Microsoft Streamlines OneDrive's Cloud File Management UI

Organizing files on Microsoft's cloud storage service will soon get a little easier as the company rolls out new updates this month.

Microsoft cloud storage

OneDrive users will soon have more of a desktop-like file management experience on the service's Web-based client.

Microsoft is updating the OneDrive Web interface that should make keyboard and mouse users feel right at home. "We're adding a simple right-click menu to make it easier to access the most common actions you want to perform on your files such as edit, download, share, copy or move and delete," announced Reuben Krippner, director of product management for Microsoft OneDrive, in a blog post.

The Advanced menu item contains other actions like file version history. "We are also adding Move or Copy to the list of commands, making the process of moving files around your OneDrive simpler," Krippner added.

OneDrive's updated user interface (UI) isn't the first attempt of Microsoft to blur the line between cloud and PC software.

Over a series of updates, Microsoft has been stacking features onto the Office Online apps, free browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, which help to ease the transition between PC and cloud versions of the productivity software offerings. Last month, the company introduced new "Save As" options, allowing users to treat their OneDrive storage as they would their machines' hard drives.

Microsoft is taking a very mobile-inspired approach to how it displays recent files, however.

Instead of a list of file names, users will be presented with "a card layout of your recent files that provide you with a preview of the files plus some context around where the files are stored — this could be your files, files shared with you or files you are editing on team sites," said Krippner. The visual similarities to the company's own Office Delve app are intentional, he revealed.

Delve is a search and sharing app that displays Office 365 files and communications on cards, providing users a personalized and up-to-the-minute view of relevant content and activities based on their roles and relationships within an organization. "This user experience is in line with how files are displayed in Delve where you can search and discover files that may be relevant or important to you," Krippner said. "You can even access Delve straight from this recent files page."

The OneDrive Web client is also gaining smarter search capabilities. "Simply start by typing your search word and OneDrive will show files and folders that match your criteria regardless of whether they’re your files or files that have been shared with you by others," said Krippner.

Another minor tweak to folder sharing helps cut down on the time it takes for users to set up collaborative project folders, courtesy of a new Invite People option. "As you create a folder on OneDrive for Business you now have the option to invite people to that folder as it is created rather than going back and inviting people after the folder is created."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...