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OneDrive's new people-focused design is coming to all Windows users

OneDrive Meetings interfaceImage: Microsoft

Any files you have stored in OneDrive or other cloud services are probably organized by file and name so you know where they are. But in the workplace, all bets are off. A new OneDrive for the web UI feature helps solve that problem.

OneDrive’s new feature allows you to organize files by people, not just file name. You can also organize them by meeting, too—even upcoming meetings that haven’t happened yet. Microsoft added this new UI refresh in 2023, but said this week that consumers will see it as well by the end of February 2024. (This update applies to the OneDrive app for Windows, not File Explorer.)

Those are two solid improvements to the OneDrive UI. If you’re the type of person who can mentally categorize files across multiple workgroups, good for you. Sometimes that means navigating through threads and chat rooms to find the relevant file, whether they’ve ben bookmarked or pinned or not. What OneDrive is proposing is simply skipping all that.

Perhaps you’re supposed to be working with a coworker or two on a specific proposal—which may have been shunted off into separate drafts. OneDrive’s new Meetings view will automatically organize those files, whether it be in the context of a specific past or upcoming meeting, or just the coworker(s) that are involved.

Microsoft

Note that OneDrive isn’t moving away from its traditional file-first organization scheme—if you want to organize your shared and personal files like that, you can. OneDrive is also adding filtering by file type and little touches like the ability to color-code your folders, too. Naturally, you’ll be able to filter by file type as well.

Microsoft has also tweaked the “add new” button, to make it create a new Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote or Forms document and offer the option to upload it to OneDrive. Combining that functionality may be a little confusing.

Microsoft

Microsoft also plans to use AI to make additional file recommendations “coming soon” as part of the “For You” section of the OneDrive home page. Though AI gets all the headlines these days, it honestly feels like organizing files by person and meeting is well on its way to helping you find what you need. (Maybe Projects can be the next addition?) OneDrive’s new schema seems like a smart addition already.

This story has been updated on Feb. 1, 2024 to note that these new changes are being offered to consumers, as well as schools and businesses.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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