How to use SharePoint Online: Detailed Beginners Guide

In early 2022, Statista revealed that the population of mobile workers in the United States is forecasted to increase to 93.5 million by 2024. With this drastic increase in the mobile labor force, it becomes increasingly clear that modern organizations must find simpler platforms for content and data management, collaboration, and social activities.

Mobile workers need simpler and easier ways to collaborate, regardless of location. Cloud-based solutions like SharePoint Online are a simple solution to the problems posed by the mobile, distributed workforce.

Microsoft SharePoint Online is an extension of the SharePoint platform. Much like its predecessors, SharePoint Online supports collaboration and content management. However, unlike SharePoint On-Premises, SharePoint Online does not require dedicated onsite hardware as it relies on Microsoft’s cloud data centers. This article explores the difference between SharePoint and SharePoint Online and suggests best practices for users looking to gain a competitive edge with the cloud solution.

From SharePoint to SharePoint Online


SharePoint is a website-based collaboration system that empowers businesses with content databases, workflow applications, and security features. Microsoft SharePoint consulting services help businesses of all sizes to create websites and store, share and organize information from any device. SharePoint can break down silos and bring teams together with file sharing, social, and collaboration features.

As an alternative to deploying an on-premises SharePoint Server, businesses can subscribe to an Office 365  plan or a standalone Microsoft SharePoint Online. Users can develop and personalize their company’s intranet using SharePoint online. Moreover, SharePoint online helps power file collaboration across the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem.  

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online has a built-in cloud-based document management system with Microsoft 365 subscription. With it, users can access files in real time. 

The modern SharePoint Online is all about adaptability and user experience. Compared to Microsoft SharePoint services, the structure of SharePoint Online is way more flexible, meaning that it can be easily personalized to company needs and scope and help organizations scale over time. 

Best Practices for Using SharePoint Online

  • Use SharePoint Online communication sites for department or organization-wide audiences. A small audience, such as internal teams, can use Microsoft Teams for collaboration which already includes their SharePoint sites.
  • Keep the content structure simple and try not to exceed a three-level deep navigation and document library structure.
  • Use indexes in large document libraries, lists, and logical structures such as Year, Category, Department, etc.
  • For better search results, tag documents and use descriptive names; the document title/name is a significant driver for relevant search results.
  • Make site security structure as simple as possible without breaking inheritance; however, if the sections of the site require different permissions, consider using a subsite.
  • Select two site owners and admins for managing access to site information.
  • Name the site to notify when guest access is enabled. Do not store sensitive information or data on a public-facing site without the company’s IT or legal team’s approval.
  • To restore deleted documents, use the recycle bin. Users can restore deleted files within the defined grace period, which is 30 days.
  • Switch version control on document libraries when tracking document changes.
  • Due to organization’s retention policies, inactive sites might be deleted after a certain period if they are inactive. Consult with the technical team to check if the SharePoint site needs to be removed from the company’s retention plan.

Measuring SharePoint Online User Engagement

Microsoft SharePoint Online services offer in-depth SharePoint usage reports to help companies improve system adoption and the impact of the SharePoint environment. The reports demonstrate detailed user analytics and how they interact with site content.

Site admins, owners, members, and visitors can access site data; however, site visitors are restricted from downloading usage reports. Moreover, guest users with Site Owner permissions cannot access user data or site analytics.

SharePoint Online vs. SharePoint On-Premise?

Most of the time, people confuse on-premises Microsoft SharePoint services with SharePoint Online and vice versa. Despite being similar and sharing common functionalities, SharePoint Online and SharePoint are different products deployed differently. Therefore, differentiating the two platforms will help businesses to choose the platform that aligns with their needs.


SharePoint Online functions on the cloud environment hosted by Microsoft. The online version of SharePoint does not require the maintenance or purchase of new hardware, which means there is little or no impact on implementation costs. SharePoint Online has many advantages for businesses across the globe. With cloud-based solutions such as SharePoint fueling collaboration and document storage, companies can benefit from various advantages and foster growth and profitability.

Also, learn about how to delete a SharePoint site.




Sumona is the publisher for TechTrendsPro. In terms of professional commitments, she carries out publishing sentient blogs by maintaining top to toe on-page SEO aspects. Follow more of her contributions in SmartBusinessDaily and RealWealthBusiness

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Sumona is the publisher for TechTrendsPro. In terms of professional commitments, she carries out publishing sentient blogs by maintaining top to toe on-page SEO aspects. Follow more of her contributions in SmartBusinessDaily and RealWealthBusiness

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