From File Share to Office 365, what you need to know

From File Share to Office 365

From File Share to Office 365, what you need to know

By Tracy van der Schyff | February 27, 2018

Moving to Office 365 when you’ve been saving your files on your desktop or in a file share for years might seem a daunting task without the correct guidance and support.

Many companies make the mistake of simply installing OneDrive for their users and sending them the link to SharePoint, expecting them to figure it out as they go. Change Management methodologies remind us that without sufficient communication and training, projects will fail. This has a knock-on effect on employee happiness, productivity levels and employee retention.

Apart from the technical know-how, one of the biggest challenges I come across daily, is changing the way people find information.

In a recent webinar “Top 5 Roadblocks when migrating to the cloud” I shared the above illustration, which explains that the progression of finding content has gone from See, to Navigate, Search and now Discovery. Most users are still stuck between See and Navigate. This needs to be addressed before new technology can be added, as Search and Discovery has become the “new way of working”. See above webinar to find more information on the ways people search for information.

What is OneDrive for Business?

“OneDrive for Business is the Microsoft cloud storage service that comes with Office 365 or SharePoint Server. With OneDrive, you can securely store all your files in one place, share them with others, and get to them from anywhere.”

What is SharePoint?

“Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.”

What is Microsoft Teams?

“Microsoft Teams is an entirely new chat-based workplace experience that brings together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more.”

Considerations before taking content across environments

The fastest way would be to “drag and drop” content from old environments to the new environments. This might be the easiest but is not the best way to do it. Before taking content across environments take note of the following:

Duplicate documents

The inability to find documents has easily lead to many duplicate documents in file share environments. If possible, clean this up or consider software to check for duplicates.

Naming conventions

In the past we saved our files “Monthly report v01 printed and checked by Tracy v03 draft final.doc”. We did this out of the fear we had of losing stuff. The more detail you put in the name, the more comfortable you were in knowing you would find it again. This is unnecessary as search includes names as well as the content in the documents (even PDF). OneDrive now also includes OCR scanning (optical-character-recognition) which tags your photos based on text it retrieves from the photos.

Invalid file names and file types in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint

Some limitations (not many) do exist in OneDrive and SharePoint. It’s good to be familiar with this. For example “*: <"> ? / \ |” cannot be used in file or folder names.

File size / types

There are no blocked file types in OneDrive, but there are some restrictions in SharePoint Server and OneDrive for Business on Office 365. Also take note of the size of your files. If you’ve been used to saving files on your local pc, it will take a bit longer to open from cloud storage. Being cognisant of the file sizes will help.

Path lengths

OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online has a 400 character limit for file paths. What do I mean by file path? That’s the total length of your document name which includes the folders in which it resides.

For example:  C:\Users\TracyvanderSchyff\OneDrive for Business\Only Me\Training & Research\Roadmaps\Microsoft Teams Success Kit\Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks Email template

Outdated / old content

Make a decision about which content to take across, only financial year or last 3 years? Only final documents, not working documents? This of course is depending on the industry you’re in / processes you work with.

Below I’ll share different options of saving content to your OneDrive / SharePoint / Teams environments. This will apply to end users working with content daily and ‘migrating’ small volumes of content across to these platforms.


Once OneDrive is installed on your pc, it will be available as a location, visible in your File Explorer. Open two File Explorer windows (Windows Button +E) and split the screens side-by side using Windows Button + Left / Right Arrow.

Drag and Drop (PC)

You’ll now be able to drag and drop files from your old environment (PC / File Share) to the new environment (OneDrive).

Drag and drop

Save from Office

When using OneDrive and SharePoint, these will show in your recent locations in Office. When creating a file, you can save the file directly to this location.

Save from Office


Sync your library

In SharePoint you can sync your library to a local copy on your machine. This location will then be available same as OneDrive through your file explorer / save from Office applications.

Sync your library

Create new documents

New documents can be created in SharePoint Online using Office online.
Create new documents

Upload Files

In both the OneDrive web client and SharePoint online, you’re able to upload files and folders.
Upload Files

Drag and drop files (web)

Split your windows as explained above and drag & drop your files to the SharePoint Library (or OneDrive in the web).

Drag and drop files (web)

Microsoft Teams

Create new files

In the Files Tab (Document library on SharePoint) in Microsoft Teams you can create new files / folders.

Create new files

Upload files

Here you also have the ability to upload files from your pc / OneDrive.

Upload files

Drag and drop

The ability to drag and drop files from your local pc is also available for Microsoft Teams in the files Tab.

Drag and drop

Attach documents to conversations

In Microsoft Teams you’re also able to attach files to conversations. These will automatically be stored in the corresponding folder for that channel.

Attach documents to conversations


Believe me when I say it gets easier. Any new environment is scary, but with enough transparency, communication and training it will become your new way of working. Keep your eye on the Roadmaps for Office 365, What’s new in Office 365 Blogs and the Office 365 Training centre. These resources are invaluable in keeping you up to date and using the latest technology to your advantage.

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Tracy van der Schyff

Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.

Written By: Tracy van der Schyff