Synchronizing SharePoint to the OneDrive for Business Client

Although it is tempting to think of SharePoint as a Web-based platform for collaboration, it is possible to synchronize the contents of a SharePoint document library to your PC using the OneDrive for Business client.

In this column, I will show you how it’s done.

Installing the OneDrive for Business Sync Client
In order to perform SharePoint/OneDrive for Business synchronization, your users will need to have the OneDrive for Business Sync Client installed. This client is not included with Windows 10, but you can easily download the required client from Microsoft here.

The most important thing to understand about the OneDrive for Business Sync Client is that the client component has to be matched to the version of Office that you have installed. The Web page linked above provides one download link for PCs that have Office 2013 and a separate download link for those who are using Office 2016.

It is also worth noting that the Office 2013 version of the client sometimes asks for a product key, but the download page contains a product key that you can use if necessary.

Enabling SharePoint Synchronization
The exact steps that you will have to perform in order to enable synchronization between SharePoint and the OneDrive for Business client vary depending on the version of SharePoint that you are using and the client that you are using. The instructions listed in this column are based on using SharePoint Online and the OneDrive for Business 2016 client.

So with that said, setting up synchronization is usually really easy to do. Begin the process by logging in to your SharePoint site. From there, navigate into the SharePoint document library that you want to synchronize. You can see an example of such a library in Figure 1.

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1: Log in to SharePoint and then navigate to the document library that you want to synchronize.

As you look at the figure above, you will notice that SharePoint’s toolbar contains a Sync button. Click on the Sync button. When you do, you will see a message indicating that SharePoint is opening OneDrive. You may also end up seeing a warning message asking you if it is OK for your browser to open OneDrive, as shown in Figure 2.