Collaboration within teams on onedrive

Fiona Doonican
New Contributor

Hi all


I am part of a group which uses Teams.  I have been asked to upload/copy/share the onedrive for the team to various channels within the Teams.  


I have done this by copying the files from one drive to the various channels.  However, one of my colleagues says that he can't see any updates.  If I update something on my one drive, does it automatically sync to the team one or do I have to do something else.


Have looked everywhere online to get the answer but I just get confused.  HELP!  Fiona.

10 Replies
Not sure what you want to do here, but there is not out of the box a sync process between OneDrive and your Teams. If you want to share files in your ODFB with people in your Teams, you have to copy them in the channels as you have described, but you will have to do it everytime you update files in your ODFB
Sounds like they are still using the onedrive links, or someone else is updating the onedrive locations instead of the Teams locations. Don't copy documents you need to move them to maintain a single source of truth. Keep in mind if you had sharing links to these onedrive locations those links will stop working if you use the "Move to" command, which will move the files and their version history to the Team (Associated SharePoint Site).

You don't want to copy files or you will end up with the situation your in now. Stick to single source of truth method.

Hi @Fiona Doonican


I hope you are well.


Can we get some clarification please as your description is a bit confusing and unintentially appears to contradict in some places.


SharePoint is the backend to Teams for file storage where all the channels you create also create folders of the same name that you can then populate with files.


OneDrive is more for individual personal access.



I'm particularly confused by your comment about copying the OneDrive files to the various channels (which would be stored in SharePoint) which would then create duplicates of those files in every channel. 


Or are you saying that you have a OneDrive folder that you want to share with each of the channels, which you could try using a web tab to achieve.


If we can take it a step at a time, I think we can work through the question and help you to a resolution.


Best wishes and chat soon.




Hi Damien,


Thank you for your reply.  I have been trying to do training on teams, onedrive and sharepoint and how they work together, but I am finding it very confusing. 


So, here is the scenario.


I am working with a team who want to work via teams and all need to collaborate on the items in one drive.


Can you walk me through the best way to set this up, so that if any of us do any work in one drive outside teams, it will update in teams also.


When I looked in Microsoft, google, youtube etc to find out how to do this, it suggested copying the one drive folders into teams.  It seems that this might not have been the best way to do this.


Please can you tell me how to set this up so that I am not making errors and we can all work in a much better way.

You want to MOVE the files from OneDrive to Teams. Why would you need to keep the files on OneDrive?

Hi @Fiona Doonican


Thanks for clarifying your requirements. The reason we are all a bit confused is that generally you wouldn't want to link OneDrive to Teams when SharePoint is already there to share files (see via Files tab for a better place to store files on SharePoint). Also OneDrive is not designed to be used in Teams so I'll outline a workaround below. 


As Technology Training Coordinator, I train on OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams explaining the following:


  • OneDrive: Your personal storage space in the Cloud where you can synchronise your files to your device (e.g. laptop, computer, etc) and be able to work on your files, anywhere, anytime. It also provides peace of mind backup and version history of your files (retrieve previous versions of your file) and a recycle bin to retrieve deleted files for up to 30 days.

    You can use OneDrive to share and co-author files/folders that would not necessarily be appropriate to via SharePoint.

    Technical note: OneDrive backend is actually SharePoint.
  • SharePoint: Designed to collaborate on files stored in the Cloud. You can also synchronise the files to your device and also co-author documents as well (Office 365).

    There is also a version history and the ability to retrieve previous files as well as cloud backup as well.
  • Teams: A tool to consolidate and collaborate on projects and other activities where people come together to achieve a common goal. You can create Channels in a team (I relate them to topics) and within each team you can set up tabs to have relevant links and files available in a click and connectors to have information feeding into the channel.

    Storing files in Teams is linked to SharePoint so you get all the benefits above as mentioned.

There are two options I see:

  1. Recommended option - Copy all files to a SharePoint folder and create a tab/s in the Channel/s that you wish for the files/folders to appear in. This way no matter what channel you are in, you are always seeing the current files/folders.
  2. I'll address your scenario to share from OneDrive files/folders with a Team, here's how I would do it:

1. (A) If you have synced the files to your device, you can right click onto the relevant file/folder in Windows Explorer and in the menu click onto Share > Copy Link.





1. (B) If you go through OneDrive via web browser (Office online), 




2. In Microsoft Teams, go to your desired Channel that you want to show the the file/folder in.


3.  Where the tabs are, click onto + and add a Website tab.


4. Give the tab a suitable name and paste the OneDrive URL that you had just copied and press Save.


This will give all team members access to the file/folder and anytime that you update the content, it will be immediately reflected.


Note #1: We are just putting OneDrive online (like the web browser) into the website tab to get access.

Note #2: Users may need to login via the new tab to access the OneDrive content.


Hopefully that makes sense. Let us know how you go?


Best wishes and good luck!




I’m new to teams too. When you open a teams channel and upload a document, it’s making a new folder (same name as the channel) and creating a copy of that document on SharePoint. You are no longer collaborating on your original document. This is completely counterintuitive to me. So after making a bunch of channels and starting to collaborate, we discovered a mess of duplicate files and trying to work on the right one... doesn’t work. Teams is a big chat room now with no ability to collaborate on actual documents we using in our SharePoint site (no teams generated SharePoint site). Makes zero sense to me why it’s this way. I must be missing something.

Hi @Chad Degges


I'm not quite clear on your scenario as there's some unusual aspects to it that don't quite make sense (to me) but I'll step you through some of the things I think may be helpful to know:


When you create a new Team, a SharePoint group is created to support your new team. This is where your files will be stored. There isn't two different sets of storage spaces, they are both the same.


When you create a  new Channel, a folder with the channel name will be created in the SharePoint group Documents area. You can then create sub-folders within the channel folders, etc. 


When accessing the files in a Channel under Files tab, you should see a menu option to Open in SharePoint. Click onto this option and you'll see the same file/folder set up in SharePoint. 


Where you may be experiecing your issue is in how you upload your files into the Channels.


For example, if you drag and drop a file into the channel conversation box, a copy of that file will be uploaded to the Channel folder in SharePoint.


If you repeat this step with the same file then you will be prompted whether you want to keep both copies of the file or replace it.


If you want your colleagues to use the copy that is on Teams/SharePoint, in the conversation box area, click onto the paperclip (attach) icon and then onto Browse Teams and Channels.


Navigate within the channel folder and sub-folders and click onto a file and then click Share a link. The file will appear in the conversation box ready to be posted. Sharing a link doesn't create a new copy of the file, it gives users direct access to the source file to collaborate on.


If you want to hunt around for another file in another channel folder, you can click the arrow at the top left of the window to go back to the SharePoint Document main folder to start at the root directory.


I hope that helps in someway to diagnose the issue.


Best wishes!




Thank you! I see that now.  Also, When I create a channel it creates a folder I don’t want created and puts it under documents.  I then have to delete the folder before it adds confusion.  Alternatively, I can create a channel name that exactly matches an existing folder name and the channel won’t create a new/duplicate or warn me that one exists.  Once a channel is created, it can be renamed and not ‘make’ a new folder.  Minor stuff but I’m working out our bugs to see if I can make teams work for us.  I don’t quite follow MS logic on creating a folder based on the channel name under root documents only and then having no connection to it afterwards (changing channel name doesn’t change the folder name for example).  Seems rather constrained and not particularly helpful and created lots of confusion for me out of the box. If I want to make, name, locate a folder.... that’s a very specific task and rarely will fall under ‘automatically’ stick it under docs scenario. IOW, make a channel, make/point to a subfolder, two different things.  When I bring a team together, I always have existing docs and I don’t want to start making copies of documents to be jammed into a team folder, only to be resolved later of which copies are relevant. 


With th teams being able to point to a link, MS gives the flexabilty but it was counterintuitive to start.  


Im anxious to get an external partner to join in a channel and collaborate.... 

Hi @Chad Degges


Teams is an evolving product so more good things will happen as time goes on. Microsoft is pouring a lot of resources into making Teams the app to use so I'd watch this space!


If you have an existing SharePoint site with your docs, you can point it to your desired team so that the Files tab shows your existing SharePoint setup. Then any new channels from there will create folders as usual, etc.


And as for externals collaborating on teams, go nuts. It's a nice feature to play with!




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