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Files On-Demand on OneDrive

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OneDrive Files On-Demand helps you access all of your files in OneDrive without having to download all of them and use storage space on your device.

When you turn on Files On-Demand, you will see all of your files in File Explorer and get new information about each file. New files created online or on another device appear as online-only files, which do not take up space on your device. When you are connected to the internet, you will be bale to use the files like every other file on your device.


  • Save space on your device by making files online only.
  • Set files and folders to be always available locally on your device.
  • See important information about files, such as whether or not they are shared.
  • See thumbnails of over 300 different file types even if you do not have the required applications installed to open a file.
  • Works with all of the apps that you use today, including Windows desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store.

Your files will look one of three ways when you view them:

  1. A blue cloud icon next to a OneDrive file indicates that the file is only available online.
  2. A white circle icon with a green check mark next to a OneDrive file indicates that the file is locally available. This happens when you open an online-only file and it downloads to your device.
  3. A green circle icon with a white check mark is placed next to files that you mark as "Always keep on this device".

How to Turn on Files On-Demand on Windows

  1. Make sure you are signed in to OneDrive on your device.
  2. Select the white or blue OneDrive cloud icon in the Windows taskbar notification area. (You may need to click the Show hidden icons arrow next to the notification area to see the notification icon. If the icon does not appear in the notification arear, OneDrive might not be running.
    Select Start, type OneDrive into the search box, and then select OneDrive in the search results.
    Result: The OneDrive application will open on your computer.
  3. Select Help & Settings and then Settings.
    Result: The settings window will open.
  4. On the Settings tab, select the Save space and download files as you use them box.

For more information on turning on files on-demand on Windows, visit the Microsoft Files On-Demand on Windows page.

How to Mark a File or Folder for Offline Use or as Online-Only

  1. Right-click a file or folder.
  2. Select Always keep on this device or Free up space.

How to Turn on Files On-Demand on Mac OS

Note: For new OneDrive accounts on Mac OS Mojave, Files On-Demand is turned on by default when you set up OneDrive. Existing users need to turn on Files On-Demand in OneDrive Preferences.

  1. If you have not already, download and install OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac.

How to Mark a File or Folder for Offline Use or as Online-Only

  1. Navigate to Finder in your tool bar and click on the icon.
    Result: Finder will open.

  2. In the menu on the left side of your Finder window, click on Applications.
    Result: The Applications page will open in Finder.

  3. Navigate to the OneDrive application and click on it.
    Result: The OneDrive application will open in Finder.

  4. Right click to select the file or folder that you want to change the settings for.
    Result: An options window will open to adjust the settings for that file or folder.
  5. Select the Free Up Space option from the menu.

See Also

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IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

July 15, 2020

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