Offline Access with SharePoint Online Workspace - dummies

Offline Access with SharePoint Online Workspace

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

Microsoft SharePoint Workspace is the artist formerly known as Microsoft Office Groove, a desktop application geared for people who want to collaborate on documents online and offline. It comes bundled with Office 2010 and provides a user interface similar to Windows Explorer for viewing and editing files and lists from a SharePoint site.


SharePoint Workspace is easy to set up, provides immediate access to the latest version of documents in a library, and delivers a robust search functionality. You can perform basic SharePoint tasks, such as check documents in and out, copy links to files, drag and drop documents between folders (including folders from your local drive), quickly access the version history of a file, and much more!

Set up SharePoint Workspace

Synchronizing your SharePoint site with SharePoint Workspace is quick and easy. Follow these steps:

  1. From your SharePoint Online site, go to Site Actions→Sync To SharePoint Workspace.

  2. Click OK on the Sync to SharePoint Workspace window that opens.

    SharePoint Workspace starts syncing your site to a local cached copy on your hard drive.

  3. After the syncing is done, click the Open Workspace button for an Explorer-like view of your SharePoint site content.


SharePoint Workspace does not yet support SharePoint Online calendars, Wiki page, and Survey as of this book’s printing. A Gantt view of project task lists is not supported either. Also note that you can only open attachments to list items in read-only. Lastly, lists and libraries protected by Information Rights Management (IRM) will not display.

If you prefer to sync individual lists or libraries rather than the whole site, simply go to your list or library, click Library or List under Tools on the Ribbon, and then click the Sync to SharePoint Workspace button.


Synchronize documents libraries and lists

SharePoint Workspace provides two-way direct synchronization for your libraries and lists between your computer and your SharePoint site. Synchronization happens every 15 minutes, or at any time with a manual refresh.

To perform a manual sync, click the Sync menu and then click the green Sync button on the left.

If you need to free up storage on your hard drive and want to disconnect a list or library from SharePoint Workspace, simply click on the list or library, select Change Sync Settings from the Sync menu, then click Disconnect “[library or list]” from Server.

Clicking Sync Status from the Sync menu gives you more details of the sync status for your libraries and lists.