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What is OneDrive – The Complete Guide

Person using a laptop showing a spreadsheet

Microsoft OneDrive allows users to save files across different devices as well as share files with access levels that determine how much the other person can see and what they can edit. You can even determine how long the file will be available to other users. Not many know about the capabilities and benefits of this platform. Well, this Microsoft OneDrive review will provide all the information you need:

What is OneDrive?

Put simply, OneDrive is cloud storage provided by Microsoft. Everyone with a Microsoft account has access to OneDrive. You can choose to sign up for any of the OneDrive limits which entitle you to 5GB of free storage. Alternatively, as a subscriber to Microsoft 365, you will get 1TB of data storage.

This would interest enterprises with a need for large data storage space.

Now, while OneDrive is indeed a cloud storage platform, it can also serve as more than just that once you understand what’s Microsoft OneDrive account. Some organizations use it as a storage space for their document management systems or have it as a backup for important files and so much more.

For instance, Windward Hub connects with OneDrive: So you can automatically upload the documents into OneDrive once they are created in Hub. We shall consider the uses of this platform later on.

Do You Need it?

Does the idea of having extra storage for all your devices sound like something you may be interested in? Well, if the answer is yes then you probably need to sign up for this cloud storage. Any individual or organization that constantly has to deal with files will find themselves in a situation where space may be running out. An extra 5GB, 100GB, or 1TB would obviously solve the problem.

But it is even more than just extra storage. If you run a modern business, then you have a couple of devices that you use to access, edit and manage documents. It’s important to know how to use OneDrive for business. You can be more effective if you can sync all these devices so that you have access to the documents on any device without having to send it as an email or carrying a flash with you.

If you are an individual or an organization that would like to achieve better efficiency with your documents with minimal spending then you do need to setup OneDrive as soon as possible. the benefits of using the platform could effectively convince you of that.

Benefits of OneDrive

Saying that it is cloud storage should already give you an idea of the possible benefits. However, OneDrive also has unique benefits as a result of its features and the manufacturers added treats for the user. The following are some of the benefits you can enjoy once you get OneDrive setup.

Free Storage

We all love to see the word ‘free’ for something valuable and Microsoft is aware of that. OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage. If you are looking for extra space to store particular documents, then this would be sufficient. This free space also helps you sync devices. You can also get 1TB free if you subscribe to Microsoft 365. Now that is something any organization would be interested in. Alternatively, you can recommend the platform to a friend and get rewarded with extra space up to 15GB depending on the number of people you entice to use the service.

Reliable Uptime

Since 2015, OneDrive has been available round the clock. A company like Microsoft can be relied on to have their servers running all the time. They have a fault tolerance that guarantees that if one server is down, the OneDrive backup will kick in. For the end-user, this means you will not worry that you try to access your data and find the server is down. Putting this in numbers, we can say you will have 99.97% uptime when you use this cloud storage.

Flexible Sharing with Encrypted Security

One of the ways organizations use OneDrive is for sharing files. This could be as they collaborate on documents or even provide customers with information. The share options are flexible so that administrators can determine just how much access other users have to documents stored on the drive. Administrators can set privileges that members of the organization can give external users which ensures sensitive information is not shared with the wrong people. Document access can also be timed and once the period elapses, the access to the document is restricted again. Files within the cloud storage are encrypted as well to prevent man in the middle attacks. Overall, users can be sure that data saved on this platform is safe and Microsoft continues to improve the safety of data whether stored or shared.

Easy File Accessibility

OneDrive will sync with any of your devices right from your Smartphone to desktop and everything in between. It is also compatible with android and IOS devices. For the modern worker who works on the go, you can have your files with you all the time and yet not fill the weight of all those documents since everything is in the cloud. Despite the all-round accessibility, you do not have to worry about running your bandwidth dry as a result of constant syncing and updating of files. You can set your device to pause syncing when you are using metered connection and it will only sync when you connect to Wi-Fi. This can be automated so you just go on with your work without having to go to settings all the time.

Another accessibility benefit is the ease with which you can find files within OneDrive. The software uses intelligent algorithms to suggest files based on your interaction with other users. You can also automate the process of accessing certain files by integrating with other Apps.

Efficient Document Management

When collaborating with other users on a document, you do not have to worry about several versions of the same document. OneDrive will manage your documents and add changes to the same document with indications that a document has been edited and what changes have been made. For an organization that encourages working from home, this is a benefit they will appreciate.

OneDrive Features to Take Note of:

Like most cloud storage platforms, OneDrive has a plethora of features. We can’t get into all of them right now, but there are key features that can help a user understand how useful it can be for both small and big businesses. Those are the features we will talk about briefly here.

Files

This is a feature in just about any cloud storage platform. Here, you can store all your private files and manage them as well. Although it doesn't seem like a spectacular feature, it is probably the most important as it provides the storage that you need and then you can proceed to do anything else.

Search Box

Another simple yet important feature. The search box like any other search box helps the user find files fast. By simply typing the name of a file, it will search the files within your library as well as other files that you may have access to.

Shared Libraries

Here is where all the files that you have shared and have been shared with you can be found. You may have received an email attachment, but you do not have to go back to the email and search for the file. You simply go to this library and in the search box, type the name of the file and it will be retrieved. The shared library is also where you can store documents that you are collaborating on with other team members.

Recycle Bin

No surprise here that Microsoft included a recycle bin just like you would have on your desktop. The recycle bin is where deleted files are stored just in case you may want to restore them, maybe because they were deleted by mistake. You however should note that files are stored here for 93 days before they are automatically deleted permanently. This ensures the bin doesn't get full.

File Restore

This is a bit similar to recycle bin but it is mainly about reversing an action that may have been applied to a document. If something goes wrong with your file, you can simply restore it to a state it was previously. You can restore a file to a state it was 30 days ago.

Live Collaboration

With OneDrive, you can collaborate in real-time with team members using any Microsoft tool and many more document tools. Coauthoring is made possible by this tool with a single version of the document maintained.

Data Encryption

This is a very important feature. With all the sharing and collaboration going on, you do not have to worry that unauthorized persons may gain access to important data. All the data is encrypted and only decoded when it gets to authorized persons.

Files On-Demand

With this, a user can view files without having to download them. File Explorer gives the user access to a file that they can read through on OneDrive.

App Integration

With thousands of apps being used today, it is great that a business tool like OneDrive includes integration with several apps. You can transfer documents from one app to another or even connect them so that you have automated workflows.

For instance, through Zapier you can connect Windward Hub to OneDrive to automatically upload the generated documents. Know more about this integration here.

As mentioned earlier, there are several features that you can get to know as you use the platform. These are just a few key features that can probably whet your appetite.

How to Use OneDrive?

It is simple to use OneDrive if you have been using any file storage tool. The first part though is to get an account. If you are already signed up for Microsoft, then you also have a OneDrive account that you just do not use. The same applies to people with Outlook email accounts. If the above applies to you, then you simply need to login into your account and then click on the icon for OneDrive.

For a user who doesn't have an account, it is simple to signup.

OneDrive Personal Vault: This is a key feature you might find very helpful. The vault is a secure personal space where you can keep files under lock and key- or password.

Once you have set up, you can then determine how you would like to use your account. Some things you can do include:

It is recommended that you start with the free version that gives you 5GB of storage as you get used to the different features and then expand when you are sure it is the right cloud storage option for your needs.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Try Windward Hub now - get your 14-day free trial and start creating documents like a pro and automatically upload them into OneDrive.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel
Windward © 2021 All Rights Reserved.

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