Using OneDrive for a team of creatives – central storage rather than individual owners

Copper Contributor

Hi all, I've recently joined a new organisation as a digital design lead. My team of designers and video editors are spread across two different cities, so we need a cloud-based file storage system that we can access from anywhere. 


Historically the organisation has used OneDrive for file storage and sharing, but have encountered the following issues:


1. Due to files being owned by individual team members, the only way to access another person's work is by them sharing the folder with you. This leads to a chaotic jumble of folders in the "Shared with Me" tab, rather than one central location for everything (as you would have if using a local server). It also leads to access issues when staff are away sick or leave the organisation.


2. Downloading large folders (e.g. working files for video editing projects) is sometimes problematic. I have yet to test whether this applies to syncing, or just to downloading from the browser. 


What I would like to have is something akin to a local server, where files are stored together and owned by the team rather than by individuals. Team members should be able to access all areas easily and quickly, although they might only sync their own current projects to their computer. This also needs to be able to support very large file sizes, not just as an archive but for daily work. 


Two questions:


1. How do I create this shared location, not owned by an individual but by a team? 

2. Is OneDrive the best fit for dealing with massive files to be accessed remotely for daily work?


Note: our organisation also uses SharePoint and Teams if that's relevant.

11 Replies
best response confirmed by dz1na (Copper Contributor)

@dz1na A Teams/SharePoint approach is much more appropriate to a group of people. OneDrive is designed for a single user.


You have a choice of using the SharePoint storage built into Teams, or having a separately administered SharePoint site which is linked to your Team. You can have multiple Teams linked to external SharePoints.


SharePoint folders (document libraries) may be synced to your local computer just like OneDrive folders. You also get extra flexibility to split up files into different document libraries with different permission sets, including say the ability to make some files read-only to specific audiences.


What do you mean by "massive files"? SharePoint/OneDrive supports files up to 100GB but the suitability depends on how you work with those files.

@Mike Williams Thanks for your reply. For the purposes of saving local hard disk space, will team members be able to selectively sync specific folders, but also access the other folders when needed? How much lag should I expect when accessing un-synced files? 


The specific problem I have encountered with downloading large folders (not syncing – couldn't actually get that to work at the time, which is why I had to download) is that the zip folder would download but when clicked would say it was empty. In the end I had to download the contents of the folder in many small batches to get it to work. Took me 3 days of attempts. 


In terms of how the files will be used, in an ideal world I would have my team working directly from the files stored on OneDrive, via local syncing. Is this suitable? Or would they need to work locally and then upload? Speed is critical – we cannot have design or video files lagging while working on them. 

@dz1na  SharePoint sync works through the OneDrive sync client, so you shouldn't see any performance difference, other things being equal. Performance is going to be largely due to your internet speeds and local client machine capability.


"in an ideal world I would have my team working directly from the files stored on OneDrive, via local syncing. Is this suitable? Or would they need to work locally and then upload? Speed is critical – we cannot have design or video files lagging while working on them. "


Again,  having multiple people working from a single OneDrive account is NOT desirable for all sorts of administrative reasons. Working from local sync files should be fine if your network performance is adequate, but it will depend a bit on the nature of the files you're working with. It's up to you to test that this will meet your requirements.

@Mike Williams Sorry I may have used the wrong terminology – I meant if we were to use your suggested SharePoint solution, but synced via the OneDrive desktop client.


I definitely want multiple people working from one shared location, this is big for us as we are trying to encourage collaboration and consistency, and tidy up a lot of chaos caused by individual people sharing individual folders without any clear view of the entire team's work. If Microsoft can't offer that solution I will need to look at alternatives; that's why I'm asking these questions.


Types of files we will be using: Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other creative software files, as well as your typical Word docs, spreadsheets etc. The design files are typically collected into a folder containing multiple versions of the working file (v1, v2 etc), any assets linked into the working file (JPGs, MP4s etc – often numerous), and exported final files (high-res PDFs or MP4s. Generally a user would need the entire folder, which might be several GB. I also have roughly a TB of archived files that currently exist on hard drives and need to be migrated to the cloud to make them accessible across locations.



@dz1na  Use SharePoint/Teams as first suggested. The platform has been evolving for twenty years and has many powerful features. You are not going to learn 1% of it from reading forum posts. There is a wealth of published and free training material for you to dive into.


Any files saved into OneDrive or SharePoint are automatically versioned without you having to put version information into the file names. The volume of files you mention is not that great ( I sync much more than that from my home computer) but no one can diagnose the capability of your network or your devices. That's up to you.

Please note that Adobe's integration with other cloud platforms is "idiosyncratic". 

@Mike Williams hmm well thanks for the SharePoint suggestion, as to your comment about getting off forums and reading training material, that was a little condescending but I'll just say "no thank you". I'll go back to my organisation with this idea and see how we get on.

@dz1na I''m sorry that I appear to be the only person in the world who has volunteered to help with practical advice. If that is condescending, then I hope you have luck with other support avenues.

Just to chime in on this, @Mike Williams  has provided the correct course of action as far as Microsoft Technology goes.  If you're using Creative Cloud, than that can be worked into Teams as well in a heap of creative and useful ways.


If you're looking at other options, Adobe Creative Cloud (and the others I believe) do have cloud storage attached to them.  Have you looked into their shared library facility?

@Mike Williams I very much appreciate your time and suggestions, the condescending part was where you told me not to pursue knowledge in a forum but just do my own independent research. With all due respect, I have no intention or inclination to become a Microsoft expert, and will continue to seek answers in a manner that best suits me and my needs. Whether someone replies or not is up to the individual. 


Again, thanks for your contribution – I'll be raising this with my organisation. Your original reply has been marked as best answer. :) 

@Steven Andrews thanks, I am bringing the suggestion to my organisation to pursue further. :) 

@dz1na Two years later, were you able to get resolve to all of your questions? I feel like information is still very sparse for creative organizations and wanted to see what course of action you and your organization took.