When to choose OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, or SharePoint Online

Included in this article:

When to use SharePoint Online, when to use Teams, when to use OneDrive

Quick comparison: SharePoint Online vs. Teams

SharePoint Online

Teams

SharePoint Online

Teams

Better for layered permissions structure

Better for simple membership management

Better for focused usage of few tools

Better for contextual usage of multiple tools in real-time

Better for advanced document structure with custom options

Better for file sharing and collaboration on focused topics

OneDrive vs. Teams vs. SharePoint Online

Tool

What is it

Focus

Important considerations

Tool

What is it

Focus

Important considerations

OneDrive

Microsoft online storage solution for individual accounts

Storing and managing personal working files and content

  • Sharing is short-term for creating and reviewing initial working drafts and proposals; later moved to a Teams or SharePoint Online site

  • A small ad-hoc group needs access for collaboration via email or O365 applications such as Word or Excel

  • The OneDrive content is not required for the ongoing work of others in your team or unit

  • If the content is lost, there would be no operational impact on the business of the University of Waterloo

  • Note: OneDrive is a personal SharePoint Online site

Teams

Communications and file collaboration platform encouraging group member interaction

Communication and sharing

  • Team members are defined and consistent

  • Discussion via channels is important to the group

  • Collaborative approach to document creation and sharing desired

  • Content is planning/project related and will be shared via other methods once completed

  • For collaborations with a defined goal, the content will not be required after that time

SharePoint Online

A file and information management tool

Document creation and sharing

  • Site members are fluid and will likely change or site members are from across campus and access unique portions of the site based on role

  • Different access permissions are required for content e.g. a small group will edit and a larger group has read-only access

  • Document management tools are desirable

  • Documents will go through constant revision and change

  • Chat/direct messaging functionality not required

Comparison guide on file storage: OneDrive vs Teams vs SharePoint Online

OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online
Note: MS Teams stores files in a SharePoint Online site.

Which tool should I use to store my files?

 

OneDrive
(Recommended replacement for N: drive)

MS Teams
(Recommended replacement for R: drive)

SharePoint Online
(Recommended replacement for R: drive)

 

OneDrive
(Recommended replacement for N: drive)

MS Teams
(Recommended replacement for R: drive)

SharePoint Online
(Recommended replacement for R: drive)

What can it be used for?

  • For storing your own files

  • For storing shared files

  • For storing shared files

Who has access?

  • Only you have access to files in your OneDrive, unless you share a file with others or files are shared with you

Where do I go to access my files?

  • From a browser on your desktop or mobile device

    • SharePoint Online is available from any O365 application as a storage location

  • Log in to https://portal.office.com/ and click on the SharePoint icon from the left-hand sidebar

How do I use these tools?

 

How it’s done in
OneDrive

How it’s done in

Teams

How it’s done in

SharePoint Online

 

How it’s done in
OneDrive

How it’s done in

Teams

How it’s done in

SharePoint Online

Saving files

  • Click + drag to select and save files to different folders within the drive using the OneDrive desktop app or http://portal.office.com/

Has an AutoSave feature for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files

Has an AutoSave feature Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files

  • Click + drag to select and save files to different folders within the drive using the a browser

Has an AutoSave feature Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files

Working on files with other people

  • Files can be opened and edited in real-time by an unlimited number of users

Supports real-time collaborative editing

  • Files can be opened and edited in real-time by an unlimited number of users

Supports real-time collaborative editing

  • Files can be opened and edited in real-time by an unlimited number of users

Supports real-time collaborative editing

Managing multiple versions of the same file

  • Maintain all revisions in one file and access different versions using the version history feature

 Can manage multiple versions in a single file

  • Maintain all revisions in one file and access different versions using the version history feature

    • Version history for files can be accessed when viewing the file in a web browser or in the desktop application

Can manage multiple versions in a single file

  • Maintain all revisions in one file and access different versions using the version history feature

    • Version history for files can be accessed when viewing the file in a web browser or in the desktop application

Can manage multiple versions in a single file

Accessing your drive/files from another computer

  • Log in to the OneDrive desktop app, OneDrive mobile app, or access OneDrive Online by logging in to http://portal.office.com/

Can be accessed without connecting to VPN

Can be accessed without connecting to VPN

Can be accessed without connecting to VPN

Sharing files with other people

  • Sharing permissions can be customized to allow specific people, people with existing access, or everyone at UW to view and/or edit files

  • Users have access to a single up-to-date version of the file

Sharing options can be customized for individual files

  • Sharing permissions can be customized to allow specific people, people with existing access, or everyone at UW to view and/or edit files

  • Users have access to a single up-to-date version of the file

Sharing options can be customized for individual files

  • Sharing permissions can be customized to allow specific people, people with existing access, or everyone at UW to view and/or edit files

  • Users have access to a single up-to-date version of the file

Sharing options can be customized for individual files

Restoring deleted files

  • Restore deleted files within 93 days by right-clicking the file > Restore

    • When a file is deleted, it stays in the first-stage Recycle Bin for 93 days.

    • If a user deletes the file from the
      first-stage Recycle Bin during the 93 day period, the file will remain in the second-stage Recycle Bin for the remainder of the 93 day period

Restore can be undone

  • Restore deleted files within 93 days by right-clicking the file > Restore

    • When a file is deleted, it stays in the first-stage Recycle Bin for 93 days.

    • If a user deletes the file from the
      first-stage Recycle Bin during the 93 day period, the file will remain in the second-stage Recycle Bin for the remainder of the 93 day period

Restore can be undone

  • Restore deleted files within 93 days by right-clicking the file > Restore

    • When a file is deleted, it stays in the first-stage Recycle Bin for 93 days.

    • If a user deletes the file from the
      first-stage Recycle Bin during the 93 day period, the file will remain in the second-stage Recycle Bin for the remainder of the 93 day period

Restore can be undone

Freeing up storage space

  • Right-click on the file and select Free Up Space

    • OneDrive files can be stored online only, locally on your device, or both

  • Total available storage: 5 TB

Can free up space without deleting files; all files can be stored in OneDrive Online

  • Delete unneeded files to free up space by right-clicking on the file > Delete

  • Total available storage: 25 TB

Offers a large amount of storage that would not require users to delete files in order to free up space

  • Delete unneeded files to free up space by right-clicking on the file > Delete

  • Total available storage: 25 TB

Offers a large amount of storage that would not require users to delete files in order to free up space

Related training material

Need Help?

Contact the IST Service Desk online or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357.

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