Microsoft OneDrive Instructor Guide

Microsoft OneDrive is a secure file-hosting service that allows you to store, share, and synchronize files and folders from any connected devices. It offers 1TB of encrypted data storage, file versioning, and the ability to access and edit files and folders offline. Microsoft OneDrive supports UBC faculty, staff, and students securely sharing and collaborating on documents in real time, with granular control over who can see and edit what.

Cost Yes Free.
Bandwidth Partial High demand on internet connections.
Canvas Integration No None.
Privacy Yes Verified by UBC’s Privacy Impact Assessment process.
Similar UBC-Supported Tools Y Microsoft Teams is another centrally-supported way to access the real-time document collaboration offered by Microsoft OneDrive.

What can I use it for?

You can use Microsoft OneDrive for secure file storage that comes with many convenient features:

  • Creating, editing, and accessing your files from anywhere
  • Synchronizing files across multiple devices
  • Sharing and collaborating on files with others at UBC
  • Accessing files from Microsoft Teams

What do I need to use Microsoft OneDrive?

The Microsoft OneDrive application

Although Microsoft OneDrive has a web interface, you may find it more convenient to install the Microsoft OneDrive application on your computer or mobile device. The application will create a OneDrive folder in your regular directory, where you can interact with the files you’re storing without having to log in on your web browser.

However, Windows XP and Linux users will need to access Microsoft OneDrive through the web interface, as these operating systems do not work with the Microsoft OneDrive application.


  • Active UBC employees should automatically be able to log in to Microsoft OneDrive using their email and UBC CWL (Campus-Wide Login) password. If you have trouble logging in or your UBC email account does not end with “”, contact the UBC IT Service Centre Help Desk.
  • When using the web interface, Microsoft OneDrive supports most web browsers, including the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

How do I use Microsoft OneDrive?

There are many ways to interact with Microsoft OneDrive, but it’s easiest to download the application for managing the files you will store on Microsoft OneDrive. Alternatively, you can log in to the web interface and manage files there.

Click any bar below for instructions and tips for using Microsoft OneDrive.

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Install the Microsoft OneDrive application

  1. On Windows 10, Microsoft OneDrive is already installed. For other versions of Windows, download the desktop application by going to the Microsoft OneDrive download page and clicking Download.
  2. Open the Microsoft OneDrive installer that downloads, and follow the steps to install the application.
  3. Enter your email and your UBC CWL password when prompted to log in.
  4. When setup is complete, you will see a new OneDrive folder in your directory.
  1. If you are currently using the Microsoft OneDrive Mac Store application, you must first uninstall it by dragging the application into your trash.
  2. Download the desktop application by going to the Microsoft OneDrive download page and clicking Download.
  3. Open the Microsoft OneDrive installer that downloads, and follow the steps to install the application.
  4. Enter your email and your UBC CWL password when prompted to log in.
  5. When setup is complete, you will see a new OneDrive folder in your directory.


  • You can download the Microsoft OneDrive mobile application from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.
  • You do not have to install the application to use Microsoft OneDrive; however, you may find it more convenient than using the web interface, as the web interface will regularly require you to log in.

Log in to the Microsoft OneDrive web interface

These instructions are not required if you will be using the Microsoft OneDrive application.

  1. Go to in your web browser.
  2. Enter your email and your UBC CWL password when prompted to log in.
  3. Select OneDrive from the dashboard, and the interface will open in a new window.


  • You don't need to use the web interface, if you've installed the Microsoft OneDrive application; however, you can use the web interface along with the application, as they work in tandem with each other.

Add files to Microsoft OneDrive

You can add, edit, and delete files through both the OneDrive folder (if you installed the application to set this up) and the web interface. Files in Microsoft OneDrive will sync in one place no matter how you access them (e.g., a computer, a mobile device, the web interface), so you can work on your files from anywhere, without having to move them around.

Options for adding files

  • If you installed the application, you can add files to Microsoft OneDrive by dragging and dropping them into the OneDrive folder. Additionally, you can save new files you create directly to the OneDrive folder.
  • After logging in to the web interface, you can add files to Microsoft OneDrive using the New (to create a new file) or Upload (to upload an existing file) options at the top.
  • You can also save new files you create to the "OneDrive - The University of British Columbia" destination.


  • You can make changes to your Microsoft OneDrive folder while you are offline, and updates will be synced automatically once you are online again.
  • Green checkmark icons in your OneDrive folder indicate files you can work on offline. Other Microsoft OneDrive status icons mean different things.

Share files on Microsoft OneDrive

One of the most useful aspects of Microsoft OneDrive is the ability to share files with other people, so you can collaborate in one spot without having to exchange multiple versions of the same document and manually merge changes from different contributors.

By default, files and folders you store on Microsoft OneDrive are accessible only by you until you share them. You can see who files are shared with and modify the sharing at any time.

  1. Launch share settings for a file:
    • If you installed the application, you can manage sharing of individual files by right-clicking them in the OneDrive folder and choosing Share.
    • Alternatively, after logging in to the web interface, select individual files and click Share at the top.
  2. Once you've launched the share settings, you can choose who should see and/or edit the file. To find people at UBC, use their first name, last name, or email address.
  3. Click Send for the specified people to receive an invitation through email, or click Copy Link to send the link yourself.


  • You can follow the same process outlined here to update existing share settings, but if you log in to the web interface and click a file, you will find a more streamlined way to modify share settings.
  • You can also use Microsoft OneDrive to share entire folders with other people. Files placed in these shared folders will automatically be shared with the people who can access the folder. This method of sharing is convenient if you will have a number of documents for the same group.
  • In the mobile application, press and hold the file you want to share, in order to see the share option.

Access a file shared with you in Microsoft OneDrive

You will receive a notification from Microsoft OneDrive or from the person sharing with you when a new file is available.

  1. Click Open or the link, and you will be directed to a new tab in your browser.
  2. If prompted, log in to Microsoft OneDrive with your UBC credentials.
  3. Confirm your email address to open the file.


  • Using the web interface, you can access what's been shared with you by clicking Shared in the navigation. In fact, you can toggle there between "Shared with me" and "Shared by me".

Collaborate with others in Microsoft OneDrive

If you’ll be working with others, you can use Microsoft OneDrive to track your collaboration in several ways.

  • When you are working on a shared document, if anyone else is also working on it at the same time, you'll be able to see them as an icon at the top of the document. Clicking that icon will give you the option to jump to where they are working in the document.
  • Each shared file has something called version history. This history tracks changes made by each person and saves different versions over time, so you can see who made which edits and restore or save older versions.
    • View the history of any shared document when you are in it by clicking the file name at the top, and selecting Version History. You can see and restore previous edits to the document.


  • If you are in the web interface, you can see a summary of recent activity on any file by right-clicking the file and choosing Details from the options. This action will open a panel with a chronological activity history.

Where can I get more support with Microsoft OneDrive?

Technical support

If you have trouble with Microsoft OneDrive:

Pedagogical support

Student support

Learn more

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