How to Add SharePoint Team Sites to File Explorer in Windows 11

Connecting a SharePoint team site to Windows 11 through File Explorer allows team members to seamlessly access collaborative documents using their desktop apps.

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

Accessing SharePoint team sites in Microsoft 365 when using the online portal is just a click or two away. However, if you want to access those same SharePoint folders using your Windows 11 desktop and File Explorer, you’ll need to connect everything together first. As is often the case, this process is not as intuitive as it could be.

Why adding SharePoint team sites to File Explorer is important

Microsoft 365 SharePoint team sites can be a useful tool for collaborative teams that want to collect vital documents and other essential work-generated assets in a central location accessible to all project participants. Team sites are typically set up by the project manager, who also designates who has access. If all team members access this collaborative space through the Microsoft 365 online portal, everything is simple and straightforward.

SEE: Microsoft SharePoint: A guide for professionals (TechRepublic Premium)

But for members who prefer to work in a Windows 11 desktop environment, accessing that same co-working space requires a bit more effort. By connecting a SharePoint team site through Windows 11 File Explorer, team members will be able to seamlessly access the same documents using desktop versions of Microsoft’s office productivity suite. From the user’s perspective, the SharePoint team site becomes just another Microsoft OneDrive access point.

Add SharePoint Team Sites to File Explorer in Windows 11

To establish access to a SharePoint team site using your Windows 11 desktop and File Explorer, first sign in to the Microsoft 365 web portal using your credentials standard. Once logged in, navigate to the SharePoint application and then navigate to the team site documents page that you want to add to File Explorer, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

You won’t see a link or button that says something intuitive like, “Click here to add the team site to File Explorer.” Instead, you want to click the Sync icon. This process will establish a new OneDrive supported folder on your PC using the same name as the SharePoint team site. During the execution of the process, you may be prompted for login credentials for OneDrive, SharePoint, or both.

From then on, your Microsoft 365 SharePoint team site will automatically sync to your computer using OneDrive, keeping you up to date with any document changes made by other team members. If the Windows 11 Files On-Demand feature is enabled, the actual physical storage for each resource on the team site will remain in the cloud, so your hard drive storage will not be affected until you access not to a file.

SEE: How to restore full File Explorer context menu in Windows 11 (TechRepublic)

As you can see in Figure B, the Microsoft 365 team site now appears as another OneDrive entry in Windows 11 File Explorer.

Figure B

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

The process is similar for Apple Mac users, so team members can access their team’s SharePoint server and collaborative work regardless of their chosen desktop operating environment.

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