Getting started with OneDrive

Windows tutorial: Page 11 of 11

One place for everything in your life

In Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, you can easily save your files to OneDrive and get to them from any device, like your PC, tablet, or phone.

OneDrive is free online storage that comes with your Microsoft account. It’s like an extra hard drive that’s available from any of the devices you use. You no longer need to email files to yourself or carry around (and possibly lose) a USB flash drive. Instead, whether you’re on your laptop and working on a presentation, viewing photos from your last family vacation on your new tablet, or on your phone reviewing your shopping list, you can get to your files in OneDrive.

Getting started with OneDrive is easy. You can add files already on your PC to OneDrive by either copying them over or moving them from your PC. When you save new files, you can choose to save them to OneDrive so you can get to them from any device and share them with other people. And, if your PC has a built-in camera, you can automatically save copies of the photos in your camera roll to OneDrive, so you'll always have a backup.

Adding your files to OneDrive

There are a few different ways to put your existing files on OneDrive. First, decide if you want to keep the original files on your PC and put copies of them on OneDrive, or if you want to cut and move them from your PC to OneDrive.

To copy files to OneDrive using the OneDrive app

Step 1

On the Start screen, tap or click OneDrive to open the OneDrive app.

Open the OneDrive

Step 2

Tap or click folders to browse to the location on OneDrive where you want to add the files.

Open a location on OneDrive

Step 3

Swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen or right-click to open the app commands, and then tap or click Add files.

Add files

Step 4

Browse to the files you want to upload, tap or click to select them, and then tap or click Copy to OneDrive.

Copy files

To move files to OneDrive using the OneDrive app

When you move files, you're removing them from your PC and adding them to OneDrive.

  1. Tap or click the arrow next to OneDrive and choose This PC.

  2. Browse to the files you want to move, and then swipe down on them or right-click them to select them.

  3. Tap or click Cut.

  4. Tap or click the arrow next to This PC and choose OneDrive to browse to a folder in your OneDrive.

  5. Swipe in from the top or bottom edge of the screen or right-click to open the app commands, and then tap or click Paste.

To move files to OneDrive using File Explorer

When you move files, you're removing them from your PC and adding them to OneDrive. Drag files from the file list in the right pane to OneDrive in the left pane.

Drag files to OneDrive in File Explorer

To save files to OneDrive from an app

You can save files from your apps directly to OneDrive. You’ll have the choice to save to OneDrive or to other locations, including to your PC. Tap or click the arrow in the upper-left corner to change your location to OneDrive (if it isn’t selected already).

Choose OneDrive

Then, choose the folder in OneDrive where you’d like to save your file, enter a name for the file, and then tap or click Save.

To save files to OneDrive from a desktop app

When you're using a desktop app like Microsoft Office Word or Paint, you can also save files directly to OneDrive. Click Save in the app you’re using, and then tap or click OneDrive in the left pane.

Choose OneDrive

Choose the folder in OneDrive where you’d like to save your file, enter a name for the file, and then tap or click Save.

Saving to OneDrive automatically

On most PCs, OneDrive is the recommended location that appears when you save Microsoft Office files (like Word docs and Excel worksheets), PDFs, and other documents. And, if your PC has a built-in camera, you can automatically save copies of the photos you take directly to OneDrive so you’ll always have a backup. To make sure your PC is set up to save automatically, check your OneDrive settings.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, then click Change PC settings.)

  2. For documents, tap or click OneDrive, and then turn on Save documents to OneDrive by default.

  3. For photos, tap or click Camera roll, and then choose Upload photos at good quality, or for higher resolution copies, choose Upload photos at best quality.

For info about the security of your files in OneDrive, see The security of your files in OneDrive.

Tip

You get free storage space in OneDrive, but you can buy more if you need it. Open PC settings, tap or click OneDrive, and then tap or click Buy more storage.

Getting to your files from anywhere

When your files are in OneDrive, you can get to them from any device, even if something happens to your PC. You can go to the OneDrive website, or you can use one of the mobile apps for Android, iOS or Windows Phone.

The OneDrive website

Getting to files when you're offline

In Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, you can browse all your files in OneDrive even when you're not connected to the Internet. If you also want to open and edit files when you don't have an Internet connection, you need to make those files available offline. You can use the OneDrive app or File Explorer to make files available offline.

To make files available offline using the OneDrive app

Swipe down or right-click the file or folder to select it, then tap or click Make offline. If you're worried about using too much space on your PC, make fewer files available offline, or if there are files you don’t need to use when you’re offline any more, change them back to online-only.

If space on your PC isn't a concern, you can also make your entire OneDrive available offline:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, then click Settings.)

  2. Tap or click Options, then turn on Access all files offline.

To make files available offline using File Explorer

Press and hold or right-click the file, then choose Make available offline. To make your entire OneDrive available offline, press and hold or right-click OneDrive in the left pane, then choose Make available offline.

Sharing files

Sharing files using OneDrive is much simpler than setting up file sharing on a home network, and much more organised and efficient than sending files by email or carrying them around on a USB flash drive.

To share files and folders using the OneDrive app

  1. Swipe down or right-click files or folders to select them.

  2. Tap or click Share.

  3. To share with specific individuals or groups, choose Invite people. To share with lots of people who you might not even know personally, choose Get a link. For more info about sharing, see How can I share my files and folders in OneDrive?

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