Saving Items to SharePoint Online is HARD

Frequent Contributor

I migrate companies to SharePoint Online for a living. The biggest hangup my users have after their migration is adopting a new workflow for getting files INTO SharePoint. It's unnecisarily complex. Let me ilustrate my point:

 

User A gets an email with multiple attachments in Outlook 2016. They want to place the attachments in their team's SharePoint library (https://contoso.sharepoint.com/teamdocs). Their options for this are as follows:

 

  1. Download the attachments to their desktop, drag all the attachments onto their browser which is signed into their Team Docs library, then delete all the attachments from their desktop
    (OR)
  2. Open each attachment, select Save As, hope and pray that their Team Docs library is listed under the "Recent" section. (Unlikely if they're working with multiple doc libraies every day) If it's not listed there, then select browse > paste the url for the Team Docs Library into the nav bar at the top of the Save As dialog > select save > repeat for every attachment
    (OR)
  3. Manually setup a Network Location for the site root (can't be setup via GPO) by going to Windows Explorer > My Computer > Add a Network Location (Repeat for all 300+ users in the company) Finally, have User A user select the option in Outlook to Save All Attachments > select the Network Location you just setup called "Team Docs" and save. 

 

See how hard that is? Users coming from mapped drives through on-premises SharePoint and file servers hate that new level of complexity. Below is some basic functionality that would go miles toward improving user adoption:

 

  • Work with the Outlook team to enable the ability to save Outlook attachments directly to a specific SharePoint library (like you can with OneDrive) - this flyout list of SharePoint libraries should be able to be populated via GPO and/or reg keys.
  • Enable the ability for admins to add specific SharePoint document libraries as PINNED save as locations in Office apps (via GPO) - none of this "recent" junk or links to the site root. My dream would be to have all the Accountants with links to the Finance doc library, all the HR reps to have links to their HR library, and all of this from right within their Office apps under the Save As menu.

 

This was a little general to include in User Voice, but if I can condense it all into a quick blurb I'll throw links down below. Thanks for listening, hopefully the right folks find this feedback helpful! @Sean Squires?

2 Replies

Thanks for the feedback @Paul Youngberg - you are right; the saving experience is more difficult than it should be - which is why I know there are investments being made to make it easier.

 

Great ideas! Adding @Christophe Fiessinger - for notice/comment on the first suggestion to make it easier to save to a specific/frequent location from Outlook - and @Lincoln DeMaris for notice/comment on the suggestion to make it easier to pin specific targets in the client app backstage. 

Also in the same boat as you Paul, albeit a school district here. Here is what we have done to alleviate some of the pain of saving from email, Adobe (non-office programs): All schools/dept. have their own Mapped Drive, and each dept/school with its own folder within. That is where I put in the network location shortcut to their formerly network folders whose contents have migrated to sharepoint online...used a "-Online" appending to the folder name on all of them so everyone gets the same experience. Now when they try and "Save As", they browse the usual way to their mapped drive and see the -Online shortcuts pointing to their SharePoint library. You will need to use icacls to permission those network shortcuts as there is another folder inside them. For the case of office programs, the migration training meeting is essentially a demo on how to save in sharepoint. The goal being for the users to just modify an office file (docx, xlsx, pptx) in their dept. sharepoint site library once...then the "sites\shortcut to sharepoint site library" shortcut appears. Smooth sailing from that point...once the "hump" is transited. Hope this helps and eagerly awaiting Microsoft's upgrades to this process.