By connecting a SharePoint team site to Windows 11 through File Explorer, team members can seamlessly access collaborative documents using their desktop apps.
Access Share point Team sites in Microsoft 365 when working in the online portal, a simple mouse click or two is away. However, if you want to access those same SharePoint folders with your Windows 11 desktop and File Explorer, you need to connect everything together first. As is often the case, this process is not as intuitive as it could be.
Why it’s important to add SharePoint team sites to File Explorer
Microsoft 365 SharePoint team sites can be a useful tool for collaborative teams that want to collect critical documents and other vital work-generated assets in a central location that is accessible to all project participants. The Team Sites are generally set up by the project leader, who also indicates which persons have access authority. If all team members can access this collaboration space through the Microsoft 365 online portal, everything is simple and straightforward.
TO SEE: Microsoft SharePoint: A Guide for Business Professionals (Tech Republic Premium)
But for those members who prefer to work in a Windows 11 desktop environment, it takes a little more effort to access that same collaborative workspace. By connecting a SharePoint team site through Windows 11 File Explorer, team members can seamlessly access the same documents using desktop versions of Microsoft’s office productivity suite. From a user perspective, the SharePoint team site just becomes another Microsoft OneDrive entry point.
Add SharePoint team sites to File Explorer in Windows 11
To access a SharePoint team site using your Windows 11 desktop and File Explorer, first sign in to the Microsoft 365 web portal with your default credentials. After you are signed in, navigate to the SharePoint application and then open the Team Site Documents page that you want to add to File Explorer, as shown in Figure A.
You won’t see a link or button that says anything intuitive, like, “Click here to add Teamsite to File Explorer.” Instead, you want to click the Sync icon. This process creates a new OneDrive supported folder on your PC with the same name as the SharePoint team site. While the process is running, you may be prompted to provide credentials for OneDrive, SharePoint, or both.
From this point on, your Microsoft 365 SharePoint team site will automatically sync to your computer via OneDrive, so you can stay up to date on any document changes made by other team members. If you’ve enabled the Windows 11 Files On-Demand feature, the actual physical storage of each asset on the team site remains in the cloud, so the storage on your hard drive isn’t affected until you open a file.
TO SEE: How to Restore Full Context Menu to File Explorer in Windows 11 (TechRepublic)
As you can see in Figure B, the Microsoft 365 team site now appears as another OneDrive item in the Windows 11 File Explorer.
The process is similar for Apple Mac users, so team members can access their team’s SharePoint server and collaborative work regardless of their chosen desktop operating system.