SharePoint @ SESP



Office365, Microsoft365, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams,,, etc...

Unfortunately, utilizing Microsoft services for document collaboration is more complex than necessary.

Microsoft provides a suite of services with both overlapping names and functionality.

There is often more than one avenue to accessing your files and folders which can create confusion and the opportunity for essential files to be saved in a less than idea location.

This page is intended to provide some clarity though brief descriptions of each of the major components of the Microsoft suite and recommendations on which services to use for essential SESP files.

To start with, here is the overarching SESP guidelines for the use of the Microsoft suite for file storage. 

SharePoint @ SESP Guidelines

  • All essential files should be stored on a SESP affiliated SharePoint site.
  • All SESP affiliated SharePoint sites should be connected to the SESP SharePoint hub site.
  • Each SESP affiliated SharePoint site should have an identified "Data Steward" who is responsible for managing community members access permissions to the SharePoint site.  A list of SESP affiliated SharePoint sites and identified Data Stewards is available @ Self Service Group Management
  • The privacy of folders and files stored on all SESP affiliated SharePoint sites should be managed according to the guidelines documented @ SharePoint Privacy Management @ SESP
  • SESP faculty and staff are recommended to access SharePoint files directly from the SharePoint website.  Files can either be opened from the website or edited directly in your browser.  Instructions for editing files in the browser are available @ Edit a Doc in the Browser
  • If necessary, files on a SharePoint site can be integrated into the Finder or Files Explorer on your computer by selecting to "Sync" the SharePoint site document library to the OneDrive app on their computer. Instructions for this process are available @ Sync SharePoint in OneDrive

If you currently have or are aware of any SESP essential files or folders which are not currently stored on a SESP affiliated SharePoint site please open a service desk ticket and a member of the SESP tech team will assist in relocating the data.  Please open a ticket @  - Report An Issue

Best Practices for Navigating the Myriad of Options 

Detailed below are the major components of the Microsoft suite and our recommendations for how to best make use of each to comply with the SESP recommended guidelines.

  • Your Individual OneDrive Account
  • A Northwestern SharePoint site to which you have been given access.
  • The OneDrive App installed on your computer
  • The OneDrive Web Portal in your browser of choice
  • A Microsoft Teams "Team"
Your Individual OneDrive Account

All Northwestern community members with a email address have an individual or "personal" OneDrive account.

This account has 5 TB of storage space (may decrease in the future) and files stored in this account are not shared to anyone else at Northwestern by default.  All files and folders "owned" by your individual OneDrive account will be deleted in the event you leave the university.

You may access the files in your individual OneDrive account either through the OneDrive web portal or by having the OneDrive app installed on your computer.

You may share files or folders to other Northwestern community members or external collaborators which are owned by your OneDrive individual account, however, please keep in mind that these files and folders will be deleted in the event you are no longer associated with Northwestern.  To avoid unnecessary disruptions or in the worse case the loss of important files and folders it is critical to ensure that all essential files and folders are stored on a Northwestern SharePoint site.

A Northwestern SharePoint Site

A SharePoint site can be thought of as a OneDrive account owned by the university.  The files and folders stored on a SharePoint site are not owned by an individual’s NetID, they are owned by the university and will remain available to team members regardless of any personnel changes.

To access files or folders on a SharePoint site requires that the ”Data Steward” of the SharePoint has shared the site to your NetID.  Once your NetID has been given permissions to the site, you can access files and folders on the SharePoint site directly from the SharePoint site’s website or by choosing to sync the site with the OneDrive app on your computer.

All SharePoint sites have a website where you can access all files and folders which you have been given permission.  It is recommended you create bookmarks for all SESP SharePoint sites you frequently access.

SESP has additionally created a SharePoint "Hub" site, which all SESP affiliated SharePoint sites are connected to assist SESP community members in finding the sites to which they have access.

The SESP SharePoint hub is available @  All SESP affiliated SharePoint sites are linked under the appropriate navigation category. 

The OneDrive app

The OneDrive app, is an application installed on your computer.  You login to the OneDrive app with your Northwestern NetID.  Once logged in, by default OneDrive will sync all files and folders which are owned by your individual or personal OneDrive account.  

In addition to your personal files.  The OneDrive app can also be configured to sync files and folders from SharePoint sites which you have permission to access. Instructions for this process are available @ Sync SharePoint in OneDrive

The OneDrive web portal

The OneDrive web portal is another avenue for browsing and editing files stored in either your personal OneDrive account or files and folders that have been shared to you.  

SESP does not recommend utilizing the OneDrive web portal.  All essential files should be stored in a SESP SharePoint site, and it is recommended to access these files either directly through the SharePoint site website or configuring the SharePoint site document library to sync in your OneDrive app.

While it is possible to add SharePoint folders to your OneDrive web portal, this is not recommended as it creates more of an opportunity for files to be inadvertently stored in your personal OneDrive account as opposed to a SharePoint folder.

A  Microsoft Teams "Team"

At SESP, Microsoft Teams is recommended for real-time chat, group chat, and audio and video conferencing.  While Teams, does support file storage, SESP recommends SharePoint as a more flexible option for document storage and collaboration.



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Article ID: 2564
Fri 3/8/24 1:59 PM
Fri 5/17/24 2:30 PM