Saving Office 365 & Dropbox

Office 365 users can link to Dropbox accounts to browse, open and edit Word, Excel, and other MS Office file types with Office Online. Users can also create new files in Office Online and save them directly to their  Dropbox account using Windows, Apple iOS and, and Android devices.

The same integration is available from Dropbox in a web browser. Users can access Office Online directly from the file you are viewing.

This article explains:

  • Document security and privileges in OneDrive for Business and Dropbox
  • Configuring Office 2016 to connect to Dropbox
  • Configuring Office Online to connect to Dropbox
  • Tips for using Dropbox with Office Online

Document Security and privileges in OneDrive for Business and Dropbox

This article explains how users can save files to Office 365’s OneDrive/Sharepoint and also to Dropbox. Synchronising Dropbox and OneDrive is not considered here. Migrating large file stores from Dropbox to OneDrive may not be practical for some users.  Also, users might want to separate personal files from their employer’s Office 365 services. For users who need to maintain individual OneDrive and Dropbox storage, Office 365 business users can start in Office Online, or from Dropbox, to manage documents in Dropbox using Office 365.

Configuring Office 2016 to connect to Dropbox

Dropbox users use the Dropbox synch tool for Windows can pin the local dropbox file store in Office 2016’s file location “favourites”. Pinning the Dropbox folder to file locations in Office 2016 saves users from manually browsing to Dropbox when saving files.

Configuring Office Online to connect to Dropbox

To use a Dropbox account with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Online, add it to your places list. Once it is saved as a storage location you can open, create, edit, and save files to Dropbox. You can still use a OneDrive account.

  1. From, open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Online.
  2. Under Open from OneDrive, click Add a place.
  3. Click Dropbox. You’ll see Open from Dropbox appear in your places list.

dropbox storage as an office 365 place

Tips for using Dropbox with Office Online

  • Whenever you select Open from Dropbox to open a file from your Dropbox account, the file will be saved to Dropbox.
  • To create a new file in Dropbox once you’ve added Dropbox to your places list, choose New in Dropbox. (Dropbox will already be selected if it’s the last place you used.)

creating new file for dropbox using Office 365

  • To open Dropbox files you have recently worked on, select them in your Recent list.
  • To edit files in a Dropbox for Business account using Office Online, you need an Office 365 account that includes Office applications (the desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). If you are not already signed into your Office 365 account, you will be prompted to sign in before you use your files.



Saving files to OneDrive for Business

Files can be saved directly to Office 365 OneDrive accounts. This article explains how to save files to OneDrive, open files stored OneDrive using Apps like Word, and how to restore a OneDrive for Business file location if it does not appear in Office Apps or in Windows Explorer.

Save a document to OneDrive

To save a document you are working on, open the options panel on the left of the screen, click Save As, and select OneDrive – YourCompanyName. For example, in this screenshot the company name is Contoso.

save to onedrive


Note that there is also an option to save to OneDrive – Personal. This option is available to users who have Hotmail,, Live, or other personal Microsoft accounts. OneDrive for Business provides a more fully featured facility, including service levels, rights management, and more, If you have a OneDrive for Business facility, you should file business documents in OneDrive for Business.

Open a document using an Office App

To open documents from OneDrive for Business, click open the Office App you want to use, for instance Word, and open the options panel on the left of the screen:

open a file in onedrive


OneDrive does not exist in File Locations

If you do not see OneDrive – YourCompanyName,  in the list of available file locations, open an Office App – for example Word or Excel – and create a new document. Then, opening the options menu on the left side of the screen and click Add a Place > Office 365 SharePoint. Then, sign in to Office 365 with your account. You will need your Office 365 account name (your email address) and your password.

add a place


OneDrive for Business vs Sharepoint

There are some considerations when saving files to OneDrive. For instance, Office 365’s  Sharepoint stores documents including emails  in “team sites” for shared access. Sharepoint can also be used for managing business documents. Use the guidelines below to decide how to manage your documents using Office 365.

Save documents to OneDrive for Business when…

  • You do not plan to share them.
  • Documents you place in OneDrive for Business are private by default, unless you place them in the Shared with Everyone folder. This makes OneDrive for Business your best option for draft documents or personal documents that no one else needs to see.
  • You plan to share them, but they have a limited scope or lifecycle.
  • You may sometimes work on documents that are not related to an ongoing project, which are important mostly to you, but that you still want to share. For example, perhaps you are writing an article to appear in a blog, and you want to ask colleagues to review and edit it before you post it. In this case, you expect people to use the document once and then be done with it. People do not need any additional context information, or need to know where you are keeping the document. All they need is a link to the document and editing permission.
  • You cannot identify an existing team site where your document belongs, and you do not think the purpose of the document warrants creating a new one.

Save documents to a team site library when…

  • You want team members to recognize the document as being relevant to an ongoing project.
  • You want to spread ownership and permissions across a wider collection of people. If a document is important to the success of a project, it is a good idea for there to be people other than yourself who can control what happens on the site.
  • You want permissions to be granted on a site basis, instead of on individual documents. If people have access to the team site, then they have access to documents stored in the site.
  • Other project-related documents are already saved to the team site library, and others expect to find it there.
  • You want to create a check-in workflow that assigns the document to someone else.
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