Office 365

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about the SharePoint Online Project. We will add more as the project progresses.

1. What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a web-based system which allows you to store documents.  For Saint Mary’s University it is meant to eventually replace the shared drive.  

2. What is “The Cloud”?

The cloud is a generic term for a software service, hosted on hardware owned by a service provider. In the case of SharePoint Online, Microsoft offers it under the brand name Office 365 (O365). 

3. When will we migrate to SharePoint Online?

Each department will be migrated after being engaged and consulted.  The migration will be at a non-critical time, negotiated over the next few years.

4. How do we prepare for the migration?

You can prepare by:

1. Deleting what is no longer needed.

2. Deciding what should be archived.

3. Moving files together, that should be grouped.

5. How long will we be able to access our current Shared Drive.

Once migrated, the portion of the file share will be made read only, a number of months later it will be backed up and removed from the Shared Drive with prior notice to each department.

6. Is there training available?

Yes. The Studio will offer several new feature orientation sessions as we near the migration date. They will also provide a SharePoint Online feature job aid.

Not available yet - SharePoint Online (1-hour course)

Not available yet - How to find and retrieve an existing document in SharePoint.(video)

Not available yet - How to save a document to SharePoint (video) 

7. Will SharePoint provide versioning?

Yes, SharePoint has versioning features available.  The versioning allows you to revert up to a prior version of the document.

 8. How will I access the new SharePoint Site?

Individual departmental sites should be bookmarked as a favorite on your browser.

9. What happens to items I delete from SharePoint? 

List items, documents, pages and entire sites go to the SharePoint recycle bin after deletion.  The user who originally deleted an item can restore them from their recycle bin for 90 days after the original deletion.

Please note the SharePoint recycle bin is not related to the Windows recycle bin.

10. Will other SharePoint users be able to send me documents from SharePoint via my Outlook email? 

Yes. The best practice is to send each other embedded links to SharePoint documents through email. Unlike an email attachment, embedded links are more secure because they can only be accessed by someone who has the appropriate permissions.  However, SharePoint documents can be attached and sent via email.

11. What security rules apply to the restore function in the recycle bin? 

The restore function's security is the same as the delete function's security.  If you have the rights to delete it, you also have the rights to restore it. 

12. What security rules apply to reverting a document to a prior version? 

The reverting function's security is the same as the user's security.  If you have the rights to edit it, you also have the rights to revert to a prior version.

13. How large can a SharePoint Site be? 

Up to 25 Terrra Bytes.

14. Why is SMU implementing SharePoint? 

We are offering SharePoint as a powerful collaboration service, to fulfill part of the University Strategic IT Planning Initiative to offer robust collaboration and communication tools to the SMU community.

15. How do I give SharePoint access to an external user to Saint Mary’s University (non-SMU or SMU faculty or employee)? 

Not available as yet.

Additional Questions?

Please send an email to