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9 SharePoint and OneDrive Limitations and Restrictions You Need to Know

9 SharePoint and OneDrive Limitations and Restrictions You Need to Know
9 SharePoint and OneDrive Limitations and Restrictions You Need to Know

OneDrive and SharePoint in Microsoft 365 are popular cloud-based collaboration, productivity, and file storage solutions to help organizations share and manage content and knowledge.

OneDrive is your own personal file and document storage. SharePoint is where team members can share and work on the same document together in real time. Here, files aren’t associated with a single user. Instead, they belong to the team itself.

Think of the “One” in OneDrive as the storage for one person (you). Likewise, the “Share” in SharePoint is your shared storage for files that are meant to be collaborated on.

While they provide numerous benefits, it's essential to understand their limitations and restrictions to make informed decisions about their usage.


OneDrive and SharePoint Limitations and Restrictions


Yes, OneDrive and SharePoint, like any cloud storage service, have certain limitations. Here are some of the common limitations you may encounter:

  1. File Size Limitations: Both OneDrive and SharePoint impose the same limitations on file sizes (not the total storage) of 250 GB, which means you cannot upload files larger than this size. It's important to consider these restrictions when working with large media files or other sizable documents.

  2. Maximum Path Length: OneDrive and SharePoint have restrictions on the maximum length of file and folder paths. For both services, the maximum path length is 400 characters for the file URL. The limit applies to the combination of the folder path and file name after decoding. 

  3. Invalid Characters in File and Folder Names: Certain characters have special meanings when used in file names in OneDrive, SharePoint, Windows, and macOS, such as "*" for wildcards, and "\" in file name paths. If a file or folder you’re trying to upload to OneDrive contains any of these characters

    " * : < > ? / \ |

    rename the file or folder to remove these characters before you upload it.

  4. Sync and Copy Limitations: OneDrive provides the option to sync files and folders to your local device with some limitations. When using the OneDrive website, you can only copy up to 2,500 files at one time. OneDrive can sync a maximum of 300,000 files across your cloud storage, and the total storage limit across all synced devices is 5 TB.

    To see how many files you have in your OneDrive:

    1. Open File Explorer.
    2. Right-click the OneDrive folder and select Properties.

    OneDrive Limitations

    If you are uploading, downloading, or moving a large number of files at once, you may need to wait an extended period of time before the sync process is complete. The desktop app taskbar or menubar status icon will show “syncing" or "processing changes" during this period. 

  5. Versioning Limitations: SharePoint offers version control, allowing you to track changes and revert to previous versions of documents. However, SharePoint has versioning limitations based on the subscription plan. For instance, the free version of SharePoint Online only retains the most recent 500 versions of a document. To access more extensive version histories, you may need to upgrade to a premium plan.

  6. External Sharing Restrictions: Both OneDrive and SharePoint offer the ability to share files and folders with external users. However, certain restrictions exist to protect data security. External sharing may be subject to limitations based on your organization's policies, such as restricting access to specific domains or requiring sign-in for shared content. It's important to be aware of these restrictions to ensure you comply with organizational guidelines and maintain data integrity.

  7. Customization Limitations: While SharePoint allows for customization, certain limitations exist depending on the deployment model. SharePoint Online, as part of Microsoft 365, offers a range of customization options. However, if you are using SharePoint on-premises, the customization capabilities may be more restricted. Understanding the customization limitations is crucial when planning the implementation of SharePoint to meet your organization's unique requirements.

  8. Thumbnails and Previews: No thumbnails and PDF previews are generated for images and files above 100 MB respectively.

  9. Share Limit: There is a limit of 50,000 items that can be shared within a folder and any sub-folders for both OneDrive and SharePoint.


OneDrive and SharePoint are powerful collaboration tools that offer various features and benefits. However, it's important to be aware of their limitations and restrictions to ensure a seamless and efficient user experience. By understanding these constraints, you can make informed decisions and proactively manage your files and workflows within the boundaries set by the platforms.

You can view the entire list of limitations including up-to-date announcements and documentation from Microsoft here.

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