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7 hidden OneDrive features

people celebrating finding hidden OneDrive features

In part 1 and part 2 of our series on OneDrive, we talked about what the icons mean and also where your files are stored. In this article, we run through our favourite 7 hidden OneDrive features.

The hidden OneDrive features menu

As we discussed previously, storing files in OneDrive is a great way to keep your files safe and accessible. With your files stored on the cloud, a whole raft of new features become available. Almost all of them are accessed via the hidden menu. To reveal the secret menu simply right-click any file stored in your OneDrive or SharePoint folders.

7 hidden OneDrive features

1. Always keep on this device

Clicking ‘Always keep on this device’ will change the hollow green tick icon to a solid green tick icon. This indicates that OneDrive will keep this file always accessible for you, even after the 90-day rule. You can set a single file, multiple files or entire folders and their contents to ‘Always keep on this device’ as it suits you. Be careful though, as doing this will use up space on your computer so remember to undo this when you’re done with the files.

This feature is very handy if you know you’re going to be offline for a while and need to work on these files such as on a train or plane journey.

2. Free up space

Free up space allows you to keep the file name on your computer but set the contents to online only. This will free up the used disk space on your computer while keeping the file accessible for you. The next time you need the file, simply open it as normal and OneDrive will automatically download the contents in the background. Just be sure that you have internet access when you do that.

The OneDrive menu

The last item on the list is the ‘OneDrive’ menu where even more hidden OneDrive features appear.

3. Share

Share this file with people inside or, if your company settings allow, with people outside your organisation. What happens when you click ‘Share’ will differ depending on whether you are in your OneDrive folder or your SharePoint folder.

The Share feature grants access to a single file (or an entire folder), notifies the person you’ve shared with that you’ve granted them access and creates a link for you to send them.

The ‘Copy Link’ feature simply gives you a link to share with anyone who already has access. The critical point here is that the person you are sharing with MUST already have access to the file.

We love the Copy Link hidden OneDrive feature because, say we are working on a shared spreadsheet, we can copy a link and teams/email it to each other. By copying the link we know that we have sent a link to a file instead of a copy of the file. Have you ever had email attachments called “Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of spreadsheet (1) (2) (3) (4).xlsx”? Well, not any more! Just copy the link and paste it into your Teams or Email message instead. Now you’re all working on the same file, at the same time.

5. Manage Access

Sharing all these links and granting access can get confusing. What if a file has been shared with someone externally and you’ve forgotten? Well, don’t worry. Simply use the Manage Access feature to see who else has access to this file.

6. View Online

Don’t forget OneDrive keeps a copy of every file online as well as on your computer. The ‘View Online’ feature allows you to access the online version of the file. We don’t see much value in this feature as the online and local copies of your files should always be the same.

7. Version History

This is absolutely our favourite hidden OneDrive feature. Have you ever made a mistake and wanted to roll back to a previous version of the file? Perhaps the file became corrupt? Perhaps you simply wanted to reference what was in the file before. Well, with ‘Version History’ you can easily recover the original file.

Even better, when you recover the file you have two choices: Recover or Download.

Recover allows you to replace the existing file with the previous version you’ve chosen. Great if the file you’re trying to open is corrupt and you need to recover.

Download allows you to download a copy of the file. Having two copies of the file is perfect if you need to reference an old version without replacing the current version.


These hidden OneDrive features bring some very powerful functions to your fingertips. The ability to share files and work collaboratively wherever you are in the world has been a major game changer in IT.

If you are not already harnessing the power of OneDrive and SharePoint in your business contact our team today to find out how we can help you get your files online.

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