- Microsoft announces a big update coming to OneDrive.
- The update brings design changes and various new features.
- One of the biggest additions is offline support on the web.
- OneDrive is also integrating the Copilot AI for paying customers.
Microsoft has unveiled the next generation of OneDrive, with a slew of new features designed to make file management easier, faster, and more collaborative for business and home users. OneDrive 3.0 includes a redesigned home screen with Copilot integration, AI recommendations, offline web syncing, enhanced sharing and collaboration options, and more to improve the experience of managing files on the web, applications, and Windows 11.
Some of the new features and changes are rolling out now, many more are expected to arrive in December, and others (such as Copilot) will be available in 2024.
As part of the overhaul, the company is updating the web interface of OneDrive with a new design that aligns with the design language already available on Windows 11, Microsoft 365 applications, and even File Explorer.
OneDrive new interface
The new “Home” page has the “For you” section that uses AI to recommend and prioritize timely and relevant files from OneDrive, Teams, or another location. Also, a new context-based organization on the left navigation allows you to browse files using views, including shared, favorites, people, and meetings.
The big “Add New” button allows you to quickly create new files and folders and upload content from your computer directly.
The “Shared” page includes the files shared through Teams, emails, and other Office documents that were shared with you. The page contains a new “Activity” inline view that allows you to track comments that may require your attention. Also, Microsoft is streamlining the process of managing permissions to files.
The “Favorites” page houses those files you have marked as favorites, and you can now do that with the “start-tap” option. Additionally, you can add “File Shortcut” links to files within existing OneDrive folders.
One of the most important additions in the wave of updates is the ability for your favorite files to roam with you through OneDrive across devices and on the web. For instance, if you mark a file as a favorite on the web, you will also find it in the “Favorites” section of File Explorer on Windows 11.
The “People” page organizes the files based on the people you are collaborating with. Sometimes, users remember more the people they are working with than the file name, and this new view should make it easier to find files based on the people collaborating on the project. You can also pin people at the top of the page and review activities without opening the file.
Another change that users will find in the new generation of OneDrive is the ability to change the color of folders, which provides a visual queue to help identify the contents of folders more quickly.
The “Meetings” page organizes content based on what has been shared during meetings, including chats, notes, and loops. If you are invited to an upcoming meeting, you will even have access to the files before the meeting.
Microsoft is also planning a new “Media” view that will allow you to organize your images, videos, and media in one place and let you visually browse your content.
Offline support in the browser
Offline support is another one of the biggest additions that will allow users to launch OneDrive on the browser without an internet connection. In addition, Files On-Demand is coming to the browser, allowing you to mark the files you want to make available offline. OneDrive 3.0 will also load twice as fast as before, offering instant sorting, improved scrolling, and more.
Another feature coming to OneDrive is the ability to open files from the cloud storage on the web directly into their corresponding native desktop application instead of opening the web version of the apps. Microsoft will also include the ability to open CAD and PDF files, in addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others.
As part of the business integration, the new experience of OneDrive is expected to be integrated into the files section of Microsoft Teams and Outlook.
OneDrive with Copilot integration
Microsoft also continues to push its AI features across applications and services. Starting with the Windows 11 Copilot update and version 23H2, the Copilot feature arrived on the desktop, and now, the company plans to integrate its Copilot assistant into OneDrive.
It’s important to note that it’s assumed that Copilot will be available for the business and consumer versions of OneDrive. However, in the official announcement, the company only notes it’ll be available for customers using a Microsoft 365 Copilot license and Microsoft 365 Chat subscription.
As part of the AI improvements, the search experience in OneDrive is also getting significant changes to surface files more accurately using keywords, file types, and more, and the service will even suggest files and folders based on the search history. Even further, the “Home” page now includes filters to quickly sort Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files.
Microsoft is rolling out some of the OneDrive new features and changes now, while many others will become available in the coming months. For example, the “Add New” feature will come in the summer of 2024, while the Copilot feature will arrive as a public preview in early 2024 (a limited preview of the chatbot will be available in December). Offline support and Files On-Demand are also coming in 2024. The support to open files with desktop apps from the web and OneDrive files in Outlook will arrive in December 2023. The “Media” view will arrive in the summer of 2024.