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Collaborating with Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive

Organizations and teams come in all different shapes and sizes, and team members can be local or spread across the globe. They can include vendors and contractors along with full-time employees.  Initiatives and work can span enterprises, organizations, and small project teams.

Microsoft 365 — including Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive — is designed to be a universal toolkit to give your team members integrated and flexible ways to work for their projects and tasks.

This guide focuses on the powerful capabilities of Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, including document storage, collaboration, sharing, and conversations. You don't have to use just one tool to get your work done — each works together to provide optimal productivity.

Here's an example of how you can use these services together: When you create a team, an Office 365 group and a SharePoint team site is automatically created for you. You can upload your documents in the SharePoint team site. Then, when a draft of your specifications document is ready for review, it’s easy to add the file to your Teams team, and use the chat-based system to let everyone know it is ready for review. Team members can open the file right in Teams and start making changes or commenting. If a team member stores a file in OneDrive, it can also be added to the Teams channel by using the Files tab in Teams. Best of all, you can go mobile with Teams, so your project members can work from anywhere.


This table provides a high-level summary of how you can utilize Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive in different situations. Scroll down the page for more information.

Primary user(s)

Great for...

Sharing and access control

Conversations and communication

Microsoft Teams icon Teams


Project-oriented teams to have a conversation, work together in files, call, and meet right where the work is happening. 

Teams can be public (open to anyone in your organization) or private (managed membership). 

Communicate in real time with teammates in a chat-based environment and in online meetings.

Microsoft SharePoint icon SharePoint

Team, group, organization

Storing files in the cloud and sharing them with your team or organization, using robust permission management, and creating feature-rich available to be added to your Teams channel.

Share files with your team, organization, and external users. Use Office 365 Groups to control access on team sites, or set up more robust permissions for sites and documents.

Communication using SharePoint News. News can be added to your Teams channel, too.  And you can add comments and likes to SharePoint pages.

Microsoft OneDrive icon OneDrive

Individual and team

Storing and syncing files in the cloud and accessing them from anywhere on any device. Ideal for work in progress and sharing with specific individuals.

Documents are private until you share them. Share files individually and work on Office documents with others at the same time.

Comment on documents and use the @-sign with someone's name. The person you mention receives mail with a link to your comment. 

Using Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive

You can store and share files using ​SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. SharePoint underpins each of these tools, but each can be used in their own ways to accelerate collaboration and efficiency in different situations. 


  • When you create a new team or private channel in Microsoft Teams, a team site in SharePoint gets automatically created. To edit the site description or classification for this team site, go to the corresponding channel’s settings in Microsoft Teams

  • Learn more about managing Microsoft Teams connected teams sites

Microsoft Teams icon Microsoft Teams

When you’re collaborating in real time, it is a great time-saver to easily access files that are important to your project.  Files shared on Microsoft Teams are available right where you are having conversations and meeting, and your team can own them together. Documents shared in Microsoft Teams are stored in SharePoint, so you get the best of both worlds.

You can communicate through threaded and persistent chat and keep everyone in the know. In Microsoft Teams, you can also privately chat with any contact, even when they’re offline – that’s especially convenient when your contact is in a different time zone. With persistent conversation history, you can start and continue exchanges at any time. Use private chat to coauthor a document in real time and to continue collaborating after a call. You can even pin important chats for easy retrieval.

Teams can be public or private.  Public teams are open to anyone in your organization. Membership in private teams is managed. 

Learn more about Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft SharePoint icon SharePoint

Every Teams channel has a SharePoint team site, and every SharePoint team site has a Teams channel. SharePoint is great for storing files in the cloud and making them accessible to a broad audience. And, you can take advantage of robust file permission management, document process flows, retention policies, and more.  Here are ways to work with SharePoint:

  • Collaborate on files in Teams, create pages, use a shared notebook, and use the integrated Office 365 group to bring together conversations, calendars, and tasks.

  • Spread ownership and permissions across a wider collection of people. If a document is important to the success of a project, it’s a good idea for there to be people other than yourself who can control what happens on the site.

  • Grant permissions on a site basis, instead of on individual documents. If people have access to the team site, then they have access to documents stored in the site.

  • Create attractive and effective site pages to organize information, post news, provide contact information, and provide navigation to documents, media, and other types of information.

Learn more about SharePoint.

Microsoft OneDrive icon OneDrive

Personal files or documents that only you are working on can be securely stored on OneDrive. Think of it as your personal repository – a cloud version of My Documents. Files are always in sync and available to access even when you’re offline. With OneDrive, your files are always with you and ready to share. In terms of longevity, OneDrive ​is great for work in progress.​​​ Here are some examples of how you can take advantage of OneDrive:

  • You want to share individual files with just a few people, or not share at all.

    Documents you place in OneDrive for are private until you share them. You can share files individually and work on Office documents with others at the same time. This makes OneDrive for work or school a great option for draft documents that no one else needs to see. For example, you’re writing a blog post that may not be associated with a project, and you’d like a few colleagues to review it before you post it. In this case, you expect people to use the document once without needing additional storage or context information. All they need is a link to the document and editing permission. Additionally, you can comment on documents and use the @-sign with someone's name, and the person you mention receives mail with a link to your comment. 

  • Post a file from OneDrive to a Teams channel for review.

  • You can’t identify an existing team site where your document belongs, and you don’t think the purpose of the document warrants creating a new one.

For more in-depth information, see Should I save my documents to OneDrive for a team site? 

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