Productive U
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Productive U

Strategies on Using One drive

Pro(ductivity) Tip# 77

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

- Leonardo da Vinci

Have you ever needed an important document only to realize that you had it saved on another computer? Have you ever needed to get feedback on something and resigned yourself to the painful process of emailing out a litany of document copies? If you have experienced any of the following challenges you need to use OneDrive.

Why Use OneDrive?

Anywhere, Anytime Access

A benefit to using OneDrive is that it gives you access to your information wherever you are and whenever you need it. Whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device, OneDrive allows you to get to your information quickly.

Simplify Your Life

OneDrive allows you to put a stop to sending out multiple document copies just to get feedback. It allows to you use one document as opposed to many thus limiting the risk of inadvertently working from the wrong version.

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is a cloud based document storage repository. You can sign up for a free personal account or a paid business account.

Personal accounts give you basic storage capabilities whereas the business accounts provide extensive storage along with a wider array of document control capabilities such as encryption, compliance, and security features.

Version Control

Another key OneDrive functionality is its ability to version control your information. What this means is that OneDrive will maintain a running history of your document. Essentially any changes that you make will be captured in a log. This helps to prevent potential loss of information while giving you the ability to revert to a previous version if there are unwanted changes. However, the most important benefit of version control is that you can get away from the creation of multiple documents to track versions decreasing the clutter and potential of using the incorrect document.

How to Organize OneDrive?

The desktop client of your OneDrive gives you more tools to organize your documents. Tools that will enable you to use Metadata, Folders, Views and Grouping to improve your ability to find information.


Meta-data is defined as data about data. Metadata are the labels we assign to information to tell us what the document contains.

For every document, you place within your OneDrive you should spend a few seconds more adding meta-data to the document. This can be accomplished in the following way:

  1. Save your document within OneDrive
  2. Open your document and click the File Tab at the top screen
  • A summary page will open displaying the document’s meta-data properties on the right

3. Click show all properties link to display all the metadata fields available

  • Use the category field to classify the type of document you are saving by typing a keyword
  • A few document category keywords you can use are procedural, policy, administrative, contract, training, reference
  • Use only one category keyword. Using more will make you system needlessly complex as you must remember the many keyword variations you have for each document.
  • Enter other descriptors to the meta-data categories that you see fit. The keywords that you apply to your document will later be used to organize your document using grouping capability.


Folders allow you to separate your documents by context such as functions or departments. For example, if I’m working with several different clients I can create a folder for each client. The main goal is to dedicate a folder to your important business and life arenas.

List View

Using views is a great way to pre-configure a snap shot of your documents in a way that gives you maximum information. List views are effective at providing insight regarding the creation and modified dates of your documents as well as other metadata like:

  • Document categories
  • Size of the file
  • Subject of the document
  • and much more

Configure a list view of your folder by following the following steps:

  1. Click into one of your folders
  2. Click the view tab at the top of the screen
  3. Click the details selection
  • This will display a document showing you all the metadata applied to it
  1. Click add columns link
  2. Select categories option
  3. Select any additional columns that you want to display in your view
  • The choose columns link will display a full list of metadata to choose from.

Grouping View

Grouping capabilities allow you to organize the view of your documents based upon the meta-data applied to it.

Grouping functionality consolidate your documents around a single metadata category.

Grouping not only helps you keep a clean view of your document but helps you avoid creating a never-ending path of sub-folders.

Use the following steps to group your documents:

  1. Click inside one of your folders.
  2. Click the Group By link at the top of the page
  • A drop-down field will appear displaying the meta-data categories available for grouping

3. Select the categories option

  • Your document view will now consolidate and organize around the category keyword you applied to your document
  • Any document without a category keyword will be grouped in the unspecified group


OneDrive is a tool that allows you to increase your efficiency by giving you access to your documents whenever you need them. By leveraging metadata, folders, views and grouping you will be able to maximize the use of your OneDrive.



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