There are numerous corporations who began their digital document collaboration through the use of a shared network drive. This was an ideal solution to allow multiple people access to the same locations and documentation from various PCs. However, technology advances quickly. There are many ways to share data in the present day and Microsoft’s SharePoint is the software of choice for a great number of companies due to the varied and progressive tools and options appearing in each new iteration. The latest version is SharePoint 2019.
SharePoint offers collaboration tools far exceeding anything that can be done with a network drive, but that’s not to say a shared network drive is redundant. There may be cases where a company has legacy documentation dating back 20 years which is currently stored on a shared network drive. It would be no easy feat to move that data into SharePoint and if the file sizes are tens of even hundreds of Gigabytes then it is not likely feasible.
A solution would be to have SharePoint and a shared network drive co-exist. A proposed approach would be to keep all the legacy documentation on the shared drive and use SharePoint for current collaboration moving forward. However, these two shared areas need not be separate. SharePoint can be used as the interface for the network drive, so you can access all your new/current documentation as well as all your legacy documentation through one interface, SharePoint. And this is how to do it.
Firstly, you need to have full control permissions or Edit/Design permissions. You’re going to add a Web Part to a page which will display the contents of a directory on your shared network drive.
1. Click on Edit page from the settings cog.
2. Click on Add a Web Part
3. Select Media and Content > Page Viewer and click Add
4. Click on the highlighted text: open the tool pane (This opens the Web Part Properties)
5. The Web Part properties opens on the right of the page, as we are wanting to add a network directly choose Folder from the options.
6. To add the path to your network drive directory you must add the following prefix to the beginning of your network drive path – File:/// followed by S:\SharedAreaYourname so in this example the full path added to the link field will be File:///S:\SharedAreaDavid
7. Click on Ok, or Apply then Ok.
And there you have it – you now have access to your network drive through a SharePoint page! You can navigate into sub directories and access any files (provided you have the appropriate permissions on the Shared Drive).
If you found this blog helpful and want to find out more about SharePoint please get in touch today!