Understanding Files in Microsoft Teams

Files in Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive

Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft 365 and it is an application that has lots to offer.

File storage

One of the many features of Teams is file storage.

Saving files in Teams is very convenient because of these two main factors:

  • These files can be accessed from anywhere
  • These files can be accessed by anyone on that Team
You want to understand where these files in Teams are coming from and how they are really stored. You may be wondering if the Microsoft Teams app is actually storing your files. Teams does not physically store your files but instead gives you a connection or short-cut to where they are stored.

See comparison chart below to understand how files in Microsoft Teams are stored.

Comparing Files in Teams to OneDrive and SharePoint
Comparing Teams to OneDrive and SharePoint

Where do the files go?

As the Chart above shows, Teams looks like it saves files for you but in actuality the files are being stored somewhere else.

Teams is your Short-cut to Files

There are a 3 main places in Microsoft Teams that you can look to and find your files.  These 3 main places for files are Teams Channels, Teams Chats and Files.

Let’s look at the difference between these file areas in Microsoft Teams.

Teams Channel

When you are in a Teams Channel, Files are saved in a SharePoint Site.  These files are shared with everyone in that Teams Channel.

Teams Chat

When you are in a Chat, Files are saved in OneDrive (belonging to the person that uploaded the file).  These files are shared with everyone in that Teams Chat.

Teams Files button

When you are in the Files area (button on left side of Teams), you will see a lot of different sources for files.  What you see here is based on what you have worked on recently and what you have connected to your Teams app.

Cloud file storage systems/apps such as Dropbox or iCloud or Google Drive are not being shared with anyone on any Team.  They are for you only.

We have focused on 3 main places in Microsoft Teams that you can look to for your files but please note that you can create more locations for files if you wish. 

Planning is important

Working in Teams and saving information, does require a plan.

You want to know that what you save will be easily accessible by those that need the information.

But you also need to be thinking of the permissions that are granted in that environment (Teams vs SharePoint vs OneDrive). Each application comes with its own system of permissions.  

Create a shared filing system that makes sense for everyone involved.  Take the time to make it work right.

Video tutorial comparing Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive

Check out the video below where I explain the difference between Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive. This will help you understand files better, in each of these locations.

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