How to sync SharePoint folders and files?


If you need to access files or folders in SharePoint directly through File Explorer you can Sync the folder, and all of its contents, using the OneDrive application on your computer. By default files will only be accessible on your computer while connected to the Internet. If you open a file it will download the file to your computer so use caution when accessing large files that might fill up your computer storage.



It is recommended that you only sync folders or files that you need access to in File Explorer. Syncing large quantities of files (in the thousands of files or more) can take your computer a long time to sync and might cause issues with your OneDrive application on your computer. If you only need quick access to a folder to view contents or upload/edit files, you can bookmark the SharePoint URL in your browser, follow the site, or save directly to SharePoint from the desktop Office applications.


Set Up Syncing

Step 1: Sign into SharePoint

Open your web browser and go to and navigate to the storage site then the folder you need to Sync to your computer.


Step 2: Sync the Folder

In the folder you would like to Sync click the Sync button above the folder listing.

Image depicting SharePoint storage site Sync button.


A second window will appear, click the Sync now link.

Image depicting sync dialogue box on SharePoint Storage site.


Your web browser will prompt you asking if you would like to open Microsoft OneDirve, Click the Open or OK button.

Image depicting OneDrive launch dialogue box in web browser.


If you have not previously used the OneDrive app on your computer it may prompt you to set up OneDrive. If it does sign in using your UI email and password.

Once set up, or if the OneDrive app was already set up, a notification should appear letting you know OneDrive is now syncing the SharePoint storage folder.

Image depicting OneDrive notification about successful sync.


Step 3: Accessing the SharePoint folder

To access the folder open File Explorer on your computer and select University of Idaho from the sidebar then select your SharePoint folder, labeled Storage-.

Image depicting File Explorer window showing the University of Idaho folders.


If there are a large number of files it can take some time to sync everything in the folder. Any changes made to the files will sync as long as your computer is connected to the Internet.

Image depicting File Explorer window displaying the Storage folder that is now synced.


Remove Locally Stored Files

When opening files in a synced SharePoint folder the OneDrive client will download the file onto your computer, indicated by a green check mark in the Status column of File Explorer. If you do not want that file or folder (including contents) to remain on your computer after accessing it, you can right click on the file or folder and select Free up space.

Image depicting right click context menu showing the Free up Space command


Remove Synced Folders

If you no longer want to sync a SharePoint folder on your computer click on the blue OneDrive icon in your task bar notification area and select Settings. If you do not see the blue OneDrive icon you may need to click the  icon to show hidden icons.

Image depicting OneDrive menu showing Settings option.


The OneDrive settings window will open. Click Stop sync next to the SharePoint folder you no longer want to sync to your computer.

Image depicting OneDrive settings dialogue window.


A second dialogue box will appear confirming your selection. Click Stop sync to stop syncing the folder.

Image depicting Dialogue box confirming the stop sync command.


Any files that were still on the computer can be deleted if you navigate to the folder in File Explorer and delete it. You will then need to empty your recycle bin if you want it completely removed from your computer.




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Article ID: 1665
Wed 6/10/20 2:17 PM
Tue 5/14/24 11:52 AM

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