Quick Start

Available to: Faculty, Researchers, Staff, Departments (Requests for student use, e.g., for research or sites for student organizations, must be made by faculty or staff.)

Cost: No charge

Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaboration service for groups of all sizes. Individuals, groups, and departments may request and then manage their own SharePoint sites. SharePoint is often compared to a Swiss Army knife because it offers many tools for groups to share, manage, and use information. SharePoint is also the standard document sharing platform used by Microsoft Office, and is closely integrated with Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook. Since August 2013 we have created more than 1,000 sites for departments and research groups in SharePoint Online, on the cloud-based Microsoft 365 platform.


The BU community and invited external collaborators have web-based access to a secure, centrally maintained information management and collaboration service that is easy to use, rich in features, and customizable. SharePoint provides a single place to find the most current information, documents, and related communication, simplifying your work life and allowing you to stop using email as your document management system.

Key Features

  • Information can be managed in many ways, e.g., utilizing document libraries, lists, work flows, discussion boards, web pages, and blogs.
  • A rich set of out-of-the-box capabilities makes it easy to organize, view, and use your information in different ways, depending on your needs at the moment.
  • Multiple versions of documents and list items can be maintained automatically.
  • Information can be found through full-text search or by searches specific to metadata tagged to the information.
  • Pre-defined workflows can automate common processes such as collecting feedback and approving documents, and custom workflows can be designed for more complex tasks.
  • SharePoint Online offers many additional features, including the following:
    • Each faculty and staff member receives a BU OneDrive (an implementation of OneDrive for Business — a SharePoint document library) with 1 terabyte (TB) of space (more can be requested) where you can store files and share them with others. You can synchronize files you store in the cloud to multiple Windows and Mac personal computers, and access these files from mobile devices. You can also share files and folders with people both inside and outside Boston University.
    • Social tools are included, e.g., the ability to “follow” sites, documents, and people.

What to Expect

SharePoint Online is provided as part of the cloud-based Microsoft 365 platform, for which Microsoft promises 99.9% uptime. See the Microsoft Trust Center for details and compliance reports. SharePoint 2007 (Research COI) normally will be available 24 by 7 except for standard change windows, as described in IS&T’s standard policies, procedures, and schedules for making changes.


  • An individual from your group must assume the role of site administrator and take primary responsibility for administering the site and managing access, but may share those responsibilities as appropriate.
  • Access by students requires faculty or staff sponsorship.

Getting Started