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I am currently about to set up an intranet for a School. The teachers would like to be able to access and manage files stored on the local server from Sharepoint online 2013. Without the files being stored in Sharepoint using up all the space.The files are stored on a Windows server.

Is this possible? and if, how does it work?

thx.

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It would be best if the documents are uploaded to SharePoint Library for improved performance. You can create a document library on share point site, open it using explorer, copy all your documents to the SharePoint.

  1. Create Document Library
  2. Upload all documents to the library ( if you have many documents, open the library using explorer (Ribbon menu "Library"--->"Open in Explorer" , this will open library as windows explorer, you can drag and drop documents here)
    1. Usually default setting for opening documents like word and excel is using client application (i.e in software installed in users computer)
    2. If not, go to Ribbon menu "Library" --> "Library Setting" ---> Advanced Settings ----> Opening Documents in the Browser (Default open behavior for browser-enabled documents:) ----> select "Open in the client application" ---> OK
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Seriously, to take full advantage of SharePoints features regarding Document management, like Metadata, versioning, check-in, check-out etc. etc. you should save the document in SharePoint! This is one of the main things SharePoint is built for, and meant to be used for.

Regarding the "space" issue, saving documents i SharePoint or on a disk, you still need storage space. And if you do no enable Versioning for your documents, they will not take more space in SharePoint than on disk.

I realize that it is a matter of the pricing of SharePoint Online, but I do think that you really need to consider using SharePoint for storing the files once more. With the new features in 2013, like SkyDrive Pro where you (dropbox style) sync a SharePoint Library to a folder in Windows, the fact that the files are managed by SharePoint means that the users do not have to completely change the way they work with documents today.

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