Microsoft overhauls OneDrive with major new design, AI Copilot integration, and more

Microsoft today announces the third generation of OneDrive cloud storage, featuring the company’s AI-powered Copilot system, a revamped Fluent design, and significant improvements to how businesses can share and use cloud documents.

OneDrive hosts trillions of files for consumers and businesses, and 2 billion files are added every day. Microsoft is currently overhauling much of the OneDrive for enterprise work experience, with many quality-of-life improvements that will greatly improve how you manage and use your files on the web, Windows, and across Microsoft’s various Office apps. Improvements are being made.

New OneDrive web view.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is overhauling the main OneDrive web app with a new Fluent design. This more closely matches recent changes to the Windows 11 interface and Office apps, and also fits in with the latest File Explorer design updates. We’ve added an AI-powered file recommendation “For you” section at the top, much like File Explorer.

Files that are important to your workday will appear here immediately, whether they’re on OneDrive, Teams, or anywhere else. Microsoft has made major updates to OneDrive, making it a one-stop shop for finding and managing all your files.

This updated web view also includes an updated shared view, which now includes all files shared through Teams, email, and other Office document sharing methods. The main sharing UI has also been improved to streamline managing file permissions.

OneDrive has a new user view, perfect for finding files from your colleagues.
Image: Microsoft

The new People View also makes working with large numbers of files much easier with colleagues. Just find your colleague’s face or name to stay focused on the files you’re working on. You can also filter this view by name and pin colleagues you work closely with to the top.

You can now select a color for folders. If you share with your colleagues, they will also see your color selection.

OneDrive now has folder color options.
Image: Microsoft

Perhaps the most useful addition is the ability to favorite OneDrive files as they roam across Windows 11, OneDrive on the web, and other locations. So when you favorite a OneDrive folder in Windows 11 Explorer, that folder appears in your OneDrive favorites list on the web.

OneDrive’s search experience has also been completely revamped with AI capabilities, making it easier to find friends and family among the photos you’ve saved to Microsoft’s cloud storage service. These are being tested with consumers in limited preview starting this month, with public preview scheduled for early 2024.

Microsoft has also improved file creation in OneDrive. A new Add New button will arrive next summer that will include a list of template suggestions for presentations and other documents. You can hover over these to preview them or start from a blank document.

Your favorite files are synced between File Explorer in Windows 11 and OneDrive on the web.
Image: Microsoft

OneDrive is also much faster to use with improved offline support. According to Microsoft, his OneDrive on the web launches twice as fast as his, with instant sorting, improved scrolling, and improved offline support. Soon you’ll be able to launch his OneDrive in your browser without an internet connection. Files on Demand is also coming to the browser version, allowing you to mark files as available offline. Offline mode and Files on Demand are both great features that were previously limited to the main OneDrive desktop app, but are expected to be introduced in early 2024.

One thing many OneDrive business users want is the ability to open any document from OneDrive on the web in a native desktop app. Microsoft added this feature in his December and you will be able to open CAD files, PDFs, etc. Microsoft is also adding a new media view that brings all your photo and video assets together in one place.

This new OneDrive experience will also be available soon in the files section of Microsoft Teams and the file navigation portion of Outlook. Microsoft plans for the new OneDrive view in Outlook to be available in his December.

Microsoft will also integrate the Copilot AI system into OneDrive in December for anyone with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license. Copilot provides a daily digest of your files, like a catch-up feature for documents you and your colleagues are working on. This includes a list of significant changes to the file and a summary of new comments. Microsoft says it intelligently organizes these summaries based on context and relevance.

You can try most of the interface changes to OneDrive now at onedrive.com, with more coming in early 2024.

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