Read time: 5 minutes

Summary: SharePoint Online offers five ways to access documents: via the SharePoint site, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive for Business, File Explorer, and mobile apps. Each method has its pros and cons, providing flexibility for users’ needs. The Kernel Migration for SharePoint is recommended for specific migration requirements.

As organizations increasingly migrate their operations to cloud-based environments, SharePoint Online has emerged as a crucial asset for document management and collaborative efforts. Its robust functionalities and effortless compatibility with Microsoft Office make it a logical choice, and it’s no wonder that an expanding number of businesses are transitioning from traditional on-premises storage solutions to embrace SharePoint Online.

With numerous options available for accessing your documents, determining the most suitable method for your specific requirements can be perplexing. In this discussion, we will delve into the top five methods for accessing documents within SharePoint Online. By the conclusion, you will possess a clearer comprehension of how to retrieve documents stored in SharePoint Online and the ability to select the most appropriate approach for your organization.

How Do I Access SharePoint Documents? (Best Approaches for You)

Utilizing the diverse functionalities of SharePoint Online enables users to enhance collaboration, regardless of their location. Below, we provide a brief overview of five distinct methods for accessing documents within SharePoint Online.

  1. SharePoint Site
    The simplest method to reach documents in SharePoint Online involves navigating directly to the SharePoint site. Once you’ve arrived at the site, you’ll have access to your documents, along with various other features and settings at your disposal. This approach is well-suited for individuals seeking swift access or modification of a document. However, it necessitates an internet connection and a degree of proficiency with SharePoint’s web user interface. SharePoint Site

    • Access to all documents and files in one centralized location.
    • Easy collaboration with other users and teams.


    • Steep learning curve to navigate and use the site effectively.
    • Limited access to content when not connected to the internet.
  2. Microsoft Teams
    When collaborating with your team using Microsoft Teams, you have the convenience of accessing your SharePoint document library directly within the Teams interface. To do this, just go to the Files tab within a Microsoft Teams channel and click on the SharePoint link. This approach is particularly advantageous when you want to work seamlessly in the Microsoft Teams environment or engage in real-time document collaboration with your team.Microsoft Teams

    • Seamless integration with SharePoint provides effortless document access.
    • Incorporated chat and collaboration functionalities to facilitate rapid communication.


    • Extra training might be necessary for team members who are not acquainted with the platform.
    • Insufficient customization options for individual teams.
  3. OneDrive for Business
    OneDrive for Business serves as a valuable tool for accessing your files within SharePoint Online. Through the OneDrive for Business interface, you have the capability to retrieve all the documents stored on a SharePoint site. This tool simplifies the management of all your synchronized documents, consolidating them into one convenient location, irrespective of whether they are hosted on SharePoint or OneDrive.OneDrive for Business

    • Facilitating synchronization with your desktop folders for convenient file accessibility.
    • Easy SharePoint document management from anywhere with internet connection.


    • May take up significant space on the computer if all files are synced.
    • Fewer collaboration features compared to SharePoint and Teams.
  4. File Explorer
    File Explorer serves as the built-in file management tool for Windows, offering a convenient way to oversee your device’s files and folders. You can employ the Sync feature to efficiently store SharePoint files on your computer’s local hard drive. To initiate Sync, navigate to your SharePoint document library, locate the Sync button, and then follow the provided instructions. After completing the synchronization process, your files will be accessible within the SharePoint folder in your device’s File Explorer. This approach enables seamless offline work on your files, with automatic synchronization to the SharePoint document library occurring the moment you reconnect online.File Explorer

    • Simple access to documents through familiar file explorer interface.
    • Offline access to synced files.


    • Only synced and accessible documents are viewable.
    • May require IT support for initial setup.
  5. OneDrive & SharePoint Mobile Apps
    You can access OneDrive and SharePoint Mobile Apps on both Android and iOS devices, enabling you to conveniently work with and access documents in SharePoint Online while you’re on the move. You can easily view documents, add comments, share files with team members & carry out your SharePoint migration plans too. These mobile apps also offer an efficient search function, making it easy to find the document you’re looking for.OneDrive and SharePoint Mobile Apps

    • Accessible from anywhere with mobile devices.
    • Lightweight and user-friendly interface.


    • Limited functionality compared to desktop versions.
    • May require multiple apps for full access to documents.

The Bottomline

SharePoint Online offers a variety of straightforward and effective methods for accessing your documents. With the five methods mentioned earlier, SharePoint users have a multitude of choices tailored to their preferences. Whether you’re on the move and prefer to utilize the OneDrive & SharePoint Mobile Apps or opt for a more conventional approach using SharePoint Site, there’s an option suitable for everyone. Moreover, if you have any specific requirements in relation to SharePoint migration then the Kernel Migration for SharePoint tool is an excellent choice. Overall, when it comes to accessing SharePoint documents and maintaining organization, resources like these offer valuable guidance for teams responsible for managing and utilizing the platform.

Kernel Migration for SharePoint