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Big changes are coming to your cloud storage in Office 365

Collaboration is crucial to have a successful business. The internet and cloud-based online storage have made collaboration easier than ever. Companies with distributed and mobile workforces rely on shared documents that can be accessed from anywhere and edited on any device. Online file sharing is a key feature of all the core Microsoft Office 365 apps—Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and PowerPoint slides—that 85% of all Fortune 500 companies use every day. But cloud-based collaboration has one glaring flaw: The whole thing breaks if someone on the team does not save their documents to the cloud.

To be clear, I'm not trying to shame that Office 365 user who doesn't automatically save all their documents to OneDrive or SharePoint. I don't want any employees to fear "local document-saving shaming" at companies using Office 365 and the cloud. While it's frustrating when you have to ask a team member to send you an important document stored on their laptop rather than having instant access to said document online for real-time collaboration, it's obviously not the end of the world. My point is that if you want an increase in employee productivity and collaboration, it's a good idea for most companies to save all Office 365 documents by default into the cloud.

Microsoft apparently thinks that's a good idea, too.

Changing how we all save Office 365 documents

In the next round of monthly updates for Office 365 subscribers, the new default save location for your documents will be the cloud. According to the official announcement, Microsoft plans for this global change to roll out to all Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscribers by the end of February 2019.

Compared to the current defaults of Office 365, this is a significant and welcome change. Right now, using either using the keyboard shortcuts (CTRL + S on Windows and Cmd + S on the Mac) or clicking on the Save button will save your document to a "Documents" folder on your computer's local hard drive. However, saving to your local hard drive means your document is susceptible to device loss or damage. If the hard drive in your Mac fails or you lose your Surface tablet, then all your locally-saved documents are lost, too:

Changes to Office 365 storage


After the new update, whenever you save a document you'll see a new dialog that defaults to SharePoint Online cloud storage for all Microsoft 365, Office 365 for Business, and Office 365 Enterprise. The obvious benefit of saving your documents to SharePoint Online cloud storage by default is twofold:

  1. Automatically saving everything to your corporate SharePoint Online folder enables anywhere access to your files.
  2. Changing the default save location to the cloud means that everyone on your team will store their documents in a centralized online location.

Best of all, even if you forget to save a new document before exiting, you will also see this updated save experience.

Competing default cloud storage options?

For most Office 365 users, there are more pros than cons to having SharePoint Online as the default save location for documents. But for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 administrators who have configured users to their save documents to a Dropbox or other non-Microsoft cloud storage option, there will be an option to continue synchronizing files to those online locations.

Saving to SharePoint Online by default is coming in the February 2019 update at a corporate level, but individual users could always configure Office 365 apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to save to their OneDrive For Business cloud-based storage rather than locally. This option is found in the File > Options > Save menu for each individual Office 365 app. However, as we blogged about in the past, OneDrive is "me" storage rather than "we" storage—making it good for keeping your documents safe but not for real-time team collaboration.

Is your business ready for saving to the cloud?

For over a decade, Amaxra has specialized in helping organizations implement cloud sharing and collaboration with Microsoft solutions. Our experts have enabled better collaboration between employees as well as with external partners through Microsoft 365, SharePoint Online, and corporate training/consultation

Contact me at Rosalyn.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

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