing solutions you may be working with can be a pain. Whether you use DropBox, Box, or OneDrive, it can be a lot to worry about. If you have multiple devices to work with and each one runs a unique operating system, it can be a bit more confusing. If you’re running Windows 8 with a Microsoft account, as opposed to a local account, you get OneDrive synced automatically to your Microsoft account, even though you may have a completely separate account for your Office 365 connection to your OneDrive for Business. We can fix that by learning how to sync Office 365 to OneDrive for Business.

It may sound extreme, but this was the very scenario I faced recently. B & C Kitchens is a small business with a focus on cabinetry and custom kitchens that prides itself on being cutting-edge technologically. They found that their existing infrastructure is so diverse that the technology was working against them. When they heard that OneDrive for Business was going to offer 1 TB of storage space, they wanted in on that. The question was how to get it all set up.

Elements of this integration are relatively simple: For example, if you have an Office 365 account and want to get your iPhone or iPad to work with it, then you can just download the Microsoft OneDrive for Business app, put in your user account and password, and you connect. (See Microsoft’s step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Microsoft OneDrive for Business app on iPad.)

Note: OneDrive has an app for iOS devices, but we’re still waiting for a OneDrive for Business app for other mobile platforms. In the interim, you can access OneDrive for Business through the Microsoft Document Connection if you have Office 2011 installed.

Syncing Office 365 to OneDrive: Solving the Multiple Accounts Issue

Setting up OneDrive for Business on a Windows 8 system can be a bit complicated. In the case of B & C Kitchens, they would log in using their Microsoft account, which gave them OneDrive already built-in. Now they wanted to set up the OneDrive for Business side, which uses their Office 365 account. They were confused. Do they have to log in with the Office 365 account and move everything over to the new account? Perhaps Microsoft should have given potential customer confusion a bit more thought.

I put their minds at ease: The two logins are not one and the same. You remain logged into Windows 8 with your Microsoft account and configure your apps — Outlook 2013, Lync, OneDrive for Business — to use the username and password for Office 365.

Working with the OneDrive for Business App

To get started, head to the Microsoft Store and download the OneDrive for Business app.

Downloading the Microsoft OneDrive for Business App

Downloading the Microsoft OneDrive for Business App. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Once the app is downloaded, sign in with your Office 365 account.

Signing in to Office 365

Signing in to Office 365. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Note: Using your username and password it should connect directly to your OneDrive for Business files. At times I’ve seen where it asks you to provide the URL at some point during the process and you may need to log into your Office 365 portal and obtain the OneDrive URL to paste into the dialog.

Once installed, you are going to want to do a Sync between your OneDrive for Business online portal and your computer. To do this, log in to the Microsoft Office 365 portal and choose OneDrive at the top.

Office 365 Sync

Syncing Office 365 documents. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Click the Sync option.

The Office 365 'Sync now' option.

The Office 365 ‘Sync now’ option. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

When the Sync this library Windows opens, select ‘Sync now.’

Office 365 file syncing progress

Office 365 file syncing progress. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Once your files are synchronized you will be able to see them through your File Explorer under the OneDrive for Business link, shown below.

OneDrive for Business in File Explorer

OneDrive for Business in File Explorer, highlighted in gray under the ‘Dropbox’ link in the left menu. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Note: You still have a OneDrive link for your Live login account in Windows 8, which is great for personal items like personal documents, photos, and videos, but now you also have the OneDrive for Business link for connecting up to your Office 365 OneDrive folder. You can also initiate the Sync from your OneDrive for Business menu through the notification area, shown below.

OneDrive for Business Sync Options

OneDrive for Business Sync Options. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

Note the option to “Sync a new library.” This allows you to change the location of where you are linking to and where you store files. You’ll need to provide the URL of the new library and ensure you have a username and password that allows you to access the library.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business library sync

Microsoft OneDrive for Business library sync. (Image: J. Peter Bruzzese)

To locate the URL, you log into your Office 365 portal and access OneDrive. Next, copy the URL and paste it in the dialog below.

OneDrive Collaboration

Once you have OneDrive for Business set up and synchronized with your online folders it’s relatively easy to figure out the process of working with files and folders, especially if you have worked with other tools like Dropbox. In the office, you can establish the contract and save a copy to your OneDrive for Business, and out in the field you can pull that up using your iPad or Surface.