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Adding SharePoint libraries as network location vs. OneDrive sync app

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

It is possible to add SharePoint libraries as network locations. These are accessible using Windows Explorer and documents can be opened and edited locally.

The View in File Explorer command (in the modern SharePoint experience) is no longer recommended.

Whether you're using for example Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Workspace is no longer supported by IE!), we recommend Sync. Sync is a faster and a more reliable method for putting SharePoint files into folders available on your local drive that you can manage with File Explorer. 

 

Difference between 'Sync' and 'View in File Explorer'

Both options connect a SharePoint library with a folder on your desktop, but there is a difference:

  • Sync uses the OneDrive sync app to create a more permanent folder, always available to you (even when you are offline). All content that you add to, edit, or remove from either the online SharePoint library or the desktop folder, automatically syncs with the other location.
  • The View in File Explorer command uses a temporary folder (one-time access) that opens in File Explorer. That folder only lasts until you close it and the content is saved to the SharePoint library.

 

Configuration

Sync (recommended)

Setting up Sync is a one-time process that permanently puts files in File Explorer, without taking up storage space on your device.

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To set up the sync or to change the sync settings, see the following article for more detailed instructions:
Sync SharePoint and Teams files with your computer.

More information on the sync client in the Documents app in Workspace 365, view the following article:
OneDrive Sync Client.

 

View in File Explorer (Edge)

Microsoft 365 apps and services no longer support IE 11. As a result, we no longer recommend View in File Explorer and encourage using the OneDrive sync client. By default, the View in File Explorer menu option will not be visible in the SharePoint modern document library interface. However, starting in Microsoft Edge Stable version 93, you can enable it.

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To enable the View in File Explorer in Edge, you can follow the steps according to this article:
View SharePoint files with File Explorer in Microsoft Edge.

It may take up to 15 minutes for the View in Explorer button to appear in the SharePoint interface. Make sure to add your SharePoint Online sites to trusted sites.

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