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Using Microsoft OneDrive

Office 365 and OneDrive Overview

GNTC uses Microsoft Office 365 (i.e. O365) to provide web-based student email and document management, which includes the standard Office applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook (Mail), and OneNote, as well as other apps/services, such as OneDrive for Business.  You will see these apps when you sign in to the Microsoft Online portal.  Login credentials will be your GNTC student or faculty/staff account.  If you also have a personal O365 account, do not use it as you will be limited in storage and functionality.

It is important to note that online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., do not include all of the functionality that is present in the locally installed version of Office.  For this reason, GNTC lab computers and Horizon VDI desktop environments will continue to have the latest Office Suite of products locally installed, ensuring complete functionality, and providing the best match for lab exercises found in computer courseware textbooks. 

Please do not attempt to install the Office applications from O365 on any GNTC computer, even though there is a button in O365 for doing so; doing this will create unnecessary bottlenecks and slowness issues as Office will already be installed by the GNTC Technology Services Department.

OneDrive vs. OneDrive for Business

Microsoft defines “OneDrive” as meaning someone’s personal OneDrive storage.  It is free and is not associated with GNTC student or faculty/staff storage. 

College or Corporate cloud storage is now termed “OneDrive for Business” and is licensed by the business or college.  GNTC provides this free to all students and employees.  It is associated with your GNTC student or faculty/staff account.  OneDrive for Business provides up to 1TeraByte of Microsoft cloud-based storage for every GNTC student and employee.

So…the bottom line is that OneDrive and OneDrive For Business are two different things, however, they are often referred to by Microsoft as simply “OneDrive”.  It’s very confusing for all of us!  Thanks, Microsoft.

From this point forward in this document, OneDrive For Business is going to be simply referred to as OneDrive to make it consistent with Microsoft icons/verbiage.

OneDrive Access from Lab Computers or Horizon VDI Desktops

Because data is not retained on lab computers, we strongly encourage all GNTC students to store their documents in OneDrive, where they are readily accessible from any location with Internet access.

Each Student Lab Computer or Horizon VDI Desktop Environment will have a shortcut on the desktop to provide direct access to your OneDrive cloud storage after providing your GNTC student or faculty/staff credentials.  You can also access OneDrive with the O365 Login link.

OneDrive Basics

When OneDrive opens, you should see a list of your files (if any have been uploaded), along with the navigation pane on the left side and a toolbar at the top.  Notice that the toolbar options change depending on what you have selected in the navigation pane or file list.  For example, without any files selected/checked, you only have three options on the toolbar as follows:

OneDrive Screenshot

You can play with OneDrive to explore options, but there are 2 techniques that we strongly recommend for saving your work.  They are:

  1. Save your files to the desktop, then drag-and-drop them to the OneDrive storage window to save to the OneDrive cloud.   Or,
  2. Save your files directly to OneDrive from Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
    Be aware that when saving to OneDrive using this technique, when you go to Save As, and choose Add a Place, you MUST choose MS SharePoint.  I know, I know… it’s totally counter-intuitive, but that’s the way Microsoft distinguishes between personal OneDrive, and OneDrive For Business.

When working with existing files on OneDrive, you can either:

  1. Download them to the desktop, then double-click the file on the desktop to edit using the full-featured Office product.  Or,
  2. Open the Office Product, then open the file directly from the OneDrive location.

Be aware that when opening from OneDrive using this technique, when you go to Open, and choose Add a Place, you MUST choose MS SharePoint.  I know, I know… it’s totally counter-intuitive, but that’s the way Microsoft distinguishes between personal OneDrive, and OneDrive For Business.

Important:  Although OneDrive allows you the option to Sync local documents with OneDrive, you should never enable or use syncing from any student lab PC or VDI Horizon desktop.  This will create performance issues and will require that the PC or VDI Horizon desktop be reset and possibly cause unanticipated results.

Note: If you click the file name from OneDrive, the document will open in the web version of the associated app, such as Word online.  There you can choose to edit, print, share, and perform other actions on the document.  But, this web app does not have the full functionality of the locally installed Microsoft Office applications.