SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service offered as part of the Microsoft 365 Suite. It can be used as a secure place to store, organize and access information from almost any device and recent web browser.
SharePoint Online provides a central space where you can:
Content storage and collaboration features:
- Securely store files of any kind and share with teammates (both within and outside of McGill) without a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Store up to 25 TB of data
- Collaborate live on documents
- Integrates with other Microsoft 365 applications, such as MS Teams, Forms, Office 365 suite
- Have full control over the security and access/permissions of your site
- Synchronize files to your local computer for easier access
- Create web pages to publish content in order to communicate to certain groups
- Create a simple internal knowledge base
A SharePoint Online site can be customized to serve a variety of purposes. Some common scenarios include:
- Shared Storage: Moving away from a Shared Network drive, or just need document storage for a new project.
- Media Asset Repository: Create media libraries that are easily searchable through meta-data.
- Internal knowledge base: Looking for a centralized, searchable and secure knowledge management solution.
- Communication site: Publishing resources or information for your team
Who can use it
This service is available to active McGill students, faculty and staff.
People external to McGill may be given permission by the site owner to access the site.
How to request & access the service
Before requesting the creation of a SharePoint Online site, we strongly recommend you take an introductory training course. Register for training here: SharePoint training.
Once you have completed the training, submit the form to Request a new SharePoint site.
After validation of the form, you will be contacted within 7 days by a member of the Content Collaborations team in order to create your site.
There is no cost associated with this service.
This service is available 24 X 7. Check the home page of the IT Support site for announcements in case of any outages.
Frequently asked questions
Should I use SharePoint or MS Teams?
- If you have a team in MS Teams then you already have a SharePoint site.
- Every team on MS Teams has a SharePoint site connected to it where every file uploaded to the team is stored.
- If you just need a place to store, share and collaborate on documents then a standalone SharePoint site is sufficient.
- You should create a team only if you need the channel and instant messaging features of MS Teams.
- It is possible to connect your SharePoint site to MS Teams at a later time.
For a comparison of storage tools, see Document storing and sharing - choosing the right solution
How do I collaborate with External Users?
- To collaborate with external users, invite them to your site or share your document with them, the same way you would with any internal users.
Can I recover my data with SharePoint?
- Yes. Any deleted content stays in the site’s recycling bin and is recoverable for 93 days.
- You can also restore any previous version of a file using the “Version History” or even recover entire libraries from a previous date (within 30 days) using the “Restore this Library” option.
Can I set a retention policy on my SharePoint site?
- Yes, we can enable a 1 year retention policy on your site. Once the retention policy is active, it will not be possible to delete a folder on the site anymore without first deleting its contents.
Can I migrate existing content from departmental shared drives or other cloud services to SharePoint?
Best practices & policies
Best practices for sharing files:
- If you want to share all the content on your site: Add user(s) as members of your site. This grants the same level of access to all files on the site.
- Long-term collaboration on specific files/folders: Grant access at the folder level to users who are an owner or long-term collaborator on the content.
- Short term collaboration on specific files/folders: Share with links. This is the most used sharing method and should be used when you want to share individual documents with users outside of your normal team.
Managing a large volume of content:
- If you have an extremely large volume of content (>5000 items / files or folders), you must split the content into smaller document libraries or put in place a folder structure. A limit of 5000 items can be displayed in a list on SharePoint.
- See: Large lists and libraries
Training & documentation
For access/authentication issues, and basic assistance using SharePoint Online, contact the IT Service Desk.
Meet with a SharePoint expert for specific questions about setting up or using a SharePoint site. Attend a general Q&A session. Reserve your spot.