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A new feature in SharePoint 2013 has the ability to synchronize a library from SharePoint with your local computer for offline use. For example you're going to be on a train for awhile, the Internet connectivity isn't all that good. So, what you would like to do is grab this set of documents from the LIBRARY, and be able to take a copy on your laptop, use them on the train. And then when you arrive at your destination--you're in your hotel later tonight-- you can reconnect and synchronize all the changes that you've made back to this Library, that's how this works.
One of the libraries that you can sync is your SkyDrive. To synchronize your SkyDrive all you need to do is go to your SkyDrive and click SYNC. You will be asked do you want to switch from SharePoint to SkyDrive Pro. This is a little confusing, because Microsoft has named this SkyDrive your SharePoint SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro and it's also named the synchronization software SkyDrive Pro (Desktop) for the desktop, but we will say Yes.
Sync the a library 'Documents' from Gini Courter notice that it's going to put it under favorites in Windows Explorer, and it says it will save it here. I can choose a different place, a different location, if I wish, but this is fine, and I'm going to say Sync Now. The first time obviously it takes a little bit longer, because none of the documents are here yet. If it's a large library it can take quite a while. So, this is not an activity to reserve until you are packing your office and trying to get out the door. Do this a little earlier if you have a large library.
But here we go, we have SkyDrive Pro here in my Favorites and these are my documents: those that are Shared with Everyone and the Storage Guidelines that I had saved earlier in my SkyDive that's a private document. Let's return now to SharePoint, because I have some other documents that I'd like to take with me. This is the other document library that like to take, and it also has a SYNC button every library in SharePoint has a Sync button.
So, I'm going to click SYNC, "Did you mean to switch apps?" Yes I did. We will save the library here, this is the same place. I could create a folder for this, but there's really no need and SkyDrive Pro is synchronizing that document library with my laptop right here. Here they come, the last one is taking a little bit longer. I have almost all of my documents. There we go.
So, I have got my documents here, I'm ready to leave the office. I'm going to shutdown my laptop and we are going to see what this experience is when I'm offline. So, I need to edit the No Obstacles Story, the version we did in November of 2012. It needs a little cleanup; it was never really finished. So, I'm going to open this document in Microsoft Word. I am opening it from my local machine; this is a local copy. So, even if I'm normally prompted to approve opening documents from SharePoint I won't because it's right here.
Notice, that I have an alert that says this is an offline copy of the server document, it was last up-to-date on the 27th and at what time, and it shows me that this is an offline copy. So, what I'd like to do is: we have a few changes that we knew we wanted to make, and I could make other changes as well. All right and I'm ready to Save this document.
Notice on the Status bar it says that I have an UPLOAD PENDING, here's my alert and I'm now going to close this document, and there was an alert that said we have saved your changes, we have saved them locally and we are waiting till we reconnect to the server. I can go ahead and close Microsoft Word. Notice when I look at the icon for the No Obstacle Story they did it actually shows that it needs to refresh. So, I can easily tell which documents I've edited, and which ones I haven't.
I'm done with my work, I'm ready to close my computer, go to my hotel room, and connect to my SharePoint site once again. So as soon as I connect to my SharePoint server, SharePoint and SkyDrive Pro are automatically synchronizing this document. Notice that my changes have already been taken care of, there was nothing that I needed to do, I didn't have to restart Microsoft Word, I didn't even have to visit the SharePoint site. All I needed to do was to connect to SharePoint, SkyDrive Pro automatically synchronized.
So, this is how you can easily synchronize document libraries to your computer. If I wish I can synchronize this document library now, and synchronize a different document library later. It doesn't really matter which libraries I want to sync at a time, because any library I go to is going to give me the ability to synchronize to Microsoft SharePoint. I can synchronize up to 20,000 files and folders out of my SkyDrive using SkyDrive Pro, and another 5000 documents and folders in document libraries.
No Library can exceed more than 2 GB, or it won't all download. So, I might want to unsynchronize a library and in order to do that I actually need to go out to Windows and in my system tray; I'll see this icon for this SkyDrive Pro. I can right-click and choose Stop Syncing a Folder and say for example, I no longer want to Sync SkyDrive Pro, it says this will permanently stop syncing it, I'll say, "Yes," and that's just fine and the next synchronization I'll no longer be synchronizing SkyDrive Pro.
Now you might be wondering at this point: "Didn't I actually have this functionality in SharePoint 2010? As a matter of fact, didn't I have it with Office 2007? Wasn't it a cool synchronization application called Groove? And then it was renamed SharePoint Workspace in Office 2010." And the answer would be yes and SharePoint Workspace has been replaced with SharePoint Pro on the desktop. Some of us aren't going to be excited about that because in fact Groove and then SharePoint Workspace offered us some capability that SkyDrive Pro doesn't replace.
With Groove I had the ability to work with folks who weren't on my SharePoint server, who weren't even on my network. And I took those applications that I had in Groove and used them in SharePoint Workspace. So, for example we had groups of folks doing disaster response, who were able to Share Information with Groove or with SharePoint Workspace and that's not here with SkyDrive Pro. Additionally in SharePoint Workspace, I had the ability to synchronize not just libraries but lists, and that's gone too. My strategy for those will probably be to turn to Excel in order to synchronize list.
And if you wish to continue running SharePoint Workspace, you will want to be attentive to how you uninstall the rest of Office 2010. You'll find help for this online. Whether or not you use SharePoint Workspace and whether or not you've ever wanted to synchronize your work efforts with folks outside of your organization. I think you'll find a lot of power with SkyDrive Pro and its ability to take files and folders offline. And its ability to allow you to work with the same set of folders and files, no matter what computer you log in on.
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