How to open files from SharePoint Online in OneDrive Mobile App

Author: Sebastian Riesner, Published: 1/23/2019 2:36 PM

It is not so obvious, but you can open files directly from SharePoint Online in your OneDrive iOS/Windows/Android on your mobile device.

For the matter of this How-To, I've created a Testsite in my SharePoint Online account. It contains a library "Documents" with a PDF- and a Word-file.

The SharePoint Testsite library
The SharePoint Testsite library

Open the app on your mobile device. If you have a smartphone, there should be menu at the bottom of the screen. On tablets it's on the left side. Tap the "Sites"-icon. You should see the sites, you're following, respectively the sites, you've recently visited. If your site is not showing up, open the site in a browser and click the "Follow"-icon in the top right corner of the page.

The "Follow"-icon on the SharePoint site
The "Follow"-icon on the SharePoint site

If your site is showing up, tap it and you'll get a list of it's library. In our case it's only the "Documents"-library. Tapping your library will lead you to it's contents, where you can open the designated file.

The site libraries.
The site libraries.
The files in the SharePoint library.
The files in the SharePoint library.

In our case, we open the PDF-file and make some annotations to it, which is possible in the OneDrive app. After finishing the work, the file will be saved back to the library. In the library view, you have also the possibility to add new files. A nice feature of the OneDrive App is, that you can take a photo of a physical document and it will be converted to an indexable PDF-document.

You can also sync the files to your device, edit them offline and push them back to SharePoint, when you're online again

A nice thing is also, that PDF-files get indexed and can be found via the OneDrive search. To search for documents, tap the Loupe-icon in the top right corner and enter a search term.

But there is also a disadvantage: If the library has additional data fields (e.g. a column for invoice-numbers), there is no possibility to add the data to the file in the app - this is especially annoying, when you add new files to a library. You have to open a browser and enter the data afterwards.