SharePoint sites provide a centralised, online location for the storage documents and other resources. These sites are useful for increasing collaboration, improving access and security and providing essential tools for your organisation to run more efficiently. This article outlines how to set up a SharePoint site using Office 365, grant users access to the the site and store and sync documents between the site and your local computers.
Creating a SharePoint site
Log in to your Office 365 portal at https://portal.office.com.
Click the small box with a white grid inside at the top-left of the page then click on the Sites link
Click on New near the top-left of the page to create a new Sharepoint site and give it a name when prompted.
Granting users access to the site
The new site will automatically open in the web browser. Click Share your site and then type in the names of the people or groups that you want to grant access to the site. Available users and groups will be displayed as you type, select the correct ones as they appear.
You now have an empty Sharepoint site. There are many types of content that you can add to the site such as lists, tasks, calendars, picture libraries etc. However, for the point of this article we will concentrate on documents because I will be showing you how to sync them to your local computer later. Your site documents and folders are displayed on the bottom-right of the site – you have not yet added any documents to the site so at the moment the documents section is empty. There are three ways of adding documents to your SharePoint site: by creating them directly in the site by clicking New at the top-left of the documents section, by uploading files from your local computer by clicking on Upload, or by syncing the contents of the site to your local computer, which I will cover next.
Syncing your Office 365 site is the easiest way to access, add and manage documents on your SharePoint site. Syncing keeps a copy of all files and folders in the site in a folder on your local computer and, provided the sync client is running, any changes made to files and folders on your local folder will be automatically synced to the online site and visa-versa. Syncing can be set up between the online site and multiple computers simultaneously, meaning that your entire team can work on the identical set of documents that are easily accessible on their own computers.
Syncing to your local computer
Before you can sync the SharePoint site to your computer, you will need the OneDrive for Business application running on your computer and set up to connect to your Office 365 account. If OneDrive is connected already then follow the steps in this article to get it set up.
Once OneDrive for business is installed and connected, return to SharePoint site we created above and then click on the sync button at the top-right of the documents section (see previous image). In the pop-up window that appears, click the Sync now link
On the OneDrive for Business application popup that then appears, click Sync now again.
An alternate method of syncing the SharePoint site documents to your local computer is to open the site in the web portal and copy the URL from the address bar. Now right-click on the OneDrive for Business icon in the system tray (it is shaped like a blue cloud) then select Sync new library. When the OneDrive for Business op-up appears prompting for the library URL, paste the copied URL into the text box and then click Sync now.
Once the OneDrive syncing has been set up successfully, you will be able to access all of your site documents from the Sharepoint folder on your local computer. To do so, open a new explorer window and then open the SharePoint folder under Favorites in the left navigation section. Within the SharePoint folder you will find all of your synced SharePoint site folders. A SharePoint folder icon with a green tick indicates that the folders are fully synced.
Any files or folders that you add to the SharePoint site folder on your local computer will now be automatically be synced to the SharePoint online portal and, from there, to the local SharePoint site folders of any other users that are syncing to the same site – and visa versa.