Published February 2024

You’d be forgiven for thinking that SharePoint Online and OneDrive are the same – after all, they both store files, right? Well yes, but they should be used in different ways. In this blog we break down the key differences, so you know when to use one vs the other.

SharePoint Online vs OneDrive overview

Ok let’s start with the basics, SharePoint Online and OneDrive are both Microsoft cloud-based services that allow you to store, share, and collaborate on files and documents but let’s look into them a little more closely…

SharePoint Online

  • SharePoint Online is a Microsoft web-based platform that enables you to create and manage sites, libraries, lists, and apps for your team or organisation. You can use SharePoint Online to store, organise, and access files and documents from any device and any location and you can also use SharePoint Online to create workflows, forms, dashboards, and other business solutions.
  • SharePoint Online also provides the content services for all files in Microsoft 365, including files you work with in Teams, Viva Engage, and Outlook. So whilst you might think you don’t need SharePoint Online, it’s always there in the background helping manage and protect your files, and powering content collaboration across Microsoft 365.


  • OneDrive is a personal Microsoft cloud storage service that allows you to sync and access your files and documents across your devices including web, mobile, and the desktop of your Windows PC or Mac. You can use OneDrive to store your personal files and documents, as well as files and documents that you want to share with others.

Both SharePoint Online and OneDrive store your files in the cloud and you can sync them to your computer for easy access whether you’re using them for personal pr professional use. With the right permissions, you can also share links directly with others and collaborate on files and documents with others in real time.

How are SharePoint Online and OneDrive different?

If SharePoint Online and OneDrive were the same, we wouldn’t need them both. Below are the key differences:

  • SharePoint Online is designed for teams and organisations, while OneDrive is designed for individuals.
  • SharePoint Online allows you to create and customise sites (like your intranet), libraries, lists, and apps, while OneDrive only allows you to create folders and files.
  • SharePoint Online has more advanced features and functionalities, such as workflows, forms, dashboards, and metadata, while OneDrive has more basic features and functionalities, such as file sharing, syncing, and versioning.
  • SharePoint Online requires a Microsoft 365 subscription, while OneDrive offers a free plan with limited storage and features.
SharePoint Online vs OneDrive

How are SharePoint Online and OneDrive similar?

However, like any pair of siblings, SharePoint Online and OneDrive also have some similarities:

  • They are both cloud-based Microsoft services that allow you to store, share, and collaborate on files and documents.
  • They are both integrated with Microsoft 365 apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams.
  • They both offer security and compliance features, such as encryption, backup, and retention policies.
  • They both support offline access and mobile apps.
SharePoint Online vs OneDrive

Like what you see?

It’s really important to get the basics right, especially when dealing with sensitive information that needs to be stored properly with the right permissions. Does your team know which tool to use and when? If not, we can help with that.

Our Transformation & Change practice are experts in helping people adopt technology using best practices – after all we are specialists in creating <people> friendly technology. Using our Prepaid Change Support service, we can tailor a set of activities to ensure your organisation is getting the most from your M365 investment and always using the right tool for the job.

Examples of the activities include are:

  • Microsoft 365 app & channel discovery session
  • 2 focus groups
  • A ‘Which tool when’ handy guide
  • A ‘Which channel when’ handy guide
  • An adoption roadmap
Get in touch

About the author

Jack Hendy is a principal change and adoption consultant at Engage Squared. He has been helping people fall in love with technology for over six years in two hemispheres. He enjoys telling stories that change mindsets, playing golf and laughing raucously.

Ready to get started with SharePoint Online and/or OneDrive?