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7 Common Mistakes Users Make with SharePoint & OneDrive

7 Common Mistakes Users Make with SharePoint & OneDrive
7 Common Mistakes Users Make with SharePoint & OneDrive

Businesses increasingly rely on cloud storage solutions like SharePoint and OneDrive to manage and collaborate on documents. However, many companies face challenges with storage limits, and syncing issues which can hinder productivity and efficiency.


SharePoint and OneDrive Best Practices: The Do’s & Don’ts.


Let’s explore these common pain points and offer practical solutions to help you optimize your use of SharePoint and OneDrive.


1. Don’t Sync Everything to the OneDrive App

Syncing all your files to the OneDrive app can overwhelm your device’s storage and slow down its performance. It also increases the risk of data conflicts and sync errors, especially with a large number of files. Instead, selectively sync only the necessary files to ensure efficient use of storage and smoother operation.

OneDrive Tip: Use OneDrive’s selective sync feature to choose specific folders to sync to your device or to download on demand. This helps manage your local storage efficiently and reduces sync errors. Prioritize syncing essential files that you need access to offline while keeping less frequently used files in the cloud.


2. Don’t Sync SharePoint to the Desktop App, Instead Access SharePoint Via the Web Browser

Syncing SharePoint libraries to your desktop can lead to performance issues, such as slower device speeds and increased risk of sync conflicts. Additionally, it can consume significant local storage space and complicate file version management. Accessing SharePoint directly via the web ensures that you are working with the most current documents and features, maintaining better performance and data integrity. The web interface also offers a more intuitive and comprehensive user experience, enhancing productivity and collaboration.

SharePoint Tip: Access and manage your SharePoint documents directly through the web browser. This approach ensures you're working with the most up-to-date files, reduces the risk of sync conflicts, and avoids consuming excessive local storage space, maintaining optimal device performance and data integrity.


“A common complaint we hear is that files aren’t syncing timely for real-time collaboration. 

Users are working via Windows File Explorer in the OneDrive app out of habit with the expectation that changes will be synced real-time. This isn't the case.  Remember the file has to be uploaded once then downloaded multiple times to all other computers on the system.  The OneDrive App runs throughout the day but not necessarily in real-time.  This causes significant sync delays depending on internet speed, file size, and how many computers it has to sync to.

For real-time collaboration and to avoid sync issues, work with SharePoint via the web browser and you eliminate this issue entirely. This simple change can make all the difference in your day-to-day productivity."

Byron Martin, Teknologize CEO


3. Don't Share Files and Folders from Personal OneDrive, Share Links from Within SharePoint Document Library

Sometimes OneDrive and SharePoint can seem synonymous, but they are two different applications for completely different use cases. OneDrive is a personal workspace designed for individual file storage while SharePoint is a team collaboration workspace.

Sharing company documents from your individual OneDrive can lead to several issues. First, there is a potential security risk as individual OneDrive accounts may not have the same security protocols as team-based SharePoint accounts that prevent accidental or malicious sharing of sensitive data outside the company network.

There could be version control issues when collaborating on documents in your personal OneDrive leading to confusion with versioning and document integrity. Also, company policies and regulatory requirements might mandate specific storage and sharing protocols, which are better managed within SharePoint.

Additionally, when someone else makes a change to a shared file in OneDrive, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours to sync the updates to your device. This delay can hinder productivity and again, lead to version conflicts, causing confusion and inefficiency in collaborative environments.


Usage Tip: Use OneDrive for individual storage and SharePoint for team and project collaboration to maintain clarity and efficiency. SharePoint offers superior features for team-based projects, including real-time editing, comprehensive version control, and enhanced security settings, ensuring a more organized and efficient collaborative experience compared to OneDrive.

OneDrive App is primarily designed for individual “My Documents”, and it is not designed to be a company file share platform.  Use SharePoint via the web browser for sharing company files.  


4. Do Train Your Staff

SharePoint is not a network drive or another cloud Document Management System (DMS) like Google Drive or Dropbox. It has an entirely different architecture and set of tools/features not available with other systems. For example, in SharePoint, we have the concept of document libraries, sites, and pages, and we also have metadata, which is not common in other popular DMSs. Understanding all this usually requires some training and know-how.

Training Tip: Training is essential not just for feature familiarization but also for user adoption and governance. Well-trained staff can fully utilize SharePoint’s capabilities, ensuring better productivity and adherence to best practices.





5. Don't Move or Copy Large Volumes of Files Within or to SharePoint

Copying massive amounts of data to SharePoint can lead to sluggish upload times and performance issues for everyone using the platform. This can cause delays in access for your team and potentially result in sync errors or file corruption.

Here's why. SharePoint often throttles uploads to prevent overloading the system. This means large data transfers will be slowed down intentionally, taking a very long time to complete. While SharePoint has a high overall storage capacity, there are limitations on the number of files a single library can handle. Uploading a large volume of files at once could push a library past its limit, causing performance issues for everyone accessing it.


Upload Tip: Upload files to SharePoint in smaller, manageable batches rather than all at once. This approach helps avoid performance issues, reduces the risk of sync errors, and ensures faster, more reliable access for your team.

Teknologize leverages specialized third-party tools for seamless migration and transfer of extensive data. If you need help moving large volumes of data and files during migration, our team is here to provide assistance and support.


6. Don’t Use SharePoint and Teams Without Proper Planning and Information Architecture

What makes SharePoint different from other Data Management Systems (DMS) is its structure and components like sites, libraries, pages, channels, and so on. Without a well-thought-out plan and information architecture, you risk creating a chaotic, inefficient system that’s hard to navigate and manage. Proper planning ensures that your collaboration tools are structured logically, enhancing usability, improving document management, and ensuring that information is easily accessible and secure.

Planning Tip: Invest time in planning and creating a documented architecture before creating or migrating content. Define clear structures, permissions, and guidelines for document management and collaboration. This ensures a coherent structure that supports efficient use and easy navigation.


7. Do Understand SharePoint Technical Limitations

SharePoint is a powerful collaboration tool, but it's not without limitations. Understanding constraints like file size limits, path length restrictions, and customization capabilities ensures you can optimize workflows, prevent disruptions, and make informed decisions about deployment and usage.

SharePoint can be used to build an excellent Document Management System (DMS) but users must understand that you cannot put an unlimited number of documents in a document library. Similarly, users must be aware of the sync limits.


Sync Tip: For optimal performance, the OneDrive sync app should not handle more than 300,000 files across all synced document libraries, even when using Files On-Demand or syncing only selected folders.

Both SharePoint and OneDrive have a file upload and download file size maximum of 250GB. It's important to consider these restrictions when working with large media files or other sizable documents.

Unlocking the Full Potential of SharePoint & OneDrive

While SharePoint and OneDrive are powerful tools for document management and collaboration, their limitations can pose challenges. By understanding these constraints and implementing strategic solutions, such as proper planning, metadata utilization, and selective syncing, businesses can overcome these hurdles and enhance productivity. Investing in training and structured information architecture further ensures that these tools are used to their fullest potential, streamlining workflows and boosting efficiency.



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Teknologize is a SOC 2 certified, Professional Technology Services company with clients throughout the Pacific Northwest. We have offices located in:

  • Tri-Cities, Washington 509.396.6640

  • Yakima, Washington 509.396.6640

  • Bend, Oregon 541.848.6072

  • Seattle, Washington 206.743.0981

Questions about your IT or Cybersecurity? Give us a call today!

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