Set up File Structure in Teams App or SharePoint Group

Occasional Contributor

Hi we are an NFP in Australia and our staff are very new to Office 365. I've been asked to set up a Board Portal as a starter, and senior management and I will test it out so that we present it to our board and advise site governance. I believe some board members will prefer the Teams app and others will prefer the corresponding SharePoint group. I've been testing out Folders and Subfolders in Channels then viewing them in the corresponding SharePoint group. I'm finding that the SharePoint group mirrors any folders created in Teams app but the Teams app does not mirror folders created in SharePoint group.

Q1. Is it OK that members use different apps to collaborate in the team?

Q2. How do get both apps to mirror each other so that there are no future issues if it is OK to use either, as asked in Q1.



9 Replies

Thanks for raising. To answer your questions

1.) It is perfectly normal to use both apps to collaborate and as you can see by Files Teams is based on SharePoint so both are actually being used at the same time. There are many reasons you would want to use both - for example you would use the Team to chat, meet and co-author documents where you would use the underlying SharePoint site as an intranet for the Team.

2.) There are several uservoices currently open for SharePoint and Teams to integrate further. The one for mirroring the file structure is here

However as you will see from uservoice, search for ‘SharePoint Folders’ and you will see all sorts of requests to add greater functionality. Some are being worked on and some have yet to be picked up. I would recommend you vote on what you want to see.

One final thing - that is some people would also want files to be stored on SharePoint but not visible in the Team - a reason could be the owner of the Team has a number of documents to do with that Team but are private, yet wants to house it all in the same place. Just want to give a possible reason why it is the way it is and why that would make sense.

Hope that answers your questions!

Best, Chris
Best Response confirmed by Christopher Hoard (MVP)

Very good question indeed and this is my take on it:

Yes, all the channels in the team is a folder in the default team site library!
What happens in teams is that each channel file tab mirrors that corresponding folder in sp, which makes people kind of stuck in those folders in teams meaning they can’t see any additional folders in the root!
What you can do is the following:
1. Work as normal here, some from SP and some from Teams but make sure everyone use the channel folders in order to make it easier for Teams users!

2. Add that library as a SP library tab! This way people in Teams will see the whole library ( from the root ) they can then work together with the SP people and see all files here!

3. Create another library for Full collaboration! Above examples creates one issue! The SharePoint folder to channel relation in Teams isn’t that great, meaning if people in SharePoint start messing with these folders, renaming, moving etc - there is a chance thing will mess up in Teams! Currently there’s no way for the SP people to know which folders belong to a channel either! However Microsoft will address this shortly so you can tell!

My recommendation:

Create another library and add that library as a tab in Teams! There’s also the possibility to add that library as cloud storage from within a files tab in Teams! Use this if you want people to still have Teams only documents in the files tab , and have the common files acccesible there too!
Now everyone can work in either SP or Teams and see the same stuff! Also there will be no mess around the folders which is the channels in Teams and don’t have to worry about messing something up and have confusion about the many folders here

As I said, this is just a couple of suggestions and my take on this :)


@Christopher HoardExcellent news, thanks. I'll go vote. And thanks for the speedy response.


@adam deltinger  Thanks Adam. Complex but understandable. After receiving two great responses already, I can see how to plan out the site and have a better handle on file management.




There are as of now several issues with using both Teams and the SPO-sites that gets created when you create a new team in Teams.

When you create a new channel, a new folder that mirrors the channels name is created on the SPO-site under Documents.

So far, so good, right?

But what if you want to rename that channel? You can do that, but the associated folder in the SPO-site will not be renamed.

"Well, can't i just rename it on the SPO-site as well then?" No, because the channel will always be linked to a folder with the original name. So if you rename it, the files-tab will no longer show any files and Teams will automatically create a new folder with the original name which is now empty.

In short, it will turn into a mess.


This also goes the other way around; move/rename folders in SPO and it will not mirror onto your associated team and its channels in Teams.


Until Microsoft implement proper mirroring, I would keep these seperate;
create a seperate SPO-site for company file-share and use Teams for projects/meetings/chat, etc.

Yeah! This is the case! Think about it before naming your channels so you don’t have to change it later. Then don’t mess with names on either side!
Microsoft has been talking about improving this a while now, but haven’t heard anything lately
@adam deltinger has the correct answer here

If you look at his older post his recommendation is the best solution at this point in time until Microsoft rectifies it. There is a lot of community members who now want to see this improvements as it's inevitable that you ultimately come across when using Teams for any extended period of time.

Best, Chris

@adam deltinger 


Hi Adam,

exactly what do you mean by this:
"Create another library and add that library as a tab in Teams!"

By library, do you mean another SPO-site and then add that as cloud-storage in Teams?

No not a new site, but from any site you can create an additional library in which you can have excplicit permissions. Add that library in Teams either as cloud storage or as a tab