An additional file location in OneDrive for Business


With OneDrive for Business now having 1TB of space available, more and more people are looking to take advantage of it and reduce the amount of files they have stored locally. However, simply dumping everything from a server into OneDrive for Business is not generally good idea.

The major reason is that OneDrive for Business is a “special” SharePoint site that by default contains a single document library called Documents as you can see above. Now, a single document library has a number of limitations that you will find when you start pumping lots of data in there.

The first is the 5,000 view item limit. You can read about it here:

You can certainly have more than 5,000 items in library but above that limit you need to use views to limit the display to less than 5,000.

The second is that there is s 20,000 sync item limit. You can read about that here:

Thus, you can sync up to 20,000 items from your OneDrive for Business and up to 5,000 from other SharePoint document libraries.

Now it used to be that you could sync up to a maximum of 20,000 files per site collection with a limit of 5,000 per individual document library. I can’t find any mention of those specifics so I am going to assume that you can keep syncing as many additional document libraries you want provided they are below the 5,000 item limit.

Thus, I am going to assume you can sync:

20,000 items in OneDrive for Business

+ 5,000 items from Document library 1

+ 5,000 items from Document library 2

+ 5,000 items from Document library 3

and so on without a limit on the number of document libraries you can sync.

Another issue once you start getting a lot of files is that the OneDrive for Business desktop sync application does not allow you to select which files you wish to sync. Thus, you have no option but to sync the entire document library.

So how do you handle the situation when you exceed the 20,000 items in OneDrive for Business but still want to sync to your desktop? Here’ s an option that may work.

What you may not appreciate is that you can add additional document libraries to OneDrive for Business.


To do that access your OneDrive for Business and select the COG in the upper right corner. From the menu that appears select Add an app.


One of the apps you will see here is Document Library which you should select.

Some interesting points to note here is that there are only a limited set of apps that you can add, not like on a normal SharePoint Team Site. Secondly, you can however add apps from the SharePoint Online store!


Give your document library a name (here photos) and press the Create button.


You’ll now see that library has been added to the OneDrive for Business site. Select it to view its contents.


You should see the document library as normal as you can see. However, note that the library appears under the Newsfeed menu item on the top NOT the OneDrive item.


If you select OneDrive from the menu you are returned to the initial page and unfortunately there is no link on this page to the document library you just created. If you back to the Newsfeed page you will find it.

If you return to your newly created document library you can upload files to it as you normally can. You can also sync those files to your desktop using the sync client BUT is the limit of that 5,000 because it is an additional document library or is it 20,000 because this library is part of OneDrive for Business? I think it best to assume 5,000.

Unfortunately, from what I can see this newly create document library will not automatically appear on mobile devices using the OneDrive for Business mobile app. The only library that appears is the default Documents one.


Now if I sync this newly created document library to my desktop you’ll see that it doesn’t appear under OneDrive for Business it appears synced under the SharePoint document library area as shown above.

Therefore, although creating additional document libraries in OneDrive for Business can help you overcome what appears to be a 20,000 file limit and allow you to overcome the need to sync everything from a single document library, as you can see it still has limitations.

Getting Started With SharePoint Online Workflows


A very common question I see is ‘How do I create SharePoint Workflows?’. With that in mind I have written this new publication. You can purchase it at:

The book will show you how to implement your first workflows using SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Online. It is aimed at those who have never created a SharePoint workflow and are looking to get started.

The book does not provide a deep dive into SharePoint Designer, programming or SharePoint Online. It is merely designed to give you a basic understanding of how to create workflows so you can start building and publishing your own quickly.

However, here’s the publishing twist I’ve decided to try with this publication. If you purchase a copy and register you’ll receive any future editions of the book for free. Even better, if you provide feedback on what you’d like to see in the book I’ll give you a free copy of my other eBook Getting Started With SharePoint 2013. You can register and provide feedback at:

So why am I doing this? Well, once I started writing the book I began to wonder in which direction I should take it? Should there be more about the logic of workflows? More about the workflow creation tool? More about creating standard solutions? I just wasn’t sure what people would want to see in the publication but you can find the existing table of contents here:

Getting Started With SharePoint Online Workflows – Table of Contents

So, I decided to stop with just the basics and try to find out what people would like to see by making this ‘free editions for life’ offer.

I feel the book needs more content but I need people who aren’t experienced in workflows to tell me what makes sense in a title like this. I am just not sure what makes sense content-wise beyond what is already there.

Rest assured that if you do purchase the book and register, I’ll be updating it when I have enough content suggestions. You’ll then get the updated edition for free in recognition of your ongoing support.

So let’s see what happens with this little experiment.

Using Office 365 on demand

The problem with technology is that you get locked into a few ways of doing things and you don’t tend to explore outside your comfort zone. Sometimes it is also matter of not even knowing about some cool new feature.

Given that I spend most of my time using the same few machines everyday I really don’t have a huge need for installing Office on unfamiliar desktops. However, this Office on Demand feature is really very handy if you ever need to have the latest version of the full Office application on a desktop you are using.

Of course, you’ll need an Office 365 subscription that includes Office Pro Plus.


Navigate to your OneDrive via the menu at the top of the page.

At the bottom of the left hand side select USE OFFICE ON DEMAND.


You’ll then see a list of Office applications as shown above. Simply click on one of these. In this case I selected Excel.


Given that Office 2013 is not installed on the current machine and you haven’t used this feature before on this machine, you’ll be prompted to run a program stub as shown above. Allow this to Run.

This will install a small program that will now allow you to run the Office on demand at any time in the future.


After that has run, you’ll get a message that Office on Demand is ready to run. Select Close.


Return to the browser again and select the Office application you wish to use. Again in this case Excel was selected.


You should now see the application streaming to the desktop using the Click-to-Run technology.


In a few moments, that application will launch and you will be able to work on it as you would normally.


As you can see it is the full features version of Excel running side by side any other existing Office applications.


If you look up in the top right corner of the application you will see that you are not signed in as a user, so this instance doesn’t count against your 5 installation (because it is about to magically ‘disappear’!)


If you now close the Office application you are using you won’t find it installed anywhere on the desktop. So it is a totally ‘on demand’ version of the application as it says it is!


The only real trace that remains is a Microsoft Office on Demand Browser Add-on as you can see above from the Control Panel. This is what was installed the first time that you select the application from the browser. It means that if you return and select another application from the browser it will automatically stream down and open.

So Office on Demand is just one of the options you get with Office 365. Even if you don’t use them all make sure you appreciate all the flexibility that Office Pro Plus from Office 365 provides.

The other options you get with Office via Office 365 are:

– Full Suite install onto 5 desktops (Windows or Mac)

– Office Web Apps (or Office Online as it is called now)

– Office Mobile

All of these version are always up to date as well and cost a few dollars per month. Why would you still be using an old version of Office on just one desktop anyone? Beats me.

Creating a SharePoint Online site collection

After recently showing you how to delete a SharePoint Online site collection via the web console and PowerShell the next step is obviously to show you how to create a new site collection.

Via the Web console


Login to the Office 365 web console as an administrator. Then in the top right select the Admin menu option and SharePoint from the menu that appears.


This will take you to the SharePoint admin center as shown above. This will show you all the site collections you currently have. The SharePoint admin center is only available if you have a M or E plan. It is unfortunately not available if you have an Office 365 Small Business plan.


From the Ribbon Menu across the top of the page select New then Private Site Collection from the menu that appears.


This will open a new dialog window as shown above. Enter the following for your new site:

Title – What name will appear across the top of the home page.

Web Site Address – The URL suffix you want to use when navigating to the site. best practice is to keep this as short as possible and devoid of special characters.

Template Selection:

Language  – as required

Select a template – select from the options available along the tabs across the top. In most cases you will simply select Team Site under the Collaboration tab but you can select whatever template you wish including ones you have created yourself previously.

Scroll down for more options.


Adjust the Time Zone and set the site collection Administrator. Next set the amount of storage (in MB) you wish the new site to have in Storage Quota as well as the Server Resource Quota value.

When complete, press the OK button to create the new site collection.


You should now see in the top right corner of the screen a message letting your know that the site is being created as shown above.


You should also see the URL of the new site collection appear in the list with a green spinning animation at the end indicating that it is current being created.


Once the creation process is complete you will see the NEW icon displayed next to the hyperlinked URL.


You should now be able to navigate to the URL of the site as the site collection administrator you configured earlier. Don’t forget you may need to configure other users access to this new site if required.

Via PowerShell

You’ll need to connect to Office 365 PowerShell and SharePoint Online via PowerShell firstly.


Run the command:


to get a list of all the site templates that are available within your tenant.

Here we are going to use the Team Site template whose name is STS#0


Run the command:

new-sposite –url https://&lt;tenant-name> –owner <site collection admin email> –storagequota <size in MB> –resourcequota <server resources> –title “<site name>” –template <template>

In this case

new-sposite –url –owner –storagequota 5000 –resourcequota 30 –title “Demo2” –template STS#0


The PowerShell window will now pause until the site creation is complete. If you now look in the SharePoint admin center via the web console (refreshing the browser may be required), you should see the site being created as shown above.


After a few moments the site will be created as before and the PowerShell window will return to a prompt.


You can force the PowerShell script to return to the command prompt without waiting until the site collection is created by using the:


at the end of the creation line.


So there are the two methods of creating a new SharePoint Online site collection in M and E plans using both the web console and PowerShell.

Cloud Business Webinar


Nigel and myself will be doing another free ‘Ask Us’ Cloud Business webinar this Thursday the 17th of July from 12.30pm. In it we’ll give you an update of the most interesting things that are happening with cloud technologies and then we’ll throw the mike open for anyone to ask any question they want.

These are free events and you can register via:

We record all these ‘Ask Us’ webinars for our Cloud Business community but anyone is free to attend and ask any question they want. Recently, we have had some great questions around OneDrive for Business and Amazon cloud services. We usually find there is someone on the call who knows more about these services than us! That is whole idea of these webinars, to share knowledge and experience about the cloud quickly and easily.

If you have any interest with what is happening with cloud technologies then I encourage you to join us. I’d also encourage you to let others know what may also be interested.

I hope to see you on the webinar.

Deactivating an Office Pro Plus license

One of the big benefits of using an Office 365 subscription that includes Office Pro Plus is that you can install the Microsoft Office Desktop software on up to 5 devices, Macs or PCs.

This means you get the latest version of Office on your desktop, delivered typically via ‘click-to-run’ so it is always up to date.


So here we are using Outlook from Office Pro Plus via Office 365 on a desktop, with everything operating as expected.


One of the other great features that you may not know about is that if you return to the location in your web console where you actually installed the Office Pro Plus software from you can see all the machines that it is currently active on. This makes it easy to track how many installations you have implemented.


You may also notice in the list on the right you have the ability to Deactivate any instance. So what happens when you do this?


When you select the deactivate link you’ll be prompted to confirm that you do indeed want to deactivate this instance. You’ll be warned that the product on that desktop will go into ‘reduced functionality mode’. It won’t be uninstalled but you won’t be able to do things like save documents.

Select Yes to proceed.


You should then see a message indicating that the instance has been deactivated and it should no longer appear on the list of activated instances in the Office 365 console.


But what happens on the actual machine you have deactivated? Well, a certain amount of time later (not immediately) but within 12-24 hours, then time you go to use an Office application on that desktop you will receive the above message indicating that the product is deactivated.

If you wish to use the product again will all the features enabled you will need to sign to your Office 365 account or enter a product key.


if you instead cancel the dialog and proceed to use the Office application you will see a red activation banner across the top.


In any Office application you attempt to use. You will notice that all the Office applications now operate in ‘reduced functionality mode’ but they still operate and you can regain the full functionality by simply licensing them again.

The same thing will occur if the user account is deleted in Office 365 or the license from Office Pro Plus is removed for that user. This allows an Office 365 administrator to control exactly who is licensed for Office on the desktop from their tenant.

Changes to the Office 365 P and M plans

Microsoft has release a blog post:

That details some significant changes to the P and M plans. Basically they are being replaced by 3 simpler plans:

  • Office 365 Business – The full Office applications – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, with 1TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage to access, edit and share your documents across your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, Windows tablet and smartphone.
  • Office 365 Business Essentials – The core cloud services for running your business – business class email and calendaring, Office Online, online meetings, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage and file sharing and much more.
  • Office 365 Business Premium – Get everything from both the Office 365 Business and Business Essentials plans.

You can read the details in the post but here are my initial thoughts on what I have read:

– It is going to greatly simplify the options for businesses. Effectively now one plan with desktop Office, another with cloud services and the third with a combination of both.

– Effectively no more seat limitations. Experience indicates that customers initially select the cheapest current plan and get stuck with a 25 user hard limit as they grow. No more. These plans scale to 300 users.

– A smoother way to upgrade plans. It seems that moving from any of these three new plans to existing Enterprise plans will not be the rip and replace we see now if you need to upgrade from P to M or E.

– The ability to add other plans like Project, Visio,, etc that you used to be only able to add to Enterprise plans.

– Yammer will be available with any plan that includes cloud services (i.e. not the entry Business plan). This highlights Microsoft’s continuing focus on Yammer as an important tool for its cloud services. So, if you are not into Yammer yet you should be.

– AD federation with all plans. This to me indicates that Microsoft is focusing more on identity management and on premise integration. This is good because it is a point of differentiation for their service.

– The new plans are going to be cheaper than the existing plans. This will always be the trend with cloud services but it is good to see that you are effectively getting more features for less money.

– OneDrive for Business is become are much more important part of Microsoft’s plan going forward. It is really the way to bring SMB’s easily to the cloud. The plain Business offering gives them OneDrive with 1TB and Office on their desktop and devices. From there it is an easy step up to add more cloud services. Less friction, lower barrier to entry means an easier transition. However, what it does mean for many is that they need to learn more about what OneDrive can offer and how to manage and maintain the product.

– The only down side I see is that during the transition there will be some confusion around how the migration will happen, how to get the new features, when the new features will become available, etc. That is part of technology and has been the case before with Office 365. However, the end result is that it will be dimplier which is a great result. For people selling and supporting Office 365 it means a little more work to understand all this. 

So in conclusion after digesting all this and reflecting on it a bit I believe this is a very positive move for the product and bring it more into line with what people have been asking for (and who says Microsoft doesn’t listen?). I also think that it unlocks a huge amount of more features and abilities for SMBs who are currently on P and M plans that they eventually find limiting.

It is still early days for all this change but in short I like what I see and acknowledge the fact that Microsoft is will to make these major changes to the product offerings and that it is announcing these early in the piece. I’m sure I’ll have more to say as time goes along and we get more details but it is all very positive.

Deleting an Office 365 Site Collection using PowerShell

In the last post I showed you how to remove a complete Office 365 SharePoint Online site collection via the web interface. Now I’ll show you to do it with PowerShell.


This time I want to remove a site collection whose URL is You can see that it appears in the list of sites in the web interface.


You’ll need to connect to Office 365 PowerShell and SharePoint Online via PowerShell firstly.

Then you need to run the following command:

remove-sposite –identity –nowait

thus in my case:

remove-sposite –identity –nowait

You’ll then be prompted to confirm the deletion. Press Y to delete the site and send it to the recycle bin.


If you refresh the page with the list of site collections the deleted site collection no longer appears.


If you now got to the sites collection recycle bin you will see both sites that have been deleted. One via the web interface and the one just now via PowerShell.


PowerShell provides you an ability that the web interface doesn’t. You can delete the site from the recycle bin and remove it completely.

To do that you need to run the command:

remove-spodeletedsite –identity

thus in my case:

remove-spodeletedsite –identity

You need to confirm the permanent removal by pressing Y.


If you refresh the web page displaying the site collection recycle bin you will see that the site has been removed completely.


Since I don’t need the other site I deleted previously using the web interface I will use PowerShell again to remove it permanently.


If we check the site collection recycle bin in the web interface there are no more site collections in the recycle bin as expected.

PowerShell provides you with more options when it comes to managing Office 365 and that is why you should be using it if you aren’t already!