How to Save SharePoint Online and OneDrive Files and Folders for Later

New Feature Now Rolling Out to Office 365 Tenants

Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business November 2019 Roundup includes news of the Save for Later feature (Office 365 roadmap item 49095). Although I haven’t seen an Office 365 notification to announce its rollout, Save for Later has turned up in both SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in my (targeted release) tenant. The feature description is:

Save for Later will allow you to bookmark files and folders from your OneDrive, files shared to you and those in Shared Libraries to a “Saved for Later” list that you’ll be able to easily access.”

Delve’s Recent Documents List

Humans love to build to-do lists and Save for Later is no more than that: a way to build a list of items stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business that you need to go back to, maybe to work on and complete, perhaps to remind yourself of something. Although the idea is simple, it’s very useful. Two simple facts underline why. First, more files are stored in cloud repositories. Second, those files are stored in an ever-growing number of sites. The mission of SharePoint Online is to be the document management service for Office 365 and the popularity of Teams and other group-enabled applications, all of which come with a SharePoint site, mean that users have more sites to work with. Put another way, there’s more cloud places to store files than ever before (SharePoint Online now supports two million sites per tenant). Some help to keep track of important files is appreciated.

Delve (introduced in 2015) is an earlier attempt to solve the problem. Delve has a recent document view (Figure 1) to remind users of what they’ve been working on, and it allows users to associate files with “boards” (collections). A board can hold documents drawn from multiple sites and is a useful way to track ongoing work.

Delve shows off recent documents
Figure 1: Delve shows off recent documents

Delve seems to have fallen out of favor recently. It’s a first-generation Graph application that was never developed past the work done in the first couple of years, possibly because customers didn’t react to Delve in quite the positive way that Microsoft expected. The announcement of Project Cortex at the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference removed the remaining oxygen for Delve. I would not be surprised if Microsoft deprecates Delve soon after Project Cortex becomes generally available sometime in the second half of 2020.

Saving Files for Later in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

Marking files to save for later is easy. Simply select Save for later in the menu (Figure 2). The same option is available to mark either individual files or complete folders in both SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Once chosen for an item, the saved indicator shows that it’s marked. You can also click the saved indicator beside a file or folder to change it from blank (not saved) to filled (saved).

Saving a SharePoint Online document for later
Figure 2: Saving a SharePoint Online document for later

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business share a common list of saved for later files. You can see the list in two places. First, the list appears at the bottom of the SharePoint Online home page (Figure 3).

Saved for Later list in the SharePoint Online home page
Figure 3: Saved for Later list in the SharePoint Online home page

Second, you can access the list through the option in the OneDrive for Business menu (Figure 4). This version of the list is more informative because it includes details of the location and how recently an item was accessed.

The Saved for Later list in OneDrive for Business
Figure 4: The Saved for Later list in OneDrive for Business

In either app, you can open an item by clicking on it. OneDrive for Business includes a menu of other options such as delete, rename, and share. You can also remove an item from the saved for later list. In SharePoint Online, click the indicator to turn it from filled to blank. In OneDrive for Business, select the Remove from saved option in the menu.


It would be nice if Office 365 didn’t change for a while. But this is the cloud and stuff keeping on evolving. That’s why the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook exists to track and analyze about how Office 365 changes over time.

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