Can I work offline in One Drive and Teams?

Sep 23, 2021 | Microsoft Teams Hints and Tips

Microsoft Teams and OneDrive are both part of the Microsoft 365 suite which is referred to as cloud based software.  This appears to indicate that the software can only be used when you have access to the cloud, in other words are connected to the internet. 

If this were the case it would be really frustrating if you were in an area with no internet coverage or if the internet went down.  You would be unable to access any of your information. 

Luckily this is not the case and the online part of the software can be synced to your computer allowing access at any time. 

How do I get my online files synced with my computer? 

The process is the same whether you are using Teams or One Drive. 

1. From Microsoft 365 go to One Drive or in Teams go to the File tab in the relevant channel.

2. Click on the Sync icon 

Sync Icon

This process could take some time depending on the number of files you have and the size of them 

NOTE: You can just sync certain folders if you are not intending to use all files offline.  

How can I access my files when offline? 

There are a couple of main options: 

From File explorer 

  1. Open file explorer 
  2. The option you see will differ depending on whether it is One Drive or Teams 

One Drive

On the left of the file explorer box there should be a blue cloud symbol followed by the text One Drive.  There is likely to be either your name or your company name after that depending on the setup.

File explorer One Drive


On the left of the file explorer box there should be a symbol that looks like 2 overlapping tables followed by either your name or your company name after that depending on the setup 

Insert Table Options in Word

3. The file structure you see will be identical to that online 

From a Microsoft Application 

This could be Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. 

  1. From the File menu select Open or CTRL + O 
  2. On the left will be the option of OneDrive or Site (for Teams).  With One Drive you will see the usual file structure as before.  For Sites it is slightly different.  You will see a list of all the Teams sites you are a member of.  You then select Documents to see a list of the channels you can access within those teams.  From there you will see the filing structure you are familiar with. 
One drive and teams from application

How does Sync work if I’ve been offline 

As soon as you reconnect to the internet the syncing process restarts.  Depending on how much work you have done offline the syncing process will normally take seconds to a few minutes. 

It is normally a good idea to get the syncing set up to give you the flexibility to work either online or offline should the need arise. 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about the different ways to work offline in OneDrive and Teams, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft 365? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Courses I run.