How to Save Files Directly to SharePoint Online from Microsoft Word and Other Office Desktop Apps


Issue: A client recently expressed frustration that they could not save files they were working on in Microsoft Word (the desktop app program installed on her machine) directly to SharePoint Online. It turns out that they were not seeing the specific SharePoint Online site that they wanted to save the file to in the list of options.

Why: Microsoft Office only displays sites you’ve been to recently or sites you follow. It does not display not all SharePoint Online sites that you are a member of. There is also not a button to browse through the list. You also can’t see any SharePoint Online sites via the Browse button, which some people are used to doing from the days of network drives. (see screenshot #1).

Solution: Follow the SharePoint Online site. It will make the site appear in the list. (see screenshot #2).
Following SharePoint sites Matters (read more here).

Recommendation: I recommend the first thing people do when they are added to a SharePoint site is to follow the site.

Here are some screenshots to help illustrate my points above:

Screenshot #1:

Screenshot #2:

What Else: Here are some other things to check to make sure everything is setup correct:

  1. Make sure they are logged in with their O365 account.
  2. Make sure they have the O365 version of desktop apps installed.
  3. Make sure they have OneDrive and SPO in their Connected Services.

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