Sync with OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Workspace?

If you're familiar with SharePoint Workspace 2010, you know you can use it to sync SharePoint libraries and lists to your computer. And although Microsoft has not updated SharePoint Workspace in Office 2013 or Office 365, you can continue using it to sync SharePoint libraries and lists, including content hosted on SharePoint 2013 servers.

Most versions of Office 2013 or Office 365 include OneDrive for Business. If your version of Office includes OneDrive for Business, you’ll find it in your Office program group. The table below shows what this looks like if you’re running Windows 8 or Windows 7.

In Windows 8 In Windows 7
OneDrive for Business 2013 program tile in Windows 8 OneDrive for Business 2013 in the Office 2013 program group in Windows 7

OneDrive for Business lets you sync libraries hosted on SharePoint 2013 servers to your computer, and then work with the synced files directly in your file system. You can also download a free standalone version of OneDrive for Business.

 Note    “OneDrive for Business” in this article refers to the Office 2013 application used to sync SharePoint libraries to your computer. The name “OneDrive for Business” is also used to describe the library available with personal sites when you sign in to SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2013.

This article provides guidance and recommendations about when to use OneDrive for Business versus SharePoint Workspace. It also covers some unexpected behaviors you might see when running both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Workspace on your system.

In this article


When should I use OneDrive for Business?

OneDrive for Business is best used for syncing SharePoint 2013 libraries to your computer. OneDrive for Business features are tightly integrated with Office 365 or SharePoint 2013; just click Sync at the top of the page to start the OneDrive for Business wizard and start downloading and syncing your files.

What happens if I try to sync a SharePoint 2010 library using OneDrive for Business?

Once OneDrive for Business is installed, selecting Sync to SharePoint Workspace on the library tab of the ribbon displays an error message stating that we can’t sync this library because it’s hosted on a SharePoint 2010 library. To create a SharePoint workspace after you’ve installed OneDrive for Business, use the SharePoint Workspace launchbar. For details, see Creating a new workspace.

How can I tell if I’m in a SharePoint 2013 or a SharePoint 2010 library?

If you’re in a SharePoint 2013 library, you’ll find a Sync button on the page.

Sync a library to your computer

Click Sync to open the OneDrive for Business wizard.

If you’re in a SharePoint 2010 library, you won’t find this Sync button, but instead you’ll find the Sync to SharePoint Workspace command on the Library tab.

Sync to SharePoint Workspace option on the Library tab of the ribbon

You’ll also see this option on the Site Actions menu:

Sync to SharePoint Workspace option on the Site Actions menu

When should I use SharePoint Workspace?

There are a number of cases where SharePoint Workspace 2010 is still your best option for syncing SharePoint content. Note the following details:

  • OneDrive for Business only syncs SharePoint libraries. So if you want to sync another type of SharePoint list, such as an Issues or Discussion list, use SharePoint Workspace.
  • As mentioned above, OneDrive for Business can sync your OneDrive library or SharePoint 2013 libraries. If you want to sync a SharePoint 2010 library, use SharePoint Workspace 2010 and start in the SharePoint Workspace launchbar.

There are also cases where you might consider using SharePoint Workspace to sync SharePoint 2013 libraries, even though you could use OneDrive for Business to sync them:

  • A SharePoint site contains a collection of libraries and lists and you'd like to work with all the synced content in one place. Since you can't use OneDrive for Business to sync the lists on the site, it might prove more efficient for you to use SharePoint Workspace to sync all the content.
  • A SharePoint site contains several large libraries, and you'd like to download and sync some of this content selectively. OneDrive for Business, while simple and efficient, requires you to download all files in a library. SharePoint Workspace 2010 provides a "Headers Only" feature that allows you to download only document headers and metadata (for example, file names). In the SharePoint workspace, you can download and start syncing individual files on demand, as needed. For details on this feature, see Creating a new workspace.

Why is the “Sync” option in a SharePoint 2013 library opening the Create New Workspace dialog box instead of the OneDrive for Business wizard?

This behavior may result from an update of your Office 2010 installation that occurs after you’ve installed Office 2013 or the standalone version of OneDrive for Business. When this happens, SharePoint Workspace becomes the default application for syncing SharePoint libraries.

To correct this behavior, “repair” your Office 2013 installation. For details on repairing your Office installation, see Repair Office programs.

How do I sync SharePoint 2010 libraries with SharePoint Workspace after installing OneDrive for Business?

To sync SharePoint 2010 site content after you’ve installed Office 2013 or the standalone version of OneDrive for Business, use the SharePoint Workspace launchbar. For details on creating new workspaces in the launchbar, see Creating a new workspace.

 
 
Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Website, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Online Website, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard, SharePoint Workspace 2010