Microsoft is introducing the third generation of its OneDrive cloud storage, featuring the incorporation of the company’s AI-driven Copilot system, a refresh with Fluent design, and substantial enhancements in how businesses collaborate and utilize cloud documents.
OneDrive presently accommodates an immense number of files for both consumers and enterprises, with a staggering 2 billion files being added daily. Microsoft is embarking on a comprehensive transformation of the OneDrive business experience, introducing numerous user-friendly improvements to enhance file management across the web, Windows, and various Microsoft Office applications.
The primary OneDrive web application is receiving a fresh design aligned with the Fluent design, which closely aligns with the Windows 11 interface and recent updates to Office apps. It also integrates with the latest File Explorer design revisions. An AI-powered “For you” section now provides file recommendations at the top, similar to the File Explorer.
This enhanced web view includes an updated shared view, encompassing all files shared via Teams, emails, or other methods of sharing Office documents. The sharing user interface has been enhanced, and file permission management has been streamlined.
For collaborative work, a new people view simplifies collaboration with colleagues. You can easily focus on files you’re collaborating on with colleagues by locating their face or name. It’s also possible to filter this view by name or prioritize colleagues you collaborate with closely.
Another valuable addition is the ability to mark OneDrive files as favorites, which sync across Windows 11, OneDrive on the web, and other platforms. This means that if you mark a OneDrive folder as a favorite in File Explorer on Windows 11, you’ll find it in your favorites list on OneDrive on the web.
The search experience in OneDrive is undergoing improvements with AI features designed to facilitate the discovery of friends and family in photos stored on Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
Microsoft is also enhancing file creation in OneDrive, introducing an “add new” button that will offer template suggestions for presentations and other documents. You can hover over these templates to preview them or start from a blank document.
OneDrive is becoming more efficient, with improved offline support. OneDrive on the web is launching twice as fast, with instant sorting, smoother scrolling, and enhanced offline functionality. You’ll soon be able to use OneDrive in your browser without an internet connection. Additionally, Files On-Demand will be available in the browser version, allowing you to designate files as available offline.
A feature many OneDrive business users have been requesting is the ability to open any document from OneDrive on the web in native desktop applications. Microsoft is introducing this capability in December, enabling you to open files like CAD files or PDFs directly. A new media view will consolidate all photos and video assets in one location.
This new OneDrive experience will also be integrated into the files section of Microsoft Teams and the file navigation section of Outlook, with the Outlook view expected to be available in December.
In December, Microsoft plans to integrate its Copilot AI system into OneDrive for users with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license. Copilot will provide a daily summary of files, serving as a catch-up feature for documents that you and your colleagues are collaborating on. This summary will include important file changes and a concise overview of new comments, intelligently organized based on context and relevance.
Most of the OneDrive interface changes can be explored on onedrive.com today, with additional updates set to arrive in early 2024.