How Do You Access Files When They Are Stored in Microsoft Teams Using the Teams App?

In my last couple of blogs, I described Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint and gave use cases of why a company might decide to migrate their on-premises file share data to one or both of those as targets. In this blog, I’ll discuss how users will actually access files as well as consume and create new data when it exists in Microsoft Teams.

There are a few ways to get to the files in Teams.

Using the Teams Client

The person working on a file would need to navigate to the Team, Channel, files tab, and then find the folder of where the file is. The user could then view the file right inside of Teams. The list of compatible file types keeps growing and is now in the hundreds.

If the file type is that of a Microsoft Office for the web (think your typical Office suite of products like Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Visio), then the user can edit the file as well, right from inside the Teams client.

Teams will use the corresponding application designed for the web, such as Microsoft Word for the web or Microsoft Excel for the web. For basic edits and changes to Office documents, the Office for the web version of these applications works great and doesn’t require the Microsoft Office Suite to be installed locally on the computer. This allows users with a more basic type of license, such as an E1, to do all of their data consumption without having Microsoft Office installed on their computer.

If the Microsoft Office Suite is installed on the computer, the option exists when viewing the document in Teams to open the file in the desktop app instead. There is no need to copy the file to the local computer, save it, and copy it back to the cloud location. Rather, the process seamlessly opens the same document in the installed app directly from its location in the Teams library.

There are differences between the Office for the web version and the desktop app. See below for links with more information from Microsoft:

Using the “Open in SharePoint” Option

Using Teams and the Office for the web versions of the Office apps from within the Teams app itself allows you to do most of the basic needs for data consumption. However, when there is a need to manage the files and folders in the Teams library, currently using only the Teams app isn’t always the easiest.

Limited management does exist from just the Teams client, such as dragging a file that is on the local computer and dropping it into the library to upload it. However, once a file is there, it cannot be dragged into a different folder the way a user would expect to be able to do as they always have been from their local File and Folder Explorer on their local machine. There is the option to select files or folders and move them, but for a better experience, there exists the “Open in SharePoint” button.

When navigated to a file or folder in a Teams library from the Files tab, there is the “Open in SharePoint” button. Clicking this button will launch your browser directly to the folder location within the Teams Library. From here, you have more options for managing the files, such as:

  • dragging and dropping existing files and folders from one location to another within the same library;
  • moving or copying files and folders from this Teams library to a SharePoint library;
  • setting an alert to receive an email when a change happens in this Teams library, including
    • a new item created,
    • an existing item edited, and
    • an existing item deleted.

Cloud vs. File Explorer

These two experiences of opening files from the Teams app or opening in SharePoint certainly differ from what users are accustomed to doing when navigating in File Explorer. However, with a bit of training and experience, it is the preferred way to consume the data in the Microsoft cloud.

Be sure to check out the other posts in this Teams/SharePoint series:

Have any questions about how to access files in Teams using Teams or SharePoint? Please contact one of our experts at any time!

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