Microsoft Teams and OneDrive: Sharing, Copying and Syncing Files


Microsoft Teams and OneDrive both are used for file storage and sharing.


When to Use a Team vs. OneDrive

Important: an individual OneDrive will not be accessible when someone leaves OSU. A Team can have multiple owners, ensuring continuity.

  • Use OneDrive when
    • You're the only person using your files, use OneDrive.
    • You just need to share with one other person, briefly.
  • Use Teams when any of the following are true
    • You're working with a group of people and need to share files.
    • You need to discuss one or more topics with someone and wish to have the discussion(s) kept in one place.
    • You need to coordinate tasks with a group.
    • You need a central location for documentation for a group.
    • You want additional applications like To Do lists, or videoconferencing.

Limitations and General Information

  • File limitations:
    • Teams can hold up to 25TB of files, and files can be accessed from the Teams client and opened in Office 365 online as well as Office 365 desktop apps for simultaneous team editing.
    • Max file size of 100GB.
    • Max number of files in a folder is 10,000.
    • There is a file length limit of 400 characters. This includes the channel name, and all the folder names if there is a hierarchy.
    • Individual OneDrive storage has a 5TB limit.
    • Illegal characters in file/folder names are " * : < > ? / \ |
    • Leading and trailing spaces in file or folder names are also forbidden.
  • Files are per Channel, and Channels can sync to OneDrive.
  • In the Teams app, you can see your OneDrive files by clicking the square Files icon on the left sidebar, and move/copy between teams.
  • By going into a Channel's files more options are available when opened on the web in Sharepoint.
    • Click Open in SharePoint, you may need to click the ... to see this.
    • Sync files to OneDrive - see section below.
    • Restrict permissions to certain files and folders:
      • Note, in OneDrive you cannot add more people than are in the Team, but you can restrict access inside the channel.
        • This is the opposite behavior from Box!
      • In SharePoint click the vertical ... and then Manage access after the folder name.
        • If a team member is removed they will not even see the folder.
        • Owners cannot be removed.
      • Top level files cannot have their permissions changed - it is best to do the permissions on a folder.


Sharing Links from OneDrive and Teams

Sharing Links from OneDrive

Sharing with a link from OneDrive is convenient, but it is strongly recommended for ongoing or complex collaborations to use a team.

Sharing a link from the OneDrive application:

  • Right click the file you wish to share and select Share with the blue cloud next to it.
  • From the first share screen you can send to an email in the organization.
    • You can click the pencil and down arrow to grant view/edit permissions to the recipient.
  • If you want to share more broadly click on People you specify can view and it will bring up link options.
    • If you click on Anyone with the link it is strongly recommended to set an expiration date and/or password.
  • There are options to allow editing or block downloads, as well.

Sharing Links from Teams

Sharing links from Teams is similar, but generally, for longer collaborations, adding members to the team is recommended.

Note: A team can only share public links with a setting change by OTDI. Email for this change, which applies to the whole team.

Sharing Scenarios

Sharing a file/folder briefly with internal or external collaborators:

  • Sharing directly from the OneDrive app is fine.
  • It's always recommended to put an expiration date on the link.
  • Putting a password on a public link also reduces risk of unwanted access.
  • If you will be sharing multiple files, it may be easier to share a folder instead of individual files over time.

Sharing files/folders for long term collaboration with a group:

  • Using a Team in Microsoft Teams is preferred, advantages:
    • A Team can have multiple owners so if one leaves the Team remains.
  • Students can be added to a Team with their BuckeyeMail address.
  • If you need help with more granular permissions, like private channels, reach out to ASCTech.

Students sharing data with advisors long term:

  • This should always be done in a Team.
  • When a student graduates they keep access to Office 365 for two years.
    • After two years the file will unshare, possibly causing confusion.

External guests:

  • External collaborators can be invited to the Team, with a Microsoft account.
  • They will need to use the 'Teams for work or school' application.
  • If they use Teams for their institution they will need to switch from one Teams home or 'tenant' with a drop down next to their name.
  • If they are using a non-institutional Microsoft account, using the Teams web client is preferred.
    • Two different emails cannot be signed into the desktop application simultaneously.
  • OTDI is working on better documentation for this.

Syncing Teams Files to OneDrive

There are two ways to sync files from a Team to OneDrive: sync and shortcuts.

Syncing Teams files to OneDrive

OneDrive does not sync files from all Teams channels, by default. Use the following procedure if you would like to have files from a particular Teams channel synced to your local OneDrive client on Windows or macOS.

In Teams:

  • Select the channel you wish to sync, and click Files at the top.
  • Click Sync and you will be prompted to open the OneDrive app on the local Windows or Mac computer.
  • The local OneDrive client will open and let you select where to save the OneDrive directory.
  • Once synced you can tell the status of a file:
    • Blue cloud, online only.
    • Green check - outlined, available on the local device now, but will be automatically switched to cloud only after period of non-use.
    • Green check - solid, always available on local device. You can right click to make always available.
  • On iOS Teams files will appear in the Libraries tab. Each team will have a library, and each channel will have a folder below the General folder.
  • On Windows/macOS click on the cloud and access Help & Settings-> Settings (Preferences on macOS) to manage folders and accounts.

Syncing files shared with you in OneDrive

OneDrive does not sync files that are shared with you, by default. Use the following procedure if you would like to have files that are shared with you synced to your local OneDrive client on Windows or macOS.

  • Login to the Office 365 portal at
  • Browse to your OneDrive for Business.
  • Click Shared with me, from the left panel.
  • Click on the folder you want to sync to your computer.
  • Click Add shortcut to My Files.
  • The shared item will appear at the top-level of your OneDrive folder.

Important: Links shared from personal OneDrive accounts will not appear here!  The best way to keep track of these links is to save the email of the share.

Teams/OneDrive File Transfers

If you have a files to transfer the OneDrive desktop client is normally fine. Rclone is another option for syncing.

Desktop Client

The desktop client is fine for small moves/copies. Keep in mind that:

  • Transfers using the desktop client will download to a local computer and then re-upload.
  • These transfers can be problematic if the computer does not have space to hold the files.
  • It may take some time for the transfer to happen, especially if the computer is turned off or goes to sleep.
  • Until the transfer is complete the files will be inconsistent on other computers and online.
  • To abort the transfer is difficult as the OneDrive service will continue to attempt transfers.

For these reasons, many and large transfers (over 10GB) are best done via SharePoint.

SharePoint / Within Teams

From within Teams and SharePoint files can be transferred between OneDrive and different Teams, or downloaded to a computer.

  • Moving within Teams/SharePoint is recommended for large file copies/moves as the processing takes place in the cloud.
  • The desktop client also has more limitations on files sizes and number of files in a folder.

Copying/Moving multiple files in a single operation has three requirements:

  • No more than 100 GB total file size
  • No more than 30,000 files
  • Each file must be less than 15 GB

Auditing Sharing


Looking at members in a Team and removing them is sufficient to audit access in most situations. Any private channels should also be checked.


  • If you have gone into SharePoint and configured special sharing permissions then you will have to manually check in SharePoint.
  • If you have shared links to files in Teams you will need to manually check them.
    • To make this easier, put linked files in folders with clear names, like "Shared with all OSU".


Checking sharing in OneDrive is more complex.

From the desktop interface, any files shares will have a "person" on it.

To see all files shared by you in OneDrive:

  • Right click the OneDrive cloud icon your machine, and select "View online" to go to OneDrive on the web.Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)
    • Make sure you log in with your OSU credentials, if you have more than one Microsoft account.
  • Click "Shared" on the left menu, then "Shared by you" on the top tab.Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)
  • This will give you a list of all the files that you are sharing.
  • Then click the "..." and "Manage access" on any file to remove its sharing.
    • You can remove individuals.
    • Use the blue "Stop sharing" to remove all links and access.Uploaded Image (Thumbnail)
  • Note: There may be many files shared from the "Microsoft Teams Chat Files" folder.
    • These are files shared automatically when dragged into a Teams chat.


Controlling Sync in OneDrive

Microsoft has a good article on selecting which folders to sync and how to reduce local storage here.

Folders that are shared from someone else's OneDrive are not synced by default. To enable syncing a folder that is shared with you, follow the directions here. Note that the name of the button in the current version of OneDrive reads, Add shortcut to My files, instead of "Add shortcut to my OneDrive." Single files shared from someone else's OneDrive cannot be synced, only folders (and the files they contain).

Coexisting with a Personal OneDrive Account

If you also use a personal OneDrive account, you can log into both and the OSU folder will be clearly labeled as The Ohio State University.

On Windows/macOS you will have two icons in the taskbar, one for your personal account and one for OSU. On iOS, you will click the person/picture icon in the upper left to switch between accounts.

The OSU folder may have several files in it: Attachments, Microsoft Teams Chat Files - for files in chats, Name @ The Ohio State University - this is your OneNote notebook. You can add other files here. 

Box Migration Notes:


Boxnotes, if copied manually, are not readable. Migrated Boxnotes during the normal migration and will convert them so they are still readable. However, if you wish to migrate files manually, to save Boxnotes, just open them and print them to a PDF and save the PDF file on OneDrive or Teams.

Box File Comments and Tasks

Box file comments and tasks will not migrated. If the comments/tasks are needed, you'll need to copy and save them manually. Teams has a file comments capability, similar to Box. Open a file within the Teams app and click on the Comments button.

Rclone Setup and use

Rclone is now available and working with OneDrive.

  • Setup is somewhat involved: follow the instructions below and full documentation is at
  • You cannot get a ClientID and Key, so ignore that part.
  • After the Rclone be sure to check the log file for any errors.

Rclone is a command line program to manage files on cloud storage. Rclone mounts any local, cloud or virtual filesystem as a disk on Windows, macOS, linux and FreeBSD, and also serves these over SFTP, HTTP, WebDAV, FTP and DLNA.

Rclone helps:

  • Backup (and encrypt) files to cloud storage
  • Restore (and decrypt) files from cloud storage
  • Mirror cloud data to other cloud services or locally
  • Migrate data to cloud, or between cloud storage vendors
  • Mount multiple, encrypted, cached or diverse cloud storage as a disk


curl | sudo bash


Configuring rclone

rclone config

Type ’n’ - enter to create a new remote to connect to

Enter the name you wish to call the new connection. “onedrive” is easy (and used in this example)

You’ll now see a long list of options to choose from,
Type “onedrive” - return

Client id> - enter - leave blank
Client secret> - enter - leave blank
Region> - enter - Defaults to global
Edit advanced config> n - enter
Use auto config?> y - enter

A new browser window should appear, login to Microsoft with your

After you log in you should see a “success!” Page, you can close this browser window now.

config_type> onedrive - enter

It should find the root of your onedrive and display a url similar to “**********

Type y - enter

y - enter again

You should now see a list of current remotes and your newly added should be there.

Type q - enter - to quit

Now you can begin to copy from local folders to your onedrive, I would recommend opening a tmux session for this as well as create a folder in your onedrive for the files to move to (by default they may move directly to your root onedrive folder)

To start copying files:

rclone copy /home/source remotename:foldername

e.g. copying my local desktop to a onedrive folder called rclone-test:

rclone copy Desktop/ onedrive:rclone-test

Depending on how many files you’re moving this can take some time (which is why a tmux is nice) typically I’ve noticed there is no message once its done, just an empty terminal line.

For more information on rclone see link

Rclone Setup for a Teams folder

Type ’n’ - enter to create a new remote to connect to

Enter the name you wish to call the new connection. I personally make this match the Teams name.

You’ll now see a long list of options to choose from,
Type “onedrive” or the corresponding number option - return

Client id> - enter - leave blank
Client secret> - enter - leave blank
Region> - enter - Defaults to global
Edit advanced config> n - enter
Use auto config?>

y - will give you the browser based configuration like above

n - you will need another machine with a gui and rclone installed to authenticate.


 4 / Search for a Sharepoint site
   \ (search)

This option seems to work the easiest for me, then you just type in the exact name of the team and it should find it.

save the new remote. - Done!



Article ID: 138937
Mon 10/25/21 4:29 PM
Thu 7/20/23 12:34 PM

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