Spring cleaning? Declutter your “digital desk” with UB cloud storage

employee at a desk working on a computer.

Photo by Douglas Levere

Published April 11, 2022

Services like OneDrive and UBbox have built-in features to keep your documents organized and easy to find.

Both OneDrive and UBbox can automatically track previous versions of every file, along with information about who created it and when, and even conversations related to that file. Read on to find out how these tools can make your life easier when managing your UB files and documents.

Start (and stay) in the cloud


If you’re creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in your work or learning at UB, then OneDrive and UBbox each provide enough space (128 GB) for you to store it all. So why not?

If you’re used to saving your files “on the desktop,” switching to cloud storage is not as big a leap as it might seem. It’s as easy as choosing your preferred cloud storage service, then using the desktop app included with that service.

Both UBbox and OneDrive include an app that creates a folder on your computer and syncs any files inside automatically with the cloud. Save your files in that folder, and they’ll automatically be uploaded, backed up and available whenever (and wherever) you need them.

Chances are, if you’re a UB employee, OneDrive and UBbox desktop apps are already installed on your work computer. If not, talk to your departmental support staff to help you install them.

Once you’re saving your files in cloud storage automatically using the desktop app for your chosen storage service, look for these features that start saving you time and effort from day one.

Version is a verb (and your cloud storage does it automatically)

Have you ever received an email attachment with a name like “budget report draft v37 FINAL_2 (revised).docx?” Be honest: have you ever sent an attachment like that?

Trying to track document versions over email is a thankless task, and one that can lead to a lot of duplicated work and, of course, clutter.

So let your cloud storage track document versions for you automatically. Both OneDrive and UBbox track every version of every file you store, and let you review (and, if needed, restore) old versions. Versions aren’t kept in separate files… but all included in the one tidy, always up-to-date document.

Here’s how to see previous versions of a file using the OneDrive and UBbox desktop apps:

  • OneDrive: right-click your file and select Version History.
  • UBbox: right-click your file and select View on box.com. From the UBbox web app, double click your file to open the preview window. In the upper-left corner you’ll see what number version you’re on. To review previous versions, click the three dots button at the top and select Version History.

Replace that original email attachment with a link to your file in cloud storage—just right-click the file from the desktop app and select Share. Now everyone will be on the same page (and stay there).

Your documents, and your conversations about those documents, together in one place

Speaking of email, have you ever been able to find a document, but not the email conversation about the document (or vice versa)?

Both UBbox and OneDrive provide ways to discuss files with your colleagues directly inside the platform. Each conversation stays with the file it’s about, making both easier to find.

In UBbox, double-click the file from the UBbox web app to open the preview screen, then select the Activity (message bubble) icon on the left. Here you can comment on the file, and even @mention people to get their attention.

In OneDrive, comments are built into each of the major Microsoft 365 apps. Whether using the desktop or cloud apps, click the Comments button in the top-right corner, then New to add a new comment. The @mention feature works here too.

Superpowered searching with metadata

When you store a file in UB cloud storage, additional data is automatically stored with it, indicating who uploaded it, when it was created, when it was last updated etc.

This additional data, or metadata, can be invaluable when trying to find a document. For example, say you don’t remember the name of a file… but you know who created it. You can search both UBbox and OneDrive for a colleague’s name, then see any files that they created, edited, or commented on.

Just the beginning

Both OneDrive and UBbox have many more features to make your work easier. Visit ubbox.buffalo.edu to learn more about UBbox, or buffalo.edu/ubit/microsoft365 for OneDrive and other Microsoft apps at UB.

For help with UBbox or OneDrive features, or any other aspect of UB-provided technology, contact the UBIT Help Center, online at buffalo.edu/ubit/help or by phone at 716-645-3542.