SharePoint and Office 2013 Offline and Online Sync using SkyDrive Pro


The new Office 2013 with its myriad of features is making news among the cloud service customers. After all, Microsoft is one big giant company which watches every move of all new technology trends and patiently puts those tweaks in its armory of Office suites. It has done a similar move after watching iCloud and Google Docs when it comes to SharePoint and Office sync capabilities.

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Your company has installed a new SharePoint environment to collaborate document libraries with other employees and for information gathering of the latest company updates. The new document management features clubbed with Version Control puts an end to the “longest file naming convention” for eg. Sridevi_Annual_Budget_Report_12_12_12_v.4.xls!

All is well, but only when you have decided to fly to NewYork and would like to download few Office documents ( like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote etc) for offline use and re-sync with SharePoint when you are back to the online office world. SharePoint 2010 does many things amazingly but falls short in a few things like offline content synchronization. Though the same can be achieved through round about methods, but the technique isn’t without flaws and redundancy.

Welcome Microsoft SharePoint 2013, Office 2013 and SkyDrive Pro. It looks like Microsoft heard its customers and observing the trends and has come up with simple offline sync function. Microsoft has now fully integrated the sync functionality of SkyDrive with SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013.

How the Sync Works with SkyDrive, SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 ?

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If you have a SharePoint site and would like to download a Office document from the document library to your laptop/pc/workstation for offline use, all you need to do is click the “SYNC” button present on the top right hand corner of SharePoint 2013 sites.

sync_feature_sharepoint_2013_sites

[Image Source : wellytonian.com]

After clicking “SYNC” if you get an error message it means that Office 2013 is not installed on the device you are using the sync option. Once you are on a laptop/workstation/pc with Office 2013 installed you will receive a message asking you to “Sync the library …” and also saying that “You’ll find your documents under Favorites in Windows Explorer” etc. All you need to do is click the “Sync Now” button.

After a couple of progress bars, you will see your document in SharePoint Libraries under Favorites. You will also see a “green tick mark”  on the document/file indicating that its in sync with SharePoint and workstation. You will also see a “Sync Manager” icon in the system tray.

SharePoint_libraries_Office_2013

In this way, after you have edited your documents offline and connected to SharePoint back online in your office your documents will be in sync. You can also create folders/files/documents under SharePoint Libraries and when you are connected online, this will be in sync with SharePoint 2013. This happens automatically as soon as you are connected to the internet. You can also manually apply “Sync now” option if something happens wrong.

sync_management_options

As you can see you also have different option with “Sync Document Manager” present in the system tray. You can get this options by right-clicking the icon. You can do several things like:

    • Open SharePoint folder
    • Sync a new library
    • Sync now
    • Pause syncing
    • Stop syncing a folder etc.
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This shows how simple is to do offline content sync with SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 and SkyDrive Pro. Most probably during the buffer phase, the documents are uploaded to SkyDrive and then synced with SharePoint and vice versa.

SharePoint and Office 2013 Offline and Online Sync using SkyDrive Pro
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5 comments… add one
  • James Simon

    How does this affect check in / checkout for documents? If I open a file through the Sync’ed folder, does it check it out?

    • @James: Office 2013 has a new feature of saving to SkyDrive Pro. So when you click on “Save” it automatically checks out. This is my presumption.

  • Developers can also create apps for Office in a web-based environment hosted in Office.

  • AAscensi

    How to share a SharePoint List with Office 2013 & Skydrive Pro ?

    • @4ff59649dd73b68778a0c7063d721bec:disqus : I’ll try to post an article on SharePoint lists soon …Try Lynda’s tutorials if you can find an answer!

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Meet the Author

Palla Sridhar

I love being a Microsoft enthusiast and Tech lover. I Completed my M.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur, INDIA. My interests include Blogging, Surfing, Cricket, Books and Social Networking. I find solutions to problems on Windows, Outlook and Office.