Quick Teams Tip: syncing files offline

When working within Microsoft Teams it brings with it a Document Library and while within the Teams interface it looks self-contained, the library actually lives within Office 365 Groups.

If you post a file into the Teams conversation window that file is in fact uploaded to the library within the Group:

The only bugbear I have with this experience is that unlike a document library there is no way to easily sync this to your local computer using OneDrive for Business.

This can be annoying because if you are offline the Teams application give the error message of “It looks like somebody unplugged the Internet” and does not give you the ability to browse the files.

Synchronising the files from your Team is identical to synchronising your own OneDrive for Business or other SharePoint-based library which means at this point you need to do it from the browser interface – just not the Teams web interface.

Simply browse to the Office 365 Group that is connected to your Team (either via OWA, Planner, or however else you can get to it) and navigate to Files. From there you will see a the library like any other SharePoint or Group library. Hit the Sync button:

Lo and behold your files will now synchronise locally and can be accessed through File Explorer:

Any edits you make to these files will now show up in the Teams interface, and if anyone clicks on the file in the threaded conversation it will open the latest version.

But Office 365 is just the same as on-premises functionality!

Clearly the title of this blog post is incorrect, but I had to raise it as recently someone made this comment to me. Their view was that they can run Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server on-premises which would deliver the same functionality as Office 365.

What does Office 365 provide that you simply CANNOT deliver with on-premises systems? Focusing on the core feature set (without bringing in Project Online, Dynamics 365, EMS or others into it), it’s not a small list:

Product Description Where you see it
Exchange Online Protection Mail filtering service built into Exchange Online Behind the scenes
Advanced Threat Protection Protection against unknown malware & viruses, real-time protection against malicious URLs at time-of-click Behind the scenes
Exchange Online Archiving Yes you can have archiving on-premises, but not unlimited Client & web
Office 365 Groups Mix of document library, OneNote, Planner, Skype for Business, and SharePoint team site functionality Desktop, web & mobile
Microsoft Teams Chat-based workspace integrated with Office 365 Groups Desktop, web & mobile
OneDrive for Business Similar to Exchange Online Archiving, organisations can run OneDrive for Business on-premises but not provide unlimited storage Desktop, web & mobile
Skype Meeting Broadcast Host online meetings for up to 10,000 attendees Behind the scenes
Clutter / Focused Inbox Email sorting using machine learning, based on individual mail habits Behind the scenes
Delve Personal search & discovery of content Desktop, web & mobile
MyAnalytics (formerly Delve Analytics) Behavioural analytics based on mail & calendar Web
Yammer Enterprise social network platform Web & mobile
Office 365 Video Share & manage business videos Web & mobile
Planner Manage tasks on graphical boards (similar to Trello) Web
Sway Visual storytelling service Desktop, web & mobile
Power BI Interactive business intelligence dashboards Desktop, web & mobile
PowerApps Build mobile apps & logic flows Desktop, web & mobile
Microsoft Flow Automating workflows across apps and services (not just Office 365) Desktop, web & mobile
Office Graph Machine learning mapping connections between people & content Behind the scenes

 

Kirsty McGrath of OnPoint Solutions has created a wheel of the Office 365 services available, building on a similar one from Sharegate.