Being able to synchronise a SharePoint document library to your pc in order to utilise it through Windows File Explorer is extremely useful. However the synchronisation will use up storage space on your local hard drive and having organisational documents stored locally will increase the risk of information compromise.
An effective way of rapidly accessing SharePoint document libraries and folders through File Explorer is to add them to the Quick Access section at the top left or the File Explorer windows, aka Favourites.
Step 1 – Navigate to the library through Internet Explorer
Browse to your SharePoint site and click on the document library.
Step 2 – Open the library in File Explorer
This is a great little step which opens the library as if it were a traditional mapped drive. On the right-hand side of your document library toolbar (New, Upload, Sync, etc.) you’ll see the All Documents view. Dropdown to see options and choose Open library in Windows File Explorer. This allows you to act on the files just as you would normally for operations such as bulk copy or move. The files are not synchronised locally so there is no offline access, storage or latency issues. You must be online to achieve this and also must be using Internet Explorer as Chrome, FireFox and even Edge don’t support the Open library in Windows File Explorer feature.
Step 3 – Pin the library to you Quick Access navigation
When the explorer window opens, right-click the Quick Access on the left hand side and choose Pin current folder to Quick Access. Or if it’s just a subfolder, right-click the specific folder you want and select Pin to Quick Access. You’ll now have a handy shortcut to your online document library within File Explorer.
This method assumes you are on a domain-joined machine with the same login as your Office 365 account, you have automatic login enabled and your SharePoint intranet is a trusted domain within Internet Explorer. Otherwise File Explorer won’t be able to authenticate and you’ll get an error window stating access denied. If this is a problem you aren’t able to resolve, then try one of the alternative methods below.
You can achieve a similar result in the Office applications. Copy the URL of your SharePoint library (removing everything from the /forms suffix onwards). Start your Office application, e.g. Word. Select File, Save As and paste the URL into the filename box (you may need to click Browse first). Hit enter and the app will open your document library. Now you can scroll up the folder tree on the left until you see Quick Access and right-click in the same way as step 1. This will propagate into other Office apps but not File Explorer and it’s useful if you regularly save into or open files from SharePoint libraries.
Finally, it’s also possible to pin the web page to your Windows taskbar in order to have quick navigation to the portal view of your library. Drag the webpage tab onto the taskbar until the icon changes to Pin. Then release the mouse button and you’ll have a persistent icon to that page.