Microsoft’s Big OneDrive Overhaul: New UI, Copilot Integration, and More

What to know

  • Microsoft rolled out the 3rd generation of its OneDrive cloud storage on 3rd October, 2023.
  • It integrates the new AI-driven Copilot system, features the ‘Fluent’ design, and brings significant enhancements for businesses using cloud documents.

OneDrive is home to an astronomical number of files, catering to both regular users and businesses, with a jaw-dropping 2 billion files uploaded every single day. Microsoft is now giving OneDrive for business a much-needed makeover, bringing in numerous user-friendly improvements that will greatly enhance file management and utilization across the web, Windows, and Microsoft Office apps.

Glowed-up “For you” page

Source: Microsoft

The main OneDrive web app is getting a facelift with a new Fluent design that aligns closely with Windows 11’s interface and recent Office app updates. It’s designed to seamlessly integrate with the latest File Explorer changes. Plus, there’s a new “For you” section powered by AI that offers file recommendations, similar to what you’d find in File Explorer.

Now, you’ll find files crucial for your workday immediately in this section, whether they reside in your OneDrive, Teams, or elsewhere. Microsoft has essentially transformed OneDrive into a central hub for discovering and managing all your files.

Related: Looking to Disable Onedrive? Learn these tips first!

Copilot Integration and Future Plans

Microsoft is actively developing new Copilot capabilities designed to assist users in locating what they need and maintaining their digital organization. Consider this scenario: You have joined a fresh project named “Growth” and need to quickly catch up on all there is to know about it. When you turn to Copilot and request, “Show all the files shared with me related to Project Growth in the past week,” Copilot not only aids in locating the relevant files but also understands the user’s desire to organize them into a new folder. Copilot proceeds to create the folder and suggests additional files associated with Project Growth that may not have been included in the initial search. This transforms a simple natural language search into a personalized knowledge repository for Project Growth.

Source: Microsoft

When it’s time to share these files with others, Copilot can generate summaries to include with the shared links, offering colleagues valuable context. Copilot simplifies the process of staying informed about important changes to the user’s content. Imagine a daily digest in OneDrive that highlights newly shared files, modifications to files shared by the user, recent comments, documents pertinent to upcoming meetings, and recommendations for follow-up actions. It’s all right there at your fingertips to focus on actually completing your work, rather than gathering pieces of it from different sources.

The future of Copilot in OneDrive has the potential to significantly streamline the way users gather, manage, and transfer knowledge, ultimately saving them valuable time. Microsoft will share information about further developments in the coming months. 

Enhanced collaboration

The updated web view also brings a revamped shared view, encompassing all files shared via Teams, emails, and other methods for sharing Office documents. Sharing files has become more straightforward, with streamlined permission management.

For those who collaborate extensively, there’s a nifty “people view” that simplifies finding files shared with colleagues. You can simply look for their face or name, and you can filter this view by name or prioritize colleagues you closely work with.

Searching in OneDrive is also getting a makeover with AI enhancements, making it simpler to locate photos of your friends and family stored on Microsoft’s cloud storage service. These improvements are currently being tested by consumers in a limited preview, with a public preview scheduled for early 2024.

Create, customize, and organize better

Source: Microsoft

File creation in OneDrive is getting an upgrade as well. Next summer, a new “add new” button will offer a list of template suggestions for presentations and other documents. You can hover over these templates to preview them or start from scratch.

Another neat feature allows you to customize folder colors, which your co-workers can also see when you share folders with them.

Arguably the most handy addition is the ability to mark OneDrive files as favorites, which will sync across Windows 11, OneDrive on the web, and other platforms. So, if you favorited a OneDrive folder in Windows 11’s File Explorer, you’ll find it in your favorites list on OneDrive’s web version.

QOL optimizations

OneDrive is also becoming faster and more user-friendly, with improved offline support. Microsoft claims that OneDrive on the web launches twice as fast, offering instant sorting, smoother scrolling, and enhanced offline functionality. Soon, you’ll be able to access OneDrive in your browser even without an internet connection. Both offline mode and Files On-Demand, which were previously exclusive to the main OneDrive desktop app, will be available in early 2024.

More for business users

Source: Microsoft

OneDrive business users have long requested the ability to open any document from OneDrive on the web in native desktop apps. Microsoft is making this possible in December, allowing you to open files like CAD files and PDFs. Additionally, a new media view will consolidate all photos and video assets into one location.

This improved OneDrive experience will soon extend to the files section of Microsoft Teams and the file navigation area of Outlook, expected to be available in December.

More safe and secure

Amid the move toward remote work and the growing reliance on file sharing, security is of paramount importance. The latest features within the SharePoint Advanced Management (SAM) add-on provide administrators with the means to safeguard content by preventing excessive exposure, enhancing access control when necessary, overseeing sharing practices, and facilitating secure content migration during corporate mergers and acquisitions. These capabilities are presently accessible to OneDrive users worldwide, unless specified otherwise.

And that rounds up the current update regarding OneDrive’s overhaul! More updates will be rolling out in the near future, and we’re here to cover them all. So, stay tuned to Nerds Chalk for more tech news!

Related: 5 Ways to Disable Onedrive on Windows 11