Tips for Working with the OneDrive App

Just like any other Windows 8.1 features and tools, OneDrive which is Microsoft’s own version of free cloud storage also has a modern app version which will take its use to the next level. PCs  which used to work with only the Desktop environment really found some serious makeover in the new Windows 8.1 operating system edition especially when the Metro environment with all of the modern apps that it contains has been introduced. PCs at present are now equipped with the desktop programs that you got used to plus the brand new modern style apps which are all accessible from a new mobile environment called the “Metro”.

This is really an awesome transformation especially when you think of how easy it is to add new functions and features to your Windows 8.1 machine with all these mobile apps but you’ll surely be happier when you find out that even OneDrive has a modern app equivalent which will let you manage, organize and add important files to your cloud storage easily on any Windows 8 or Windows 8.1-based device. In Windows 8, OneDrive still had to be installed but in the new Windows 8.1 system, this important tool comes built-in with the system so you won’t really need to install it. The steps and everything else that you need to learn about the OneDrive app are what we’ll be talking about in this tutorial.

How to Access the OneDrive App

As a Windows user, you surely have grown so familiar with how this operating system provides different ways in accessing a single feature, tool or location. In the case of the OneDrive app, you can access it directly from the Apps view screen or by using the search feature that is now perfectly integrated with the operating system itself. To do the former, you will need to access the Start Screen first either by clicking on the Start Button or by pressing the Windows Key. After doing so, you should be able to open the Start Screen and from here, just move the mouse until you see a round button with an arrow down icon in it that will appear at the bottom-left portion of the screen.


When you see the button that looks like the one highlighted on the screenshot above, you will need to click or tap on it in order to access the Apps view screen that lists all of the modern apps, tools and even some of the most important system locations in your computer and from here, just look for the OneDrive app shortcut as shown on the screenshot below and click or tap on it once you find it on your computer.


Now, we will try to locate the OneDive app using the second method which makes use of the Search feature. To do this, just press the Windows+S keys and you’ll be able to access the Search screen. From this screen, you should be able to see an input box where you need to enter the word “OneDrive”.


Right after entering the keyword, you should be able to see the search results that will appear just below the input box and from here, all you need to do is click on the one that says “OneDrive” which should be the very first item on the list that will appear as you can see on the screenshot above.

If you want to have an easier access to the OneDrive app, you can simply add or pin it to the Start Screen so it can have a tile in it just like all the other built-in modern style apps in your Windows 8.1 computer such as Mail, Photos, Videos and more. To do this, just access the OneDrive shortcut from the Apps view screen as I have shown above and once you find it, simply right-click on it and hit the option that says “Pin to Start”. You can also put a OneDrive thumbnail into the taskbar for a much easier access simply by clicking the other option that says “Pin to taskbar” as shown on the screenshot below.


Getting Familiar with OneDrive App’s Main Screen

Now, after you click on the OneDrive app’s shortcut which you were able to access using any of the methods that I illustrated above, you will be taken to its main screen where you can find a neatly laid out thumbnails which represents your OneDrive account contents. On the screenshot below, you will see some dark blue thumbnails which are labeled “Documents”, “Pictures” and “Public”. These thumbnails represent the default folders which should already be in your OneDrive account when you first open it.


All the other files that you have uploaded to your OneDrive account will look like the ones that you can see at the right of the dark blue thumbnails that you can see on the screenshot above. they will also be labeled according to the Office app that was used in creating them in the case of files.

Viewing Details About a File or Folder in OneDrive

While on the main screen of the OneDrive app, you can choose to view other details of the items that are listed in it such as folders and as well as the files that are saved outside of any folder which could include Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents as well as media files like pictures and video clips. To do this, just put the mouse pointer over the item that you want to know the details of and just wait until a white box that contains all the details appears as you can see on the screenshot below.


The available details include “Name”, “Type”, “Date modified”, “Size”, “Date created”, “Available offline” and in other cases especially for files that you have shared, the “Share” detail would also appear. This is relatively a shorter way of seeing all important details about certain files when compared to the quite lengthy process in doing it while you are on the desktop screen.

Switching Between Details and Thumbnails View

Still on the main screen of the OneDrive app, you can change how the items look like by simply clicking a single button that is available on the main screen itself. To do this, just bring the mouse pointer to the upper-right corner of the screen and from here, just click on the circular icon located to the left of the search icon. After clicking on it, you will notice that the items on the main screen will become smaller and show more details like date and size instead of just displaying the name of a folder or file. Click on the button again and the items will return to its previous appearance which are called thumbnails.


To switch between these views using your computer’s keyboard, you can simply press the “CTRL+Alt+1” keys. Above the “View” and the “Search” buttons at the top-right corner of the screen is a statement that tells you about the overall status of your files in OneDrive. On the screenshot above, you will see that the status of my OneDrive files says “All files are up to date”.

If in case you saved a new file into your OneDrive account, this status should say “Copying” or “Uploading” and the overall progress of the uploading process will also appear. Just wait until the file is finished uploading and after the process completes, you should see it right away on the main screen as a newly added file.


As you can see, working with the basics in the main screen of Windows 8.1’s OneDrive app is relatively easy and all of the tweaks and settings are also easily accessible from the main screen itself. In our next tutorial, we will be delving deeper into some other things that you can do inside the OneDrive app so be sure to read it so you can master everything that has to do with the OneDrive app which is bundled with every Windows 8.1 machine.