Accessing SharePoint Team Sites in Microsoft 365 when you are operating in the online portal is a simple mouse click or two away. However, if you want to access those same SharePoint folders using your Windows 11 desktop and File Explorer, you will have to first connect everything together. 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 by all the project participants. The Team Sites are generally set up by the project lead, who also designates which individuals have access authority. If all team members access this collaborative space through the Microsoft 365 online portal, everything is simple and straightforward.
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But for those members who prefer to work in a Windows 11 desktop environment, accessing that same collaborative workspace requires a little 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 a user 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 log in to the Microsoft 365 web portal using your standard authentication credentials. Once logged on, navigate to the SharePoint application and then access the Team Site documents page that you would like to add to File Explorer, as shown in Figure A.
You will not see a link or button that says something intuitive like: “Click here to add 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. As the process runs, you may be asked to provide login credentials for either OneDrive, SharePoint, or both.
From this point on, your Microsoft 365 SharePoint Team Site will be automatically synchronized with your computer using OneDrive, keeping you up to date on all document changes made by other team members. If you have the Windows 11 Files On-Demand feature turned on, the actual physical storage of each asset on the Team Site will remain in the cloud, so your hard drive storage will not be impacted until you access a file.
SEE: How to restore the full context menu to File Explorer in Windows 11 (TechRepublic)
As you can see in Figure B, the Microsoft 365 Team Site now appears as another OneDrive entry in the Windows 11 File Explorer.
The process is similar for Apple Mac users, so team members can access the SharePoint server and their team’s collaborative work regardless of their chosen desktop operating environment.