As part of your access to Microsoft 365/SharePoint Online, faculty and staff also receive

  • A personal BU OneDrive - One Terabyte of space where you can store your "personal work files" and selectively share them with others
  • Access to Office Online - Web-based versions of all the applications in the Microsoft Office suite

Only your personal account is eligible for a BU OneDrive -- shared accounts are not eligible. For group or departmental sharing you should instead apply for a SharePoint site collection (a.k.a. a SharePoint team site) - see our pages on SharePoint and Notes for SharePoint Site Collection Administrators for more information.

BU OneDrive

Your BU OneDrive is a SharePoint document library -- an implementation of Microsoft's OneDrive for Business. It is located in BU's tenant in Microsoft's cloud-based Microsoft 365. You can synchronize files you store in the cloud to multiple personal computers and access them from a wide variety of mobile devices. You can also share files and folders with people both inside and outside Boston University. Learn more about OneDrive for Business on the following pages, which include brief videos and answers to common questions: OneDrive for Business - Online File Sharing and What is OneDrive for Business? You can also view a series of brief video tutorials.

Once you are licensed for Microsoft 365/SharePoint Online, you can access your BU OneDrive using the login instructions for SharePoint Online. The first time you log in, Microsoft 365 will begin to provision your Personal Site. Once you are logged in to Microsoft 365, click on the "waffle" icon at the left end of the top navigation bar to display the app launcher and then click on the "OneDrive" button. You should do this one time to initialize your BU OneDrive before trying to access it from inside an Office application such as Word.

FAQs and How-to's

  • What's the difference between OneDrive (the consumer version) and OneDrive for Business (your BU OneDrive)? You may already have a standalone consumer version OneDrive, or one that came as part of a personal Office 365 subscription, e.g., one that came with a new computer.
    • Your BU OneDrive will appear in Office Save/Open dialogues as "OneDrive - Boston University"
    • If you have a personal, consumer version of OneDrive, it will appear as "OneDrive - Personal"
    • Watch an entertaining video that explains the difference and helps you understand them both in the larger context of personal editions of Microsoft 365 and enterprise versions, such as Microsoft 365 for Education
  • Should I save my documents to my BU OneDrive or to a SharePoint team site? Think of the two this way:
    • My BU OneDrive is for *my* documents, some of which I may wish to share, selectively, with others.
    • A SharePoint team site is for *our* documents that we share together. Documents that should persist for other's use after you leave BU Should be stored in a SharePoint site rather than your OneDrive.

    You might also find this Microsoft article useful: Should I save my documents to my OneDrive for Business [BU OneDrive] or a team site?

Office Online

You can edit the files in your BU OneDrive or anywhere else in Microsoft 365/SharePoint Online (but not on your desktop) using web-based versions of Microsoft Office applications, collectively known as Office Online. When you view the list of your online files in a web browser, simply click on a file to view it in the Office Online app; then, to edit it, choose "Edit in Online" from the "Edit Document" dropdown menu.

Office Online apps offer simultaneous editing, so you can collaborate in real time on files you share with others.

Note that Office Online is web-based, so you can only use Office Online apps within your web browser, to view and edit files that are stored in the cloud.

BU OneDrive and Office Online are available to all faculty and staff. Requests for student use, e.g., for research, must be made by faculty or staff.