Microsoft Teams: Manage and Sync Files with your Computer


Using Teams, you can synchronize your Teams files to a folder on your local computer or device. This allows you to access your files all the time when the file is set as Always keep on this device. Otherwise, the file will download when you access it. Any files you update when you are offline will be updated to your Teams files once the connection is established. 

Syncing Your Microsoft Teams Files 

  1. Log on to using your NetID and password. 

  1. Select the Channel that you wish to sync. 
    NOTE: Each channel in a Team has its own files area. You will want to complete this sync process for every channel’s files you want to access on your computer.  

  1. Select the files tab. 

  1. Select the Sync Button. 

  2. Wait for Getting ready to sync to finish loading. Please make sure you have OneDrive running on your local computer. Select another part of the screen to deselect this image. It will continue to sync in the background. 
    NOTE: You may see an Open OneDrive prompt if you are accessing this via the Teams web application. Select Open. 

  3. Once done, select anywhere on your Teams app to remove the Getting ready to sync... popup. 

Where to find your Synced Files 


  1. Open File Explorer. 

  1. Look in the left-hand column for a folder called University of Tennessee and select it. 

  1. The folder will be named Team Name – Channel Name.

  2. Note that the folder may appear empty or not completely populated at first. Check back in 30-45 minutes, as it could take time to sync at first if there are many files.


  1. Open Finder, select the "Go" Menu, and then select "Home".

  1. Look for a folder called University of Tennessee and select it. If you do not see this folder yet, please wait 30-45 minutes and look again, as OneDrive client is likely still running the first sync.

  1. Within the University of Tennessee folder, you should see a folder named “Team name -General”. The folder may appear empty or not completely populated at first. Check back in 30-45 minutes, as it could take time to sync at first if there are many files.

Understanding the OneDrive Icons 

OneDrive utilizes a Files On-Demand concept for storage. Files On-Demand frees up space on your computer by turning the OneDrive files and folders that you select into online files. If you need to access important files when you are offline, right-click the file or folder and choose Always keep on this device. You can free up space on your computer by right-clicking on the file/folder and selecting Free up space, this returns the file to the online state. 

The Cloud  icon next to the file name means that file is online. You have access to this file any time you have an internet connection. This file takes up little space on your computer. 

The Check  icon next to the file name means that you have access to this file at any time with or without internet access. If you do not have internet access, the file will upload and replace the version in the cloud the next time you connect. These files will take up space on your computer. (Note: Be sure to check the file/folder size to make sure it will fit on your hard drive.)

Best Practice for Travel File Access 

With Microsoft Teams you can save hard-drive space on your local computer by storing your documents/files onto OneDrive. If you are connected to the cloud via the internet, you have full access to all your files; but if you plan to travel and may not have internet access, you will want to consider making some of the current project files available offline.  

Additional Features 

Collaboration: Teams makes it easy to share files and work on them at the same time. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint allow you and your collaborators to view, edit, and work on the document right inside of Microsoft Teams.  

Versioning is available for all your edited files saved onto OneDrive. From within Teams go to Files and click the ellipsis next to the file name. Choose Open in SharePoint. Once in SharePoint, click the ellipsis (…)  next to the file name and choose Version history. From this point you have the option to view or restore the file. 

Recycle Bin is accessed through SharePoint (the backend to Teams). When you delete files from Microsoft Teams, they are sent to a SharePoint site recycle bin for 93 days (about 3 months) or until they are emptied from the bin. Items in the recycle bin can be restored to their original location. If you have permission to the file, you can even restore files that have been deleted by another user.  

Restore Items: 

In Microsoft Teams, navigate to the Files area of the channel you need to work with. Select Open in SharePoint. If this button is not visible, select More (the ellipses … menu) > Open in SharePoint. Select Recycle Bin on the left side of the page.  


From the Recycle bin, select the files you need to restore and select Restore for the file to return to original location. 

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Article ID: 131068
Tue 3/30/21 3:56 PM
Fri 7/5/24 10:19 PM
Microsoft 365
Microsoft Teams