Microsoft OneDrive is a personal cloud storage service similar to Google Drive and Dropbox. All UMW students, faculty, and staff have a OneDrive account as part Office 365.

Things to know

  • Access to OneDrive is provided through your UMW Office 365 (O365) account.
  • Everyone in the UMW community has 1TB of storage space in their personal OneDrive.
  • As per University policy, any highly sensitive data should not be stored in Office 365 applications.
  • You can create a shareable link that can be given to anyone, but access to this link will be limited to anyone in the UMW community. You can invite outside people to collaborate, but you need to explicitly add them via their e-mail.


On the Web

In order to access your OneDrive you’ll need to be logged in to your UMW Office 365 account. One way to login to your O365 account is by logging in to your e-mail. Once logged in you can access all O365 app by clicking on the waffle in the upper left hand corner of the screen.

screenshot of office 365

From there you’ll see a menu of different apps available in Office 365.

screenshot of office 365

Select OneDrive to access the app.

Note: if you do not see OneDrive displayed you may need to select “Office 365” or “All apps”.

In Canvas

You can share files you have uploaded to OneDrive from directly within Canvas. OneDrive and other Office 365 products like PowerPoint, Word, and Excel, are available under Apps (plug icon) in the formatting toolbar throughout Canvas. (You will be prompted to log in with your NetID and password). For a step-by-step guide to sharing files within Canvas, see the Canvas support documentation here.

screenshot of Canvas formatting toolbar with Apps button highlighted

Click to enlarge

OneDrive can also be used for student assignment submissions and group document collaboration (these links will take you the corresponding Canvas support pages).

Uploading files

Microsoft Support has a quick start guide that introduces the basic functions of OneDrive.

In OneDrive you can both upload files you’ve already created, or create new files (such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint) right from within the browser. You can also create folders in your OneDrive that can be used to organize large amounts of files.

Sharing & Privacy Settings

Microsoft Support has a guide on how to share and manage access in OneDrive.

When sharing from your OneDrive, you can share individual files or share whole folders. By default any new item you add/create in your OneDrive will be private unless you have added/created a file in a folder that you are already sharing with other people. This file will inherit any of the sharing permissions in that folder so be careful when uploading any personal/sensitive material that you are only sharing it with those people that you want to grant access to.

Setting sharing to “People in the UMW community with the link”

After uploading or creating a file you want to share with students the easiest way to give them access is to set the privacy to “People in University of Mary Washington with the link”. This means students have to be logged in to their Office 365 account, but you won’t have to individually add their e-mails to document. Please note this link, if directly shared, would be available to anyone with a UMW Office 365 account.

  • After you’ve uploaded your file you’ll want to click on the share button

onedrive screenshot

  • Next you’ll see the Send Link pop-up. You’ll want to click on “People you specify can edit”

  • This will open up the Link settings page. From here you’ll want to select the following:
    • People in University of Mary Washington with the link.
    • Uncheck “Allow editing” if you don’t want students to have the ability to edit the file.
    • Select Apply

  • From there you’ll be back to the Send Link pop-up. Select “copy link” at the bottom of the pop-up.

  • This will bring you to another pop-up that will tell you you’ve successfully copied the link and will tell you what kind of access you’ve granted to this file.

  • You can share this link however you want with students. Whether it is pasting it in to an e-mail or embedding it in Canvas. Students who are logged in to their Office 365 accounts should be able to access the link.

Standalone Applications and Mobile App

In addition to being available in browser and as a standalone desktop application there is a mobile app available that allows for in app viewing of many different file types.

Course Materials

OneDrive can be used to share course materials with your class because all members of the UMW Community have access to OneDrive through their Office 365 (O365) accounts. OneDrive can be especially useful when you want to share files that are too large to send via e-mail. One way to manage a class would be to create a folder that you shared with everyone. As you uploaded new files these items would be automatically accessible to your students.

Discussion & Group Work

Since all members of the UMW Community have access to OneDrive through the Office 365 accounts students can use the various Office suite of tools (Word, Excel, etc) in collaboration in browser. This will allow students to collaborate on documents together in synchronously and asynchronously. After sharing a file or folder all items that have been shared with you can be found in the Shared subsection of OneDrive