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Microsoft Redesigns OneDrive for Business Layout

Microsoft OneDrive is adding new SharePoint features and will let the Copilot AI summarize and interpret files.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business has been redesigned and has a new upgrade roadmap, which includes the Copilot natural language AI assistant, Microsoft announced on October 3. A new look for Microsoft OneDrive rolled out to business and educational accounts on October 3. Copilot will be available in OneDrive for Business in December for people who have purchased a Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

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New layout and features are now visible in Microsoft OneDrive for Business

The major change is the addition of a redesigned Microsoft OneDrive home screen for OneDrive for Business on the web, from which other features can be accessed. The redesigned layout is available as of October 3. The new OneDrive for Business layout has a customized For You tab (Figure A), which uses AI to recommend files based on the time and what else you’ve been working on.

Figure A

The new OneDrive for Business home screen showing For You selections. Image: Microsoft

Other changes include:

  • The ability to change the color of folders.
  • The Add New option has been streamlined and placed in a more prominent position.
  • The menu on the left side of the Home screen will now include the Meetings view (a calendar) and People view (a directory).
  • Users can now mark files as Favorites.

File syncing and offline work are coming soon

In December, Microsoft OneDrive for Business users will be able to sync documents on the web to the desktop apps just like it’s possible to do with a Word, PowerPoint or Excel file.

Microsoft said providing users with access to all of their files across SharePoint and OneDrive from Teams will become easier in December. The change is part of the overall overhaul of OneDrive and SharePoint, which includes improving connections between the different applications and adding Copilot across applications.

In early 2024, Microsoft will roll out Files On-Demand for Web, which lets you access files while offline by selecting them to be available locally from OneDrive, and an offline mode worldwide.

Microsoft Copilot can scan and interpret OneDrive for Business files

In December 2023, OneDrive for Business users with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license will be able to ask questions about their files in natural language and receive replies from the generative AI assistant Copilot — all without opening the files themselves (Figure B).

Figure B

Users can ask natural language questions about files in OneDrive with Copilot. Image: Microsoft 
Users can ask natural language questions about files in OneDrive with Copilot. Image: Microsoft

Copilot will also be able to interpret, summarize and answer questions about documents in SharePoint.

Microsoft detailed several ways in which Copilot’s ability to interpret and scan different kinds of files across OneDrive could be useful for business in the future. For example, Copilot can add files from around OneDrive to a single folder to better organize a project. Or, Copilot can generate summaries of groups of files or daily digests, to use as reference or to share with colleagues.

SEE: What does Microsoft’s new Bing AI assistant mean for your business?

Administrators will see new SharePoint tools

The Microsoft SharePoint Advanced Management add-on for OneDrive, which provides platform management and security tools, has new features as well. One of these is Collaboration Insights, a tool with which SharePoint administrators can track user behavior to cut down on possible security weaknesses or improve efficiency. Collaboration Insights is currently in private preview.

In January 2024, SharePoint administrators will be able to apply for a private preview of a data export tool for OneDrive sync client admin reports. The ability to view sync admin reports on volume, health, errors and more  and to apply Azure data tools to that data will be available in Microsoft Graph Data Connect for SharePoint.

Competitors to Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive file sharing competes with Google Drive and Google Workspace, Box, Dropbox, Apple’s iCloud, WeTransfer and more.

Source: TechRepublic