M365: Sharing and Storing Files FAQ


This article will discuss basic differences between OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint.


There many ways to share files and collaborate, therefore it makes sense to first identify the reasons for sharing a file. ​​​​​​Are you working on the file alone, or with a group? Where does your group primarily work? Is it temporary, or permanent?

What's the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint?

OneDrive is best used for content you are working on alone, giving you access to all your work or school files, including the files that people share with you directly or through the teams you're working on. OneDrive provides a consistent, intuitive files experience across all your devices, including web, mobile, and the desktop of your Windows PC or Mac.

SharePoint provides the content services for all files in Microsoft 365, including files you work with in Teams and Outlook. SharePoint helps manage and protect your files, and power content collaboration.

With both OneDrive and SharePoint in Microsoft 365, your files are stored in the cloud. You can sync either OneDrive or SharePoint files to your computer.

When do I use OneDrive?

Personal files or documents that only you are working on can be securely stored on OneDrive. Files are always in sync and available to access even when you’re offline. With OneDrive, you can download the mobile app for your phone or mobile device so your files are always with you and ready to share. OneDrive ​is great for work in progress.​​​ Here are some examples of how you can take advantage of OneDrive:

  • You want to share individual files with just a few people, or not share at all.

    Documents you place in OneDrive for are private until you share them. You can share files individually and work on Office documents with others at the same time. This makes OneDrive for work or school a great option for draft documents that no one else needs to see. All they need is a link to the document and editing permission. Additionally, you can comment on documents and use the @-sign with someone's name, and the person you mention receives mail with a link to your comment. 

  • Post a file from OneDrive to a Teams channel for review.

  • You can’t identify an existing team site where your document belongs, and you don’t think the purpose of the document warrants creating a new one.

If you’re working on a file by yourself, save it to OneDrive. Your OneDrive files are private unless you share them with others. If you want to share a file with several others on a temporary basis or it is unique collaboration situation, then sharing from OneDrive is recommended. Please note that sharing files has risks. Make sure you comply with USNH Security Policies.

When do I use SharePoint?

Every Teams channel has a SharePoint team site, and every SharePoint team site has a Teams channel. SharePoint is great for storing files in the cloud and making them accessible to a broad audience. And, you can take advantage of robust file permission management, document process flows, retention policies, and more.  Here are ways to work with SharePoint:

  • Collaborate on files in Teams, create pages, use a shared notebook, and use the integrated Office 365 group to use the shared calendar for Meetings, time off, and project dates.

  • Spread ownership and permissions across a wider collection of people. If a document is important to the success of a project, it’s a good idea for there to be people other than yourself who can control what happens on the site.

  • Grant permissions on a site basis, instead of on individual documents. If people have access to the team site, then they have access to documents stored in the site.

  • Create attractive and effective site pages to organize information, post news, provide contact information, and provide navigation to documents, media, and other types of information.

If you are working as a part of an organizational team, such as committees or departments, then files should be saved and maintained in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, or an Outlook Group. Any USNH Owned data, such as department files, should be saved here with a set list of users who can View or Edit these files.

When do I use Teams?

When you’re collaborating in real time, it is a great time-saver to easily access files that are important to your project.  Files shared on Microsoft Teams are available right where you are having conversations and meeting, and your team can own them together. Documents shared in Microsoft Teams are also stored in SharePoint.

You can communicate through threaded and persistent chat and keep everyone up to date with the project at hand. In Microsoft Teams, you can also privately chat with any contact, even when they’re offline – that’s especially convenient when your contact is in a different time zone. With persistent conversation history, you can start and continue exchanges at any time. Use private chat to coauthor a document in real time and to continue collaborating after a call. You can even pin important chats for easy retrieval.

Teams can be public or private.  Public teams are open to anyone in the university, so it is recommended to create teams as Private. Membership in private teams is managed. 

Need Additional Help?

Please fill out the Microsoft 365 Support webform with as much detail as possible, or contact the ET&S Help Desk team on your local campus.

For additional training, please visit the Teaching & Learning Technologies Training site


Article ID: 2375
Tue 8/4/20 4:49 PM
Tue 4/19/22 10:32 AM
Applicable Institution(s):
Granite State College (GSC)
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)
USNH System Office