Surfacing SharePoint Workspace data through Windows Explorer and Office applications

With SharePoint Workspace 2010, you can access file data housed in SharePoint Workspace through Windows Explorer and certain Office applications. This is true for both SharePoint workspaces and Groove workspaces, though Groove workspaces must be 2010 workspaces.

Windows Explorer integration

In Office 2010, you no longer have to be within the SharePoint Workspace application in order to view documents that are included in workspaces. When you open Windows Explorer, you will now see a folder called ‘Workspaces’ under your user folder or Favorites, depending on the OS version that you are using. The picture below is from a Windows 7 machine:


When you drill into this folder, you will see a listing of all of the workspaces that are local to your machine, including the folder hierarchy and all documents contained in the folders. This allows you to open, edit and save documents contained in the spaces without leaving the focus of Windows Explorer. Changes made here will be automatically saved to the space in focus, and communicated either to other members of the space, or to the SharePoint site from which the space is derived. There are several aspects of the standard shell functionality that are replicated in this feature, including the ability to create new folders, information on the date modified for the space, the URL associated with the space, document types in the folders, and the size of the file/folder. From the workspace level, you also have the option to right-click and open the related site in the browser. This allows you to access the primary data source without having to find the URL.

Common File Dialog – accessing data from Office applications

With SharePoint Workspace 2010, we have introduced the ability to save a new  or existing document directly to a workspace from Word, Excel and PowerPoint. From within the authoring application, you simply click on the File tab and choose Save As, and you will be presented with a dialog that exposes the Workspaces folder that houses all of your 2010 workspaces. Imagine – if you are offline creating a new Word document, you can now create the new document, and save it directly to a SharePoint workspace. The next time you come online, this new document will be automatically synced to the associated SharePoint site without any direct action by you.


In addition, from within the authoring application, you can open documents that are stored in SharePoint Workspace, and edit and save them without having to leave the original application, allowing for a more seamless experience.

Deborah Boling