Open a SharePoint document library in Windows Explorer

Document libraries are a SharePoint feature that for many people looks and works just like a fileshare or “network drive”. Of course you are accessing it through a browser, so while functional, the SharePoint pages are somewhat limiting if you are used to using Windows Explorer. Fortunately, you can work with a SharePoint document library in Windows Explorer. As you might expect, this is easiest if you use Internet Explorer (IE), but I’ll show you how you can get to any library by copying part of the URL shown when the library is open in your browser.

For IE, open your site and navigate to the document library. Make sure your view in the upper right is set to All Documents. On the toolbar, under Actions, select Open with Windows Explorer. That should take you straight to Windows Explorer opened to your document library.

If you are using another browser, it is a little extra work. You still navigate to the library and make sure it is set to All Documents view. In your address bar, you should see something like https://yoursite.example.com/sitecollection/bla/bla/bla/DocumentLibraryName/Forms/AllItems.aspx. Copy to the clipboard everything from the URL except for the trailing /Forms/AllItems.aspx.

Now open Windows Explorer. If you are using Windows 7 navigate to Computer and right-click in the right-hand panel and select Add a network location. For XP, navigate to Network Places and open Add Network Place . In either case you’ll now get a wizard. Select Choose a custom network location (XP is Choose another network location) and click Next. Paste in the address you copied earlier, click Next, then accept or modify the descriptive name and click Next. Click Finish and you should see your document library in Windows Explorer. This will also add a shortcut to Computer (or for XP My Network Places) so next time you can just open that directly.

For those still using Vista, I no longer have a working box to test out this process. It should be very similar, since as you can see the process is not much different between Windows 7 and Windows XP.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy.

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3 Responses to Open a SharePoint document library in Windows Explorer

  1. This saved me. Thanks!

  2. jen says:

    that is great. saved me lots of time.
    thanks

  3. Martijn says:

    Doesn’t work.

    “The folder you entered does not appear to be valid. Please choose another.”
    The URL to our sharepoint box is literally “http://sharepoint/library”.

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