Include Important SharePoint Online Folders in OneDrive
First announced in public preview in June as the “Add to OneDrive” feature, the Add shortcut to OneDrive option is now showing up in SharePoint Online sites in Office 365 tenants worldwide (Figure 1). The documentation is here. This is message center notification MC217339 and Microsoft 365 roadmap item 56384.
Update (December 2, 2020): After some delays, the shortcut feature is now generally available everywhere.
Shortcuts to Important Folders
In a nutshell, when you use the option for a selected folder (rather than an individual file), it creates a shortcut link in your OneDrive for Business My files view. The idea is that you can use OneDrive for Business to assemble links for the SharePoint Online folders and other folders shared with you by other users to make them more easily accessible. In my case, my work tends to focus on a small number of folders spread across different sites for chapter and book files for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook, blog posts like this, and billing for consulting engagements. Figure 2 shows my setup. Note the different folder icon used for the shortcuts. Selecting a shortcut opens the folder in the My Files view.
Shortcuts Prove to Be Really Useful Feature
Creating shortcuts to folders in SharePoint Online document libraries is a simple but incredibly effective idea. Given the number of Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams in use today, Office 365 users might have access to hundreds of different sites, which creates the challenge of how to quickly access the files most important to you, or the “where’s my stuff syndrome.” Opening the SharePoint or Teams app to navigate to the files is one way to accomplish the goal as is using Microsoft Search to find individual files.
And then there’s Delve. Once the poster child for the Microsoft Graph and the preferred access point to documents created within Office 365 but lately ignored in the rush to Project Cortex and its offshoots, Delve is still offers an effective way to assemble sets of documents by adding them to one of its boards (Figure 3).
At this point, given that many have forgotten that Delve exists, adding shortcuts to OneDrive for Business is the most useful way of assembling pointers to the SharePoint Online folders you use most often. It’s just a pity and a little curious that Microsoft hasn’t told more people about shortcuts.
Disabling OneDrive Shortcuts
If you decide that you don’t like shortcuts, you can disable them by running the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet to set the DisableAddShortCutsToOneDrive switch to $True. Make sure that you update the SharePoint Online PowerShell module before attempting to run Set-SPOTenant to ensure that the switch is available.
Set-SPOTenant -DisableAddShortCutsToOneDrive $True WARNING: Users in your organization will no longer be able to add new shortcuts to their OneDrive while the feature is in Public Preview. However, existing shortcuts will remain functional.
The warning still applies even though OneDrive shortcuts are generally available. In December 2020, Microsoft said that administrators would be able to block OneDrive shortcuts “for the next few months” to “drive any required change management.” Microsoft plans to remove this option in the future (no timeframe has been announced).
If you disable OneDrive shortcuts, the Add shortcut to OneDrive command is removed from SharePoint Online document libraries. Existing shortcuts remain in place. Some people would like to keep the option to disable shortcuts. If you share this view, you can vote for this SharePoint User Voice request.
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