Microsoft Unveils Major Updates to OneDrive: New Design, AI Copilot Integration, and More


Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft has just unveiled the third generation of its OneDrive cloud storage service. This updated version comes packed with some exciting features, including the company’s cutting-edge AI-powered Copilot system. Additionally, users can look forward to a refreshed Fluent design, along with significant enhancements in the way businesses collaborate and manage cloud-based documents.

OneDrive plays host to an immense number of files, numbering in the trillions, serving both consumers and businesses. Each day, a staggering 2 billion new files add to this vast cloud storage. Microsoft is taking a comprehensive approach to improve the user experience within OneDrive for businesses. This includes a series of enhancements aimed at enhancing file management, accessibility, and usability across the web, Windows, and Microsoft’s suite of Office applications.

Microsoft OneDrive: New Web View Interface

Microsoft OneDrive
Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is giving the primary OneDrive web app a substantial redesign, adopting the new Fluent design language. This redesign brings it in line with the aesthetics of Windows 11, recent Office app updates, and the latest design enhancements in File Explorer. Notably, it introduces an AI-driven “For You” section at the top, offering file recommendations, mirroring the features found in File Explorer.

The new OneDrive will offer quick access to files that are crucial to your daily work, aggregating them whether they reside in your OneDrive, Teams, or other locations. Microsoft aims to make OneDrive a centralized hub for efficient file management, streamlining your workflow.

The updated web view in OneDrive includes an enhanced shared view, encompassing all files shared through Teams, emails, and other means, including Office documents shared with you. Additionally, the sharing user interface has been enhanced for improved usability, and the process of managing file permissions has been made more straightforward.

Microsoft OneDrive has New People View

Microsoft OneDrive
Image Credit: Microsoft

For those collaborating on multiple files with colleagues, there’s a new people view to streamline the process. You can easily focus on files you’re working on with specific colleagues by locating their face or name. Additionally, you can filter this view by name or prioritize colleagues you collaborate closely with by pinning them to the top.

Another neat addition is the ability to choose folder colors, and when you share folders with colleagues, they will also see the selected color. This can help with visual organization and identification.

Folder Colors Option for Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive
Image Credit: Microsoft

One of the most practical enhancements is the capability to mark specific OneDrive files as favorites. This ensures they’re accessible across Windows 11, the OneDrive web interface, and other platforms. For example, if you mark a OneDrive folder as a favorite in Windows 11’s File Explorer, you’ll find that same folder in your favorites list when using OneDrive on the web. This feature improves accessibility and organization across different devices and platforms.

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Microsoft is enhancing the search functionality in OneDrive by integrating AI features. This addition will simplify the process of locating friends and family members in the photos you’ve stored on the cloud storage service. While these features are currently under test in a limited preview for consumers, a public preview is scheduled for early 2024. This update aims to improve the overall search experience and help users quickly locate specific content within their OneDrive files.

Microsoft is enhancing the file creation process in OneDrive by introducing an “add new” button. However, this feature is scheduled for release in the next summer update. This button will provide users with a list of template suggestions for various types of documents, such as presentations. Users will have the option to preview these templates by hovering over them or start a new document from scratch.

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Sync Files Across Device and Use Files Offline

Sync Files
Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is focusing on improving the speed and offline capabilities of OneDrive. The web version of OneDrive now launches twice as fast, offering instant sorting, smoother scrolling, and enhanced offline support. Users will soon have the ability to launch OneDrive in their browser even without an internet connection. Furthermore, the Files On-Demand feature, which allows users to mark files as available offline, will be introduced to the web version in early 2024. These improvements aim to make OneDrive more efficient and user-friendly for both online and offline usage.

Microsoft is addressing a common request from OneDrive business users by introducing the ability to open any document directly from OneDrive on the web into the native desktop apps. This feature, set to be available in December, will allow users to open various file types, including CAD files and PDFs, with ease. Additionally, Microsoft is enhancing the media view, consolidating all photos and video assets into a single, organized location, providing a more streamlined experience for users. These improvements are going to enhance the productivity and convenience of using OneDrive for business-related tasks.

Microsoft is extending the enhanced OneDrive experience to other applications within its ecosystem. Users can expect to access this new experience in the files section of Microsoft Teams. It will also be available in the file navigation part of Outlook. The updated OneDrive view in Outlook is in Microsoft’s plan to roll out in December. This feature aims to make it easier for users to access and manage their files seamlessly across different Microsoft applications. These integrations aim to provide a more cohesive and user-friendly experience for individuals and teams using Microsoft’s productivity tools.

Microsoft Copilot Integration Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft is enhancing the functionality of OneDrive by integrating its Copilot AI system. This is set to launch in December for users with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license. Copilot will provide users with a daily digest of files. It will serve as a catch-up feature for documents being collaborated on by individuals and teams. This digest will include a list of significant changes to files and a concise overview of new comments. Microsoft’s AI system will intelligently organize these summaries to ensure they are contextually relevant. Therefore, streamlining the way users stay informed about their shared documents and collaborations.

Availability of the New OneDrive Interface Changes

Microsoft has already rolled out most of the new interface for the general public. Which means, you can experience the new OneDrive as soon as possible. You can head to the OneDrive website to check out the new changes yourself by clicking on this link. Microsoft has also promised more features by early 2024.

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