Copilot and AI is about to supercharge OneDrive for the web — here's what's on the way and when you'll get the big update

OneDrive web albums

OneDrive on the web will soon have a version of Copilot to help you with your files.

(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has several new features in testing and on the way for OneDrive.
  • Copilot is among the new capabilities in the works, and it is now expected to ship "this summer."
  • OneDrive will also get a faster file viewer, enhanced search in its web version, and a media view on the web for viewing photos and videos.
  • Offline mode for OneDrive for web promises loading times up to three times faster than when interacting with files through the web when not in offline mode.

Microsoft OneDrive has a lengthy list of new features that will ship over the coming months. The cloud storage service will soon integrate with Copilot, have a faster file viewer, and feature an enhanced search experience. Several other improvements are on the way to OneDrive as well, including a better share experience across Microsoft 365 applications, support for branded external file requests, and the option to create new files from templates.

The new capabilities are outlined in a blog post from Microsoft. We've known about many of these features for a while, such as Copilot for OneDrive for web, but we now have more details, some additional video examples, and more up-to-date release dates.

Copilot is arguably the biggest addition that OneDrive will receive in 2024. Copilot can generate summaries of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF files. It can also answer questions based on the contents of those files, all without requiring you to open the files in question. You can also use Copilot to generate FAQS and suggestions to improve a file.

Copilot within OneDrive for web is expected to ship "this summer," according to Microsoft.

Using OneDrive offline

Offline mode speeds up performance and adds several options when browsing OneDrive for web when offline. With offline mode, you can interact with files, look through folders, and use the My files view of OneDrive to organize and rename files. You can also open Office and non-Office files you have stored locally on your system through native applications and make and save edits.

Despite its name, offline mode also has some features available when you are connected to the web, which Microsoft outlined in a recent blog post

  • You can designate files or folders as available for offline access directly from OneDrive for web.
  • You can free up local storage space by making your local files or folders online only directly from OneDrive for web.
  • You will experience up to 3X faster loading times when viewing and interacting with your files in OneDrive in your browser and in the OneDrive app in Microsoft Teams and Outlook.

Without offline mode, the first two features listed above were only available through File Explorer on Windows or Finder on macOS.

Offline mode for OneDrive now lets you control the Files On-Demand feature as well, allowing you to select files to always have on your device. Files On-Demand already worked through File Explorer but is now accessible through OneDrive for web as well.

I use the web and native versions of Office and OneDrive. To me, it's strange which capabilities are exclusive to the different versions. It's hard to say which version is better, since some options are only available on the web while others are exclusive to the native versions of Office or through File Explorer. But it's always nice to see new features roll out to OneDrive. I have a massive library of files I manage through the cloud, so I look forward to being able to search through them with Copilot and interact with them offline.

Everything that's on the way to OneDrive

Here's a quick rundown of everything that's on the way to OneDrive with some snippets from Microsoft explaining the features:

Copilot: Magic at your fingertips

Catch up on the files you care about by generating summaries for your Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files, all with Copiloted in OneDrive. And why stop at summaries? You can also ask questions and get answers from the contents of your files without even opening them. Copilot is also great at helping you with tasks like comparing documents, generating FAQs, getting suggestions on improving docs, and much more!

Updated, faster file viewer

We’ve recently updated the file viewer for Microsoft 365 which can preview more than 300 file types in OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, and other apps. The updated file viewer is up to 2X faster than the previous version, plus it’s more intuitive and functional. For example, you can edit PDFs and images, annotate eBooks, favorite files, and request electronic signatures securely.

Accelerate teamwork and productivity

OneDrive helps you and your team work smarter and faster. We want to make it easy for you to find and track your work, and to access the files when you need them. And with safe sharing options, you can work together without worries, knowing your data is secure.

Enhanced search in OneDrive for web

OneDrive for web now lets you find your files faster than ever with its new and improved search functionality. Whether the file is in your OneDrive, shared folders, or document libraries, our improved search feature allows you to seamlessly sift through your entire digital workspace from one centralized location. The enhanced search features include:

  • New filters: Added filters for different file types to help you find exactly what you need.
  • Date filter: Narrow down your search results by files created or modified within a specific timeframe.
  • Scoping options: Easily conduct precise searches within specific folders, sites, or document libraries.
  • Updated interface: Visual enhancements and more metadata help you locate your files more quickly.

Simple, smart, and secure collaboration

Sharing is one of the most widely used features across Microsoft 365. Our goal is to make collaboration quick and seamless. We’ve streamlined the sharing dialog, making it faster and easier to use. When you open the share experience across Microsoft 365 applications, you can now focus more easily on the core sharing tasks by sending an email invite or copying a link for others to start collaborating on your files.

Branded external file requests

The external file request feature allows you to collect files from others by providing them with a secure upload link. This tool is especially useful when you need to gather documents, photos, or other files from people outside your organization. Soon you’ll be able to make your brand stand out to partners, clients, or stakeholders, with a custom branding request and landing page. From the branded email requests to personalized landing pages for uploaded documents, every interaction matches your brand identity.

OneDrive experience in Document Libraries

The next generation OneDrive experience available in OneDrive for web will soon be available in SharePoint document libraries. When you go to your document libraries, you’ll see fresh new visuals, simplified navigation with filters and search, best in class performance, and your favorite features from Microsoft Lists, like board views. We can’t wait for you to try it later this summer.

Create new files from templates

We've refreshed the file creation experience in OneDrive for web which you initiate by clicking the “Add new” button. Now, clicking the “Add new” button will give you the option to create a blank file or choose from a selection of high-quality, beautifully designed Word, Excel and PowerPoint templates to jumpstart your work, including templates provided by your organization. This update is rolling out soon and is currently available for customers in Targeted Release. 

Browse your photos and videos with Media view

We're adding a Media view to the left navigation of OneDrive for web, for work and school users. You can use this view to easily browse and access your photo and video content in OneDrive. Media view in OneDrive for web is now rolling out to customers.

Experience lightning-fast performance with offline mode

We are making OneDrive for web faster and more offline-capable with the new offline mode (formerly known as Nucleus). Once enabled, you can browse your OneDrive files in Edge, Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, online or offline, with lightning speed and efficiency. In fact, you can expect to see up to 3X faster loading times when viewing and interacting with your files in OneDrive in your browser and in the OneDrive app in Microsoft Teams and Outlook.

OneDrive next generation experience in more apps

OneDrive is more than just a file storage and collaboration app – it’s a consistent, familiar file experience across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Last year we updated OneDrive for web with the next generation experience that makes locating and accessing files quicker than ever. We’ve recently rolled this out to the OneDrive app in Teams and Outlook. And soon, you’ll get this experience in (formerly Additionally, we’re also updating the Office file picker that you use to open, share and save files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other apps. The new file picker will offer a familiar, improved experience.

Colored folders in Windows File Explorer

With OneDrive for web, you can color-code your folders for more visual appeal and better organization. Now, we're bringing this feature to Windows File Explorer. Whether you want to match your folders with your mood, your brand, or your project theme, you can easily customize them with different colors. A splash of color helps you find folders faster and makes your work more, well... more fun.

Export Sync Admin Reports

Want to create your own custom dashboards based on the OneDrive Sync Health Dashboard data? Now you can, thanks to Microsoft Graph Data Connect.2This powerful feature allows administrators to export and join sync health data with other data sets for actionable insights into the overall sync health status of devices in your organization. It will be available in public preview in late June. Don't miss this opportunity to take your sync health analysis to the next level.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at