SharePoint or OneDrive: How to choose between the two?

Discover the key differences between SharePoint and OneDrive and which is best suited to your enterprise collaboration needs.


Online collaboration has become essential for business success, but with a wide range of tools available, making a choice can be complex. Microsoft offers two in this category: SharePoint and OneDrive. One of the most common questions about the Microsoft 365 ecosystem concerns the differences between SharePoint and OneDrive and their use cases: which is better suited to your collaboration needs?
It’s time for a detailed examination of each of these two solutions. By the time you’re done reading, you may choose one or the other, or you may decide it’s preferable to opt for both. Not only are they compatible, but they are also complementary.

Reminder of what SharePoint is

Logo SharePoint

SharePoint is an intranet/extranet site tool specifically designed for collaboration. Thus, like any intranet/extranet, it constitutes a private network exclusively for members of an organisation, to facilitate:

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Data centralisation

It allows for real-time information synchronisation and ensures the security of shared elements. SharePoint has multiple functionalities, far beyond document storage and sharing: there are numerous possibilities in terms of display, search functionalities, customisation via different components all while encouraging content production within the Microsoft ecosystem. As a governance or quality tool (QMS for example), it enables the creation and dissemination of company-specific information. Saving files on SharePoint is envisaged primarily for group collaboration.

Reminder of what OneDrive is

Logo Onedrive

If you have a Microsoft account or navigate on a device equipped with Windows, you are familiar with OneDrive, a personal storage space that allows for synchronisation, sharing, and online file storage. Once your files are saved on OneDrive, all you need is a reliable internet connection to access them. We have written a detailed article on OneDrive functionalities, which we invite you to consult.

There are three main versions: one for individuals, one for educational institutions, and finally, one designed for businesses. Naturally, it’s the latter two versions that offer the most features related to collaboration.

However, the collaboration function remains limited and managing files and access rights requires taking precautions.

In summary, OneDrive is primarily a personal storage space, which can be considered as a large library, whereas SharePoint is an intranet/extranet type toolbox. Their difference therefore lies in their very nature; let’s now examine their common points.

Common points between SharePoint and OneDrive

OneDrive and SharePoint share similarities that reinforce their complementarity within the Microsoft ecosystem.

File sharing

The ability to share files, both internally and with external partners, is a fundamental characteristic of both SharePoint and OneDrive. Whether it’s for a group project, a client presentation, or getting feedback on a document, these two tools are effective.

Local file synchronisation

With SharePoint and OneDrive, you can easily synchronise your files locally, whether it’s on your desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone, thus ensuring continuity of access to your essential resources, even offline.

Online access

These tools, inherently linked to the Cloud, guarantee remote access to your data.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 acts as a conduit by aggregating various products, including OneDrive and SharePoint, to provide an integrated user experience. Both tools are fully compatible with each other, but also with tools like Teams, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.


Both OneDrive and SharePoint offer dedicated spaces for storing your documents. They allow real-time co-editing of documents, thus promoting collaboration. Furthermore, a version history function is available on both platforms, allowing you to track and restore previous changes to a file.

Security protocols and compliance

File security is a priority for both SharePoint and OneDrive. These platforms ensure data encryption, both during transfer and when stored. Moreover, in case of accidental deletion or data loss due to an attack, they offer tools to restore files or libraries to previous states. Finally, they both incorporate features to ensure regulatory compliance, which facilitates adherence to various legal obligations in data management.

Thus, the common points between OneDrive and SharePoint are quite numerous. However, there are also several differences between the two tools, which should help you make a choice.

The main differences between the two solutions

Let’s explore the nuances that distinguish these two major Microsoft tools in the field of online storage and collaboration.

Primary use

Storing documents in SharePoint is mainly aimed at collective collaboration, whereas with OneDrive, it’s about having a personal space where collaboration remains occasional.

File access

With SharePoint, files are accessible to an entire team and can be shared in real-time, whereas with OneDrive, files are initially private, and then you can share them.

File ownership

In the case of an individual OneDrive account, you are the sole owner of the files. However, for a professional OneDrive account, it’s the administrator who defines the rights over the files. Regarding SharePoint, site resources are generally collectively owned by the team, and the administrator has discretion over the assignment of rights (such as downloading, modifying, or deleting).

Permission management

On OneDrive, you fully determine who can access, view, or modify your files. SharePoint uses a hierarchical permission system, in which team leaders define access levels.


There is no dedicated application for SharePoint, but an online interface. In contrast, the OneDrive application can be installed on your device or accessed via a browser and synchronise all your devices.


While Microsoft takes security very seriously for both tools, as you will see later, only SharePoint offers enhanced security thanks to the possibility of owning an independent server. However, hosting it requires local intervention from your IT team.

Publishing on a website

Unlike SharePoint, OneDrive does not allow direct publishing of your content on the internet. While sending links by email to documents is possible, direct integration of these resources on a website is not.

When should you use SharePoint?

SharePoint is particularly suited for those who want:

  • To collaborate daily on documents with their colleagues
  • A collaborative solution for a future project
  • A tool to exchange information/collaborate between different departments/organisations
  • To easily set up intranet/extranet or document management (EDM) solutions

When should you use OneDrive?

OneDrive is for people who want:

  • A place to store and access their files
  • A simple tool to occasionally share a few files with a few people
  • A tool integrated into Windows for backing up their main work files

Criteria for choosing one solution or the other

Now that you have in mind the common points, the differences, and the use cases of OneDrive and SharePoint, here are, to summarise, the three essential criteria to consider when choosing one or the other solution:

  • Your need for collaboration: if it’s strong and collaboration is an essential functionality, lean towards SharePoint.
  • The simplicity of the solution: if your need is basic and the collaboration simple and limited, OneDrive could be your best ally.
  • Your use cases Intranet/Extranet/Document Management or any other collaborative portal, SharePoint is the solution. Personal storage, limited sharing, backing up your work files, OneDrive will be more suitable.

That said, making a choice may not be necessary: you might need both tools to operate optimally. We will therefore see how to transfer documents from OneDrive to SharePoint.

How to transfer documents from OneDrive to SharePoint?

When certain documents, initially created for personal use, move beyond this scope to become part of a team project, it may be necessary to transfer them from OneDrive to SharePoint. You can either copy or move them.

In this case, the procedure is very simple:

  1. Identify the files or folders to transfer and click on “Move to”.
  2. Choose the desired location.. Under the “Quick access” section, you will find various sites listed according to your current location. By navigating on SharePoint, you will have access to your current library, your OneDrive, and other associated sites.
  3. Once the location is chosen, click on “Move here”.

Beyond their differences, OneDrive and SharePoint share several common functionalities, notably in terms of sharing, storage, and security. Each platform has its own added value and particular application according to the context and specific needs.

The choice between the two is not just a simple question of preference, but depends more on the needs of your company. Perhaps you would like to use both in parallel, taking advantage of the ease of transfer between OneDrive and SharePoint.

Ultimately, whether you opt for SharePoint, OneDrive, or a combination of the two, the key is to adopt a strategy that maximises productivity and facilitates collaboration while ensuring the security of your data.

Our Modern Worplace & Workstation department is at your disposal to advise you on the most suitable strategy for your context.

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