February 22, 2018

Copy Photos to OneDrive for Business

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If you have a smartphone, you may know that if you have the OneDrive app installed, it can automatically upload your photos to OneDrive. However, the app does not allow you to upload photos automatically to OneDrive for Business. It has been an annoyance for many that Microsoft have decided that photos are personal, and that OD4B is not intended to be used for photos… For a while I have been manually performing the task to copy photos to OneDrive for Business. If you are reading this, then that’s what you have probably been doing too.

Copy Photos to OneDrive for Business

When you take a photo with your smartphone camera, the OneDrive app will upload it to the cloud, but only to a Live.com OneDrive account – the free 5GB that is given with an Outlook.com or live.com or Hotmail account. The app does not allow automatic upload to O4B, so many have to perform a manual task to copy photos to OneDrive for Business by downloading the photos from OneDrive to a computer, and then uploading them to OneDrive for Business by hand. It is possible to also select photos on your camera phone, and then “share” them to your OneDrive For Business – but both these methods need manual action.

Why is this a problem?

You may wonder why this may be a problem – Microsoft certainly do not consider it a problem.

If you have an Office 365 account, there are many reasons why the convenience of a camera in your pocket is part of your business process. I have had customers who need to take photos of assets in the field, and have these photos part of a business process – items that are damaged, need maintenance, just been fixed etc. There are so many business needs where photos have a business need, and the automatic upload feature is not only rapid and convenient, it could also be critical – for example Police taking crime scene photos or of a fleeing suspect, paramedics needing a photo checked by a doctor whilst the paramedic continues with patient care etc.

The personal version of OneDrive has a 5GB limit, but OneDrive for Business comes with 1000GB – and the cost of upgrading OneDrive personal to 1000GB ($10 per month) is more than Office 365 Business Essentials at $7.04 a month – and Business Essentials includes 1TB of OneDrive for Business plus Skype, Yammer, SharePoint and Exchange!


The solution I have used is Microsoft Flow – a component that is part of the Office 365 subscription. I have not found an Office 365 subscription that includes OneDrive for Business but does not also include Flow – so you should have access to both.

The Flow you need to create will monitor a folder in your personal OneDrive, and then create the file in your OneDrive4B. First, open Flow. This is an icon in your Waffle (top left, 9 dots) menu that is where you choose from other Office 365 apps. If it is not listed in your main Waffle menu, you may need to look in “All apps”.

I created a template called “Copy Photos from OneDrive to OneDrive for Business” – but if you cannot find it, here is how you can create it yourself.

  1. Log in to your Office 365 Portal with your Office 365 account. Open the Flow app – there may be some welcome wizards steps
  2. Create a new Flow. I recommend creating from blank, instead of selecting one that begins with OneDrive for Business
  3. Ensure you select OneDrive as the first connector, and not OneDrive for Business.
  4. Select the OneDrive connector object of “When a file is created”
  5. Enter your login details for your OneDrive account, and allow Flow to have permission to use the connector.
  6. Navigate to the folder /Pictures/Camera Roll from your personal OneDrive
  7. Add a new step, search for OneDrive for Business
  8. Select the OneDrive for Business connector “Create file” – not move or copy
  9. Enter your login details for your OneDrive for Business account
  10. Select the Folder path that you want photos copied to – I chose the folder \Pictures
  11. Click in the File Name box, and select the attribute “File Name” – the one that has a OneDrive cloud next to it
  12. Click in the File Content box, select the attribute “File Content”
  13. Save your Flow, then press Done
  14. Take a test photo and wait a minute (or five)!

Simple, isn’t it? If you have been able to follow the steps, and it has worked properly, please spread the word by sharing a link to this page – there are so many people out there with this problem, I would love to have my solution help others.

If you want to thank me, just click on one of the ads on this site, it will pay me a few pennies.

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One Response

  1. Joseph Moran says:

    I came across your workaround in your comment over at the OneDrive page, tried it, and what do you know? It works! Although this Flow stuff makes me a bit uneasy for security reasons (too much stuff connected and interacting unseen in the background) and it’s not quite a panacea for native OD4B camera roll support, I may try this out for a couple of my users. Gonna see if I can figure out how to bring over all the existing photos, not just the new ones.


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