Can You Access OneDrive Without Office 365?

By Tim Chesonis •  Updated: 02/01/19 •  9 min read

Microsoft OneDrive offers many features with tremendous benefits to subscribers of Microsoft Office 365.  With an Office 365 subscription, you can save all of your files, documents and images to the cloud, and even access them from any device.  But can you access OneDrive without Office 365?

Microsoft OneDrive is freely available without an Office 365 subscription.  You can access all of your files, documents and photos from any device connected to the internet, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. You can Access OneDrive from any web-browser, all without Office 365.

In this article, I’m going to offer 5 reasons why you should seriously consider using Microsoft OneDrive for your daily use.  In just a few short minutes, you will be able to determine if Microsoft OneDrive is the right cloud service for you.  So, why should you use Microsoft OneDrive?  Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider.

Access Your Files From Anywhere On Any Device

This has got to be one of the greatest things about Microsoft OneDrive. You can literally access any of your files from any device connected to the Internet, including your cell phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.  

You are no longer tied to one device

Gone are the days that require you to only use the computer or device where you created the document.  With cloud computing, that dependency is long gone which gives you tremendous freedom.  We are so free, that we don’t even have to use our own devices.  You can literally use a computer at the local library if you want, all because OneDrive is not device specific.

The flexibility offered by OneDrive is just tremendous.  Not only are you not tethered to one or two devices, but you can even choose any computer/device regardless of the operating system it uses.

You are not limited by the operating system that you choose to access these documents, files and images. 

Want to use your files on your iPhone? Not a problem. You don’t have an iPhone?  No problem, use your Android phone or tablet to access OneDrive.  If you wish to use Windows, you can use Windows. If you want to use MacOS, you can do that too. If you want to access OneDrive while using Linux, that’s not a problem either. Simply launch your favorite web browser and log into OneDrive. You see, OneDrive is not dependent on any given operating system.  Now that’s freedom.

Share Pictures and Files

People take more pictures today than ever before. This, no doubt, is because everybody has a cell phone today. With the advent of social media, those numbers have increased exponentially. For some reason, everybody thinks that everybody else wants to see what they are doing all the time, or what they are eating at a restaurant.  So they take a picture of their food and share it on Instagram or Facebook.

Some photos are keepers, however. They have a shelf life that is much longer than an Instagram or Facebook post. Momentous occasions such as weddings, vacations or family reunions provide the opportunity to share those photos with family and friends years from now, well beyond anything that Facebook or Instagram offers.

This is where OneDrive excels. With OneDrive, you can share individual pictures or entire photo albums within a given directory to one or more people. You can even limit the duration of how long they can see those photos for.

Simply upload the photo, then right-click on the photo in question, and click SHARE. You will then be asked for the email address of the person that you wish to share the photo with. Click SEND, and the recipient will receive an email with a link to that image. You can follow the same process in  sharing a directory (photo album), of images, and your friends will love you for it.

Manage Your Business Documents While Traveling

There once was a time where we had to take our laptop with us wherever we went if we wanted to access our documents, files or photos. Now that cloud services are widely accepted, we don’t even have to bring a laptop with us when we travel. We can simply bring an iPad with us, access or documents, edit them, and even print them if we want to.

OneDrive is for everyone, not just for business professionals

Just like the Internet is available to us wherever we go, so too, our personal files are also available to us wherever we go. Traveling no longer has to be a pain. There is no need to lug that heavy laptop around from plane to plane when traveling. Now you can write your documents on your iPad on the plane or in the terminal before boarding the plane.

But let’s be honest, OneDrive is not just for the business traveler who travels across country. It’s for the Mom who takes her kids to the park and wants to work on a book that she’s been writing, or the journal she’s been keeping. 

OneDrive is for the college student who starts writing a term paper in his dorm room from his laptop and continues to work on it at the Student Center on his iPad. He doesn’t have to worry about losing his term paper, should he drop his laptop or lose his iPad. All of these documents are safe and secure on the cloud, accessible from anywhere at any time.  To access them, simply log into your Microsoft account, and voila, they are there ready and available.

Collaborate On Documents With Others At The Same Time

This is one feature that is often overlooked, but incredibly powerful. Let’s say that the college student that we were just referencing who is working on the term paper is required to collaborate with the another student on this paper. It used to be that you would have to meet up at the library or coffee shop in order to work together on a project.

Everything you do is automatically saved in real-time

With OneDrive, there is no need for the campus library or coffee shop. In fact, you don’t even need to be on the same campus let alone the same country. You both can open up the same document at the same time and work on everything you do is automatically saved in real-time together.

Think of that. Everything you do is automatically saved in real-time. If one person makes a change to the document and the other person makes a change to the very same document at the same time, both changes are saved in real-time.

Now, let’s up the anti by adding three more people who are working on the same document, for a total of five people. Yes, you can have as many people as you wish to edit the same document at the same time and all changes to the document will appear in real time. That is just incredibly powerful and offers endless possibilities.

Synchronize Files From The Cloud And Work With Them Offline

Let’s say that you’ve been working on a project at the office and you plan on taking a camping trip out in the middle of nowhere, where you know that there will be no cellular signal or access to the Internet.

Though you want to enjoy your vacation, there is work that you need to get done before you return to the office. Not to worry. OneDrive allows you to take your files that are on the cloud and download them locally to whatever device you choose, (even your cell phone if you wanted), to work on them locally.

This means that you could continue to work on your document and not be connected to the internet. When you return to the office, (or any place where you had access to the Internet), you could synchronize your off-line document to the cloud. In effect, there would be no interruption to your workflow.  

Additionally, you don’t have to do anything different than you normally would. There is no need to email the documents or to use an FTP client to upload the documents to the server. You simply open the document from the same device that you were using on your camping trip and it automatically synchronizes to the cloud uploading the new content overwriting the old content. It could not be easier.


The free version of OneDrive is not a watered down version

You can do everything we talked about in this article without an Office 365 subscription. If you would like to use Microsoft OneDrive, simply click here to visit their site and sign up for a free Microsoft account. This means that you will be creating an email address. It is with that email address that you will then use to log into your Microsoft OneDrive account.

When you sign up, you get 5 GB of cloud storage completely free, and if 5 GB of cloud storage is not enough, you can upgrade to 50 gigs of cloud storage for $1.99 per month. In my mind, this is a no-brainer, but it is important to note that the free version of OneDrive is not a watered down version of services. The only difference between the pain version than the free version is how much cloud storage you get to use. The quality of service is the same, and the offerings available are identical, with the exception of how much cloud storage you can utilize.

Microsoft even offers the ability to access your files using multi factor authentication. Needless to say, everything that you upload to the cloud is completely encrypted and secure. What I recommend their services? Absolutely. I’ve been using Microsoft one drive for years now, and have had no issues whatsoever.

How Is Microsoft OneDrive Different Than Google Drive?
Both Google and Microsoft offer reliable cloud storage, however Microsoft’s web applications bring the familiarity of the Office user interface. If you have grown up using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, you are going to feel right at home with Microsoft OneDrive.

How Much Does Google Drive Cost?
Google Drive offers the first 15 gigs for free. If you want to upgrade to the 100 GB plan, that is available for $1.99 per month. The 200 GB plan is to dollars and $0.99 per month. Though the prices are phenomenal, I personally question Google’s integrity relating to privacy.

Tim Chesonis

Tim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.