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4 New Features to Know About in OneDrive

Author by Drew Madelung

OneDrive for Business is an integral part of Office 365 and provides anywhere access and sharing for all of your files. The enhancements to OneDrive are occuring at a very quick pace and here are a few of the ones that you should know about. 

1 - New & Unified Sharing Experience

The ability to share files is at the core of SharePoint and OneDrive. As Office 365 has grown sharing has had an inconsistent and sometimes confusing at times. We are finally getting a consistent sharing experience between SharePoint, OneDrive and soon through the File Explorer and the Office client. The sharing experience in the Office client was demoed for the first time by Omar Shahine at SharePoint Fest Seattle in which I spoke at and attended this week. This new experience is much easier to understand than it used to be. 

Once you select a file or a folder in OneDrive and click "Share" in the action bar you will see the new UI. 

The new UI shows you the possible link types that you can create based on who you want the link to work for. If there are options that are greyed out that is because it is disabled for your site or at the tenant level. The link settings that you can choose include:
  • Anyone
    • This will create an anonymous link that anyone can access if they have the link. When using this option this will not require a sign-in. 
    • If you select this option you will also have the ability to set an expiration date for this anonymous link.
    • od2.png
  • People in "Organization"
    • This will create a link that only people in your organization can access but will  be accessible to everyone in your organization. This will require a sign-in. 
    • od3.png
  • Specific People
    • This will create a link that only people you specify will have access. This will require that you enter an email address and that user will need to sign-in. This is the option you want to use if you are sharing a file with an external user if your settings allow it. 
    • od4.png
Once you have selected the link type or who you want to share with, you can select if you want it to be view only or editable by checking or unchecking the "Allow editing" checkbox. When you are ready to go you now click "Apply."

The administration of these sharing settings are controlled within the SharePoint and OneDrive admin centers. From there you can manage such things as the default link type that is selected when a user clicks Share.
  • Here is more information from Maarten Eekel about this new sharing and the administration of sharing. 
  • Here is the Microsoft support article around managing external sharing. 

2 - Streamlined Web Experience for Viewing PowerPoint and Word Files

The default web experience when you would open a Word or PowerPoint file used to be different than if you opened things like an image or a PDF. Now when you click to open one of these files you will get a new read-only viewer that is inline.

One big difference now is the way to get to the edit option is now in the top left instead of the top right. This inline viewer is not the same as opening the document in the web version of the Office client. You will need to use the "Open" dropdown in the top left to select where you want to open the file. 

Along with the new "Open" dropdown, the action bar will give you the ability to:

  • Share
  • Copy Link
  • Download
  • Delete
  • Navigate between files
  • View the Information Panel for file properties

3 - Per AD Security Group Sharing Controls

The sharing controls for OneDrive and SharePoint in the past have normally been managed by the source instead of a user. This means that you could not use something like a user or group object to control sharing. With the new sharing control option you can limit the ability to share with external users to a specific AD security group. An important thing to note about this new sharing control is that the site collection policy will always take precedence. I.e. if external sharing is disabled on the site collection, users in the security group will still not be able to share with an external user. You can assign more than 1 security group to these controls. These controls are only viewable in the SharePoint admin center but also control sharing in OneDrive. 

The new sharing controls provide 2 options:

  • Let only users in selected security groups share with authenticated external users
    • Only users in the assigned security groups will be able to share with external users. If you are not included in these groups you cannot share with an external user who is not in your organization. This option will not control anonymous sharing.​od7-(1).png
  • Let only users in selected security groups share with authenticated external users and using anonymous links
    • Only users in the assigned security groups will be able share with external users and also create anonymous links. od8.png

4 - Updates to the OneDrive Mobile App in iOS

The latest version of the OneDrive mobile app on iOS was released this week. This is now version 9.1 and has some fairly large updates. These updates are part of the mobile app now but may not be available right away as they are still rolling out through Office 365. Another update will not be required when the rollout is complete. 
  • Scan then combine multiple pages into a single PDF 
    • When you click the "+" option to add a new file you can select "Scan". When using this option it uses technology that is incorporated into the great Office Lens app that will highlight things like a projector or business card to take better pictures. Once you take a picture you can take another picture and put them into a single file. 
  • Discover view
    • ​In the web version of OneDrive you have the Discover tab on the left. In the Discover view you can see files that that the Microsoft graph believes are relevant to you. This view that used to only exist on the web is now available in the mobile app.
  • Offline folders
    • ​In previous versions of the mobile app you could only take files offline. If you wanted to take more than 1 file offline you would need to do that 1 at a time. With the new version you can tap and hold on a folder and then click the offline command. 

Drew Madelung

Technical Architect