Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

OneDrive is an excellent solution for storing your documents and photos. However, you can use it for so much more. Here are some creative ways to use OneDrive, including streaming videos, scanning documents, embedding files, and autosaving your work.

As long as you have storage space on OneDrive, you can upload video files in several formats, including MP4, AVI, FLV, MOV, 3GPP, MKV, and MMV. The best part is that you can stream them directly on OneDrive.

To do that, find the video on OneDrive and click it to open it. Depending on the video’s size and your internet speed, you might need to wait for it to buffer, but it should start playing automatically.

Streaming video on OneDrive.

Create a Digital Archive

The OneDrive mobile app has a mobile scanner that can help you digitize your physical documents, allowing you to beat paper clutter in your home or office. This will enable you to create a digital archive of your most important files, including cherished memories like old family photos.

To scan a document, you must first download the OneDrive app from the App Store or Google Play. Afterward, launch it and tap the camera icon. Place the document you want to scan within the frame and tap the white circle to take a picture.


You can adjust the borders of the frame to ensure only the important parts of the document are shown. Then, tap “Confirm” in the bottom right corner.


If there are more pages to add, tap “Add” in the bottom left corner. Otherwise, tap “Done” in the bottom-right corner. Name the document and then tap the blue checkmark in the top-right corner to save it.


Share Documents With Friends and Family

OneDrive is a useful tool for sharing important documents with colleagues. However, you can also share fun things with friends and family, including recipes, playlists, quotes, inspirational messages, and book recommendations.

You can arrange everything in folders and subfolders to keep your OneDrive organized. Others can then comment, make changes, and download what you shared.

To share a file or folder on OneDrive, click its radio button. It will be on the left if you’re using the “List” or “Compact List” view and at the top right if you’re using the “Tiles” view. Then, click “Share” in the top menu.

Sharing a file on OneDrive.

Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share the file with. Next, type in a message (optional) and then click the “Send” button.

Prompt for sharing a file with people on OneDrive.

You can also copy the document’s link and send it manually. To do that, click the “Copy” button in the Copy Link section. Afterward, you can send the link to people through WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, Instagram, Discord, or whatever chat app you prefer.

Embed Files on a Website

If you want to embed a file, such as a PDF, image, video, or audio clip, on your website, you can upload it to OneDrive, get the embed code, and then insert it on the site. To do that, select the file by clicking its radio button and then clicking “Embed” in the top menu.

Embedding a file on OneDrive.

In the prompt on the right, click the “Generate” button to create the HTML embed code.

Generating an HTML embed code on OneDrive.

Copy the HTML embed code in the text box and insert it where it needs to go on the website.

The HTML embed code of a file on OneDrive.

When you upload a file to OneDrive, it will also include metadata. This is information other than the content itself, including creation date, modification date, author, file size, file owner, version history, and sharing permissions.

Furthermore, images will have EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data; metadata specific to images. For example, a picture will include when it was taken, the location, the camera used, and the thumbnail. EXIF data can be useful, but it can also present a privacy risk.

Metadata helps when you have questions about a particular file in OneDrive. By looking at this data, you can understand the purpose and context of a file without looking at its content. It also makes searching for files easier (e.g., when you want files from a certain date range or created by a certain person).

To view a file’s metadata, click its radio button to select it, then click “Details” in the menu at the top.

Choosing to view the metadata of a file on OneDrive.

The metadata will be in the panel that appears on the right.

The metadata of a file on OneDrive.

Auto-Save Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote Files

You can lose hours of progress when you close Word, Excel, or PowerPoint without saving first. While these apps have a recovery feature for such scenarios, you might not recover everything. To prevent this from happening, you can turn on the autosave feature, which saves changes to OneDrive automatically.

To turn on autosave in a 365 app (except Outlook), you must first sign in using your Microsoft account. To do that, click “Sign In” in the top right.

Signing into PowerPoint on Windows.

In the prompt, follow the instructions to sign in to your Microsoft account. Once signed in, click the “AutoSave” toggle in the top-left corner.

Turning on AutoSave in PowerPoint on Windows.

Select your OneDrive account, give the document a name, and click the “OK” button in the prompt. Every time you make changes, they will be saved automatically to the cloud, thanks to OneDrive.

Attach OneDrive Files to Outlook Calendar Events

If you have an upcoming event in your Outlook calendar, you can attach a file from OneDrive. It can be anything related to it, such as pictures, graphics, invitations, agendas, reports, infographics, and proposals. To do that, click the calendar on the left menu, pick a date, and double-click on the event to open it.

Selecting a date on an Outlook Calendar on Windows.

Select the “Insert” tab in the new window. Then, click “Attach” in the top-left corner, select “Browse Web Locations,” and click your OneDrive account in the menu.

Selecting OneDrive account when attaching event to an Outlook Calendar on Windows.

In the dialog box, search for the file on your computer and insert it. Choose “Share Link” or “Attach as Copy” in the prompt. If you choose the former, people with access to the event will see the changes you make in real time, which is great for collaboration. Otherwise, everyone will get a separate copy.

There are many good reasons to use OneDrive beyond being an online storage for documents and photos. Apart from OneDrive, you can use Google Drive to achieve similar results.

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By John P.

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