Designing a Fluent and Intelligent OneDrive

Published 12-18-2018 03:03 PM 74.8K Views

Over a billion people use Office every day, across different industries, geographies, and even generations. They trust our products to help manage everything from trillions of dollars of global business to their children’s homework.


Last year at the BUILD conference, Microsoft unveiled Fluent. It’s a new visual and interaction design system we created for Windows, Office and the Universal apps platform to deliver experiences that are adaptive, empathetic and beautiful across modalities.


Fluent Design is now expanding to the web and aligning the entire Office 365 suite on a common color palette, typography, icon systems and elevation styles. You’ll notice a shared header across products, with elements thoughtfully aligned to the same grid everywhere, and added depth, to focus on what matters.


We’re excited to announce that this concept includes OneDrive and will span across multiple devices to offer a unified experience across all platforms starting at the highest level, with the new Office icons we announced last week.


New Office 365 iconsNew Office 365 icons

Reimagining the possibilities for the OneDrive experience

As we looked across the changes coming to the Office Suite, we spent a lot of time to ensure that within OneDrive we didn’t just bring a “cool new coat of paint” but, worked to bring timesaving features that could also leverage our powerful intelligence services. Our goal was to see how we could better help you to understand what has transpired since your last visit, what requires your attention as well as the ability to quickly pick up where you left off.


Here's the OneDrive experience todayCurrent OneDrive user interfaceCurrent OneDrive user interface

This is OneDrive with the Fluent Design Update

We’ve aligned on a new Fluent design across the Office apps including a coherent product header and navigation, simplified font styles, warmer color palette, thoughtful elevation system, golden folders and more.We’ve aligned on a new Fluent design across the Office apps including a coherent product header and navigation, simplified font styles, warmer color palette, thoughtful elevation system, golden folders and more.

A Powerful, Intelligent OneDrive

Not only have we refreshed OneDrive, we’re delivering collection of time-saving features.


New Golden Folder icon design

As you may have noticed in many of the screenshots within this post, we plan to refresh the representation of one of the most commonly used objects across the suite: The file folder. We are introducing golden folders with subtle, yet noticeable clues emblazoned on the icon to remind you of the contents and sharing status of each folder.


Recommended files

Leveraging Office’s new intelligent services, we’re pleased to introduce the new Recommended files feature. This view will help you get you to your files faster by recommending files to you based on how you work and how you collaborate with others.  It also brings attention to important files relevant to you, that you may not want to miss. 


Intelligent file recommendations help you get to your files that matter faster.Intelligent file recommendations help you get to your files that matter faster.

File Card and an Inside Look on files

The file card in OneDrive and SharePoint provides a wealth of information at a glance.  You can keep track of activity around a file and whether it has been viewed recently.  You can also get deeper information like Key Points from documents and the average time to read. This information can help you make quick decisions about which content to read and how to best prioritize your day.


Decide if you would like to read a document based on the time to read and key points.Decide if you would like to read a document based on the time to read and key points.

Recent View

We heard from a lot of customers that wanted a quicker way to continue with files they were just working on. Recent view allows you to see the files you have been recently viewing or editing and lets you to filter or sort based on last modified, sharing or activity by anyone you are working with internally or externally.


Quickly pick up where you left off with an improved Recent viewQuickly pick up where you left off with an improved Recent view

Activity and lifecycle signals

Another piece of feedback we have received is to make it easier to know what files have changed since your last session. The easier to read column will now inform users about unseen edits, mentions and comments. Files in list and tile views now feature prominent icon indicators near their filename to more clearly denote trending content, checked out files, or content that is protected by IRM, AP or MDM policies.


Easily stay up to date on your file activity.Easily stay up to date on your file activity.

Easily stay up to date on your file activity.Easily stay up to date on your file activity.

Full-fidelity shared libraries in OneDrive


OneDrive’s mission goes beyond your personal cloud storage, and it now connects you better than ever to all your files across Microsoft 365. Not only can you sync shared libraries from SharePoint and Microsoft Teams to your PC or Mac using OneDrive, you can now view shared libraries in OneDrive on the web with support for viewing file metadata.


Our initial capabilities include the following, but we don’t plan to stop there:

  • Viewing custom metadata, including custom column formatting
  • Sorting and grouping by custom metadata
  • Changing your file view to any previously saved file view
  • Using Attention view to quickly identify where required metadata is missing


Custom columns created in shared libraries from SharePoint will be visible in OneDrive.Custom columns created in shared libraries from SharePoint will be visible in OneDrive.

These new changes will start to roll out in the coming weeks. They are the result of research and testing, trial and error and a lot of long days. Design is a journey, not a destination and you are on this journey with us.


We encourage you to share your feedback on what you like as well as what might make it a stronger experience for you in the comment area below or via our UserVoice channel.


We look forward to hearing your feedback on how to make our designs help make OneDrive even more personal for you.


-The OneDrive Team

Occasional Contributor

design changing comes to both personal and business OneDrive?

New Contributor

Date to arrive??

It looks like this about OneDrive for Business (and/or about both the consumer and business versions of OneDrive), yet there isn't a single mention of that "ODfB" name anywhere. Please tell me this is a horrible oversight rather than a future direction - but it is not helpful at all to not be clear about which product we're discussing.


I sure wish you'd use the SharePoint label for tenant name sites "Shared Libraries". People often don't quite understand that's SharePoint and it is confusing (especially since those libraries are shown with a tenant-my URL.).

Super Contributor

As Outlook Web Access is getting same look as personal Outlook, i don't think MS plans to leave any type of OneDrive with an old look. They are telling that all products are getting new look/design. So i think they don't mention ODfB specifically as there is no difference. Well, i just think that all OD will get it in different times. As for design, it looks great. Gray folders always looked bland to me and warmer colors are good.

Valued Contributor
All the functionality great...however, I think it's time for Microsoft to revisit the whole OneDrive / SharePoint / Microsoft Team / Yammer / Microsoft Stream 'packaging' and remaster the brands. So much overlapping functionality which will only deepen if Kaizala takes off next year. It shouldn't need a diagram to explain it all. So, absolutely, a journey not a destination if you like but everyone needs a compass, a map and some orientation.
Senior Member

Yes !!! Much needed change was required to OneDrive. I am one of them who use OneDrive and depends on it and its services.


Thank you for sharing the update.


@Zsolt Potor


We plan to bring these changes to consumer as well but don't have a timeline to share just yet on when this will happen


@Jesus Verduzco


These changes will start to roll out in Jan

New Contributor

@Stephen Rose Amazing!!!

Senior Member

Nice. Really like the "File Card and an Inside Look on files" feature.

Occasional Visitor

Dear @Stephen Rose,


The new design is a welcome improvement over the previous one, but for an unknown reason, there is still small unnecessary inconsistency, and I would like you to explain it please from your point of view.
For example:  
1. To highlight a tab on a menu the new office 365 design & UWP overall design language, use colored underline like in the picture added (highlight_01.jpg, highlight_02.jpg, New OneDrive UI Fixed.png).
2. The welcome title “Good evening/morning base on time” like the one on the new office 365 design is missing which is disappointed because it makes the user experience even more personal.
3. Some Shared Libraries icon lost in the process of this new design such as the “HR Handbook,” Expo V-Team.
4. I am not sure about this, but it looks like the “Recommended” categories are scrollable horizontal and not vertical which is not good because of the Eye laziness rule - the motion review eye's movement is more natural from top to bottom (vertically) than to the sides (horizontally) because it put less stress on the eyes muscles.     


Links for pictures:                                                                                                               !AoEw2ADZC6tThIF_IUjjLep1H2WTmA



Shaked Benratzon


Occasional Visitor

It looks nice. Now all needed is a proper Linux client for OneDrive so we can share our files across all platforms. Any ETA on that?




Great feedback. I will share it with the design team.

Senior Member

Is this update limited to the web app or will it come to the OneDrive UWP too? 

Occasional Contributor

I appreciate any 'at-a-glance' features. Good stuff!

Good changes! The file activity card improvement will be useful for our teachers who will be able to see who has viewed a file. I also appreciate the effort to make the UI more consistent. A couple of questions and comments:


1. Will recommended files be the default? And how do you switch between the recommended files view and the list view? Honestly, I suspect most of our users will find the recommended view to be a distraction, but we shall see.


2. Any changes to the “Shared” view? Shared with me and by me is a bit of a mess currently, to be honest, and are at the very top of the list of issues that we hear from our users. A redesign would be very helpful. This is a part of the experience which is not consistent with OneDrive on the desktop. For instance: on the web you now have “Shared” (with files and folders shared from OneDrive) and “Shared libraries” (from SharePoint), but in file explorer you have “Company name”, which shows shared folders and libraries, but not single files, and only if you have explicitly chosen to sync them. For file explorer it would be really nice, if it just automatically showed all shared files, folders and libraries. With files on demand, disk space is not as big a worry as before. Even for those libraries, which are not allowed to sync, you could replace all files and folders with shortcuts to the web version, much like OneNote.


3. Will we ever see a foldable tree view like in file explorer? Sorry, had to ask :)

Regular Visitor

Great features, thank you!  Keep making the one drive and sharepoint library experience one and the same!  Both from a features/function perspective and from a design perspective.  You should really get with the teams group to bring the same experience to the files tab in teams as well!!


also +1 to the “shared by me” view.  This is important for security reasons for users to be able to review who there files are shared with at a glance. 

Senior Member

These updates look great! Have they rolled out? I don’t see all the features that are described in this article. The side bar icons are different than the old ones, though.


@Stephen Rose 




Occasional Visitor

When will it be available for end users?

Super Contributor

>These new changes will start to roll out in the coming weeks.


In MS language this could mean months and even years.. I got tired on checking OneDrive on web every few weeks to see the update and not expecting it any time soon.

Super Contributor
This isn't even consistent with the Outlook website. The search bar should be in the main header and the bar of actions should be grey like the navigation panel and extend to the whole screen and not stop at the navigation panel. Also, there's some unnecessary padding above the title. Also, please improve the performance of the new Outlook and OneDrive websites. Oh, I also hope you've renamed Shared Libraries to SharePoint. Please make a Linux client too! Also, Stephen Rose said it would be coming in January. It's April now. I can opt into the new website on my school/work account but not my personal account. I'd love a beta program.
Occasional Visitor

Has this been pushed out already? Our SharePoint and OneDrive documents seem to be affected and we can no longer access the files.

Super Contributor

For what it's worth, a few days ago i have noticed that top bar became blue and probably some menus are now different. But folders icons are still gray and no additional status icons, etc. So it is partially deployed.


John333, i think you are best by creating a support ticket. It might not be even related to new design.

New Contributor

Will it indicate if file is shared with external users?

New Contributor

Pinned to a dark taskbar, using small icons (which is our standard desktop config) the new Office icons look terrible. Users are complaining that it is hard to tell the difference between Word and Excel when they are in a hurry. Is there a way to use the old icons?

Super Contributor

This article is regarding OneDrive redesign, although they mention overall Office redesign. Haven't seen any recent post here about new Office icons. I guess you can comment at the medium article linked above or on uservoice or on Office forums. But it doesn't seem MS is going to backpedal on this or bring back old icons. It is not that they are still there and you can enable them. They are replaced. You can only go back to using old version of Office 365 and disable updates (will not receive security updates then as well).

@ willem

Does dark mode change the icon colors from Blue and Green to some other color? Or are the users affected by color blindness, etc.


I'm not a fan of the new icons, but I'm having a hard time understanding how someone could confuse a blue W from the green X icons.

Senior Member

Any news when these features will be in preview?
I am particularly after news on the ability to any saved custom view of a shared library in OneDrive on the web...

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‎Apr 24 2019 11:23 AM
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