Should You Store Documents on SharePoint or OneDrive for Business?

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posted by Khoa Quach
on Oct 25, 2017

From my own experiences implementing migrations to Microsoft Office 365, the most commonly asked question by clients is where they should store documents. OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online are the top options for document storage, but the question still remains as to which solution will best fit their needs.  


Before diving into any type of recommendation, let’s review what the two environments have to offer that make them similar and difficult to decide between.  

The Cloud 

Whether end users opt for OneDrive for Business or for SharePoint Online, their documents will be stored in the cloud. This means that, for both environments, documents uploaded to either platform will be available via the user’s web browser and stored online, giving the individual the ability to sync to his/her local environment if required.  


Figure 1. Sync documents on OneDrive for Business. 



Figure 2. Sync documents via SharePoint Online. 


In both cases, users will have the ability to set permissions for each file and share them quickly with others. 


Figure 3. Both sharing popups will display the same features. 


Both platforms offer a version history feature for documents as well as the ability to restore from a particular version ID. Additionally, the ability to save to or open a document from the Microsoft Office Suite is just a click away with both options.

Figure 4. Saving documents with OneDrive for Business and SharePoint. 


Finally, both platforms will encounter the same limitations in terms of file size, file limit, and character restrictions for file naming. For additional information on this point, review the following articles: 


SharePoint Document Features 

When working with SharePoint Online, users upload and manipulate content from document libraries using the default features that come with the platform. These include: 

  • Custom content types 
  • Enterprise metadata 
  • Search settings (indexation, scheduling) 
  • Workflows 
  • Custom views 

The above available features are meant to improve collaboration within teams and overall group productivity by making uploaded documents easily shareable, searchable, and accessible. SharePoint Online suits organizations that wish to promote group collaboration while managing the digital document sharing aspect of today’s workplace.  

OneDrive for Business Document Features 

When documents are uploaded to OneDrive for Business, they are intrinsically the property of the author. Although users have the ability to quickly share their documents with everyone within their organization, the main idea is that files uploaded to OneDrive for Business are sole to be used by the author. In short, users should think of their OneDrive as a personal storage space where only they choose who can access certain files.  


Determining where to store documents ultimately comes down to the following: 

  • Audience. Is the document for me and a small group, or for an entire organization? 
  • The status of the document. Will users be sharing drafts or final versions?   
  • Features needed. Are enterprise features like workflows and custom views necessary or not?


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