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How to map an Office 365 Document Library in Windows Explorer

How to map an Office 365 Document Library in Windows Explorer

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Fair Warning

Since the launch of the New Office 365 early 2013, this 2011 blog post has become outdated. SkyDrive Pro is now the way to sync files from SharePoint Online to your Windows 7 or 8 desktop. Read more here.

//Jesper Osgaard, July 2014

*********************

I often get asked if its possible to map a SharePoint Online Document Library in Windows Explorer e.g. for easy opening of files a.s.o directly from Windows Explorer.

It is certainly possible:

Create a Document Library - in this example called "DocRepository". Since the name of my Office 365 tenant in this example is "mso365wiz" the URL to the Document Library is "https://mso365wiz.sharepoint.com/DocRepository"

In order to map the files in this Document Library in Windows Explorer the trick is to:

  1. Copy the URL of the Document Library to the clipboard
  2. Open Windows Explorer
  3. Right-click "Network" and click "Map Network Drive" to display the dialog "Map Network Drive"
  4. In the dialog click "Connect to a Web site that you can use to store your documents and pictures" to display the dialog "Add Network Location"
  5. In the dialog click "Next" and then "Next" again to display a new dialog
  6. In the textbox "Internet or network address" paste the copied URL of the Document Library
  7. Delete the "https:" part of the URL
  8. Replace every forward slash with a backward slash
  9. Insert "@ssl" after ".com"
  10. Finish the dialogs

In my example the URL is "https://mso365wiz.sharepoint.com/DocRepository" and should hence be "\\mso365wiz.sharepoint.com@ssl\DocRepository" after the above changes.

You should now be able to access the Document Library from your Windows Explorer.

See also this support article

Update #1 (February 2012):

SharePoint Online in Office 365 uses forms based authentication and the user is authenticated using a SAML token. This SAML token expires every 2 hours (some say longer though). After that the mapped drive for the SharePoint library cant access the library unless the user signs in to the SharePoint Online site again from the browser, even if the user tick off "Keep me signed in". As an alternative you can add the URL of the document library to Favorites in Windows Explorer. You'll need to do that via e.g. Word.

  1. Open the document library in SharePoint Online
  2. Copy the URL of the document library to the Clipboard (e.g https://mso365wiz.sharepoint.com/Docs/Forms/AllItems.aspx)
  3. Open a new Word document
  4. Click Save As to open the Save As dialog
  5. Paste the URL from the clipboard into the Address text box at the top of the Save As dialog
  6. Delete /Forms/AllItems.aspx from the URL in the text box
  7. Press Enter to open the document library
  8. Right-click Favorites (top left of the Save As dialog)
  9. Click Add current location to Favorites
  10. Rename the new shortcut (optional)

Update #2 (May 2013)

Since the launch of the new Office 365 in the beginning of 2013, the above has become obsolete. SkyDrive Pro is now the way to sync files from SharePoint Online to your Windows 7 or 8 desktop. Read more here.

Comments
  • Dear Jasper,

    Thank you for this great article. I've just added my Sharepoint Online Library to my favorites. Is the SAML token going to expire after 2 hours as well with this solution? I'm looking for a solution where I can map my Sharepoint Library and were the SAML token will never expire...

    Kind regards,

    Sander

  • As far as I know the "add to favorires" methods will work without any credential prompts (you wont get any Access Denied - thats for sure). But it should be easy to test though. Try saving a document before you sign into Office 365 first thing in the morning :-)

  • I tried the 'Add to favorites' method and am getting access denied when I click on the mounted folder after the SAML token expiration.  Surely MS has thought about this scenario?

  • If MS Has thought about this scenario they didn't think it through at all!

    EVERYONE I have put onto Office 365 wants this feature to be persistant and every last customer is bitterly disappointed when I tell them it can't be done without alot of mucking around.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Microsoft fix this!

  • Lets hope Skydrive Pro will be the answer sharepoint.microsoft.com/.../BlogPost.aspx

  • Is there already a solution for this horrible problem?

    I want to have a map for my company documents, not surfing trough my browser, that costs many many extra time.

    It's not that hard to have a simple description how to fix this permanent?!

  • Hi Jesper, my name is Johanna and I am struggeling with this Issue. My URL does not contain: https, nor .com.

    http://abcd1/webbplatser/ugnet/Dokument/SitePages/Startsida.aspx

    How should I add the Internet or network address? (To  add a  map networkdrive folder)

    It gives me error all the time :(

    Thanks!

  • Jesper,

    Thank you, your add to favorites trick worked. What the hell is MS doing? These kinds of tricks should be necessary for sophomoric apps, not MS stuff. Just wasted 2 hours of my life and 2 of my partner's to get this working. Can we bill MS for our time?

  • Here is a simple solution with many of the snags addressed:

    1. Open IE explorer

    2. Make sure it is IE 9, 10 won't work as of today 6-2013

    3. Make sure it is 32 bit, 64 won't work

    4. Sign in to office 365, check 'keep me signed in'

    5. Open SharePoint site

    6. Choose 'documents' to the left

    7. Choose 'library' tab at top under office 365 icon

    8. Choose 'Open with Explorer' about halfway across screen under 'export to excel '

    9. Copy the URL of this newly opened file explorer window

    10. At left under 'computer' right click 'map network drive'

    11. Change the Drive: to 'S:' (for SharePoint) or whatever you want.

    12. Paste the copied URL in the 'Folder:' box

    13. Finish

  • Windows 7 w/ IE 10 and Windows 8 should both have fixes in Windows update that resolves the issue mentioned above in 2.

  • Here's a recent conversation. http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/154/p/214997/655963.aspx

  • i think a 5000 item limit for sync with skydrivepro is not of this time.... A normal company uses much more items than 5000. Even in a single directory, so creating libraries for all subdirectories isnt an option... I am leaving Sharepoint Online and start using a decent online storage....

  • The notice that this is obsolete would be more effective at the top rather the bottome of this article.

  • I've done all that and the drive mapping never reconnects

  • Thanks a lot for providing this information. it helped me :)

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