Aesthetic improvements for OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud storage solution from Microsoft, where you can upload all sorts of files such as documents, pictures and videos and then access these from different devices.

The local OneDrive app on MacOS works well to show your 'space in the cloud' natively within a Finder window, appearing as just another folder or drive on your machine.  However there are a couple of minor 'aesthetic issues' that can detract a little bit from the experience;

  • The business name is appended to the OneDrive folder name, which can result in an unwieldy file path.  This can include spaces which can cause some issues when programming routines / apps etc.  The standard folder name ends up looking like 'OneDrive - <Insert Company Name here>'
  • The attachment folder which just automatically appears at the top level of the OneDrive directory, despite not having any content, and which cannot be permanently removed (if you delete it, the folder will just reappear shortly thereafter).  If you have an organised file structure and folder hierarchy, this can be a visual annoyance to have this showing up at the root level.

Before getting to the good stuff on how to resolve these two items, just the obligatory proceed with caution.  I have done both fixes on my MacBook Pro and it works a treat, but your mileage may vary.


Renaming the root OneDrive folder 

If you attempt to rename the root folder using the standard renaming workflow in Finder, it will effectively break the ability for the folder to sync back to the cloud, and ultimately will log you out of the OneDrive app.  Logging back into the OneDrive app will result in a new folder being created with the original (lengthy) folder name.

Despite many machinations of different solutions, the one I found that actually worked for me was to modify the .ini file per a solution found on UserVoice;

  1. Close the OneDrive app if it is running
  2. Go to the following folder; Library/Containers/com.microsoft.OneDrive-mac/Data/Library/Application Support/OneDrive/settings/Business1/
  3. In this folder will be a .ini file with a guid as the filename (i.e. it will be the .ini file with the name that looks like a bunch of random numbers and letters .... not the global.ini file that will also be there).
  4. Take a copy of this file and for safe keeping as a backup
  5. In the original file edit the folder name to whatever you want your OneDrive folder to be called.  The folder name is in the line beginning with "libraryScope = ", and file path will be dependent on where you first set the OneDrive folder to live (e.g. this could be in the Documents folder).  For reference, in my own .ini file this "libraryScope =" line was the first item.
  6. Save and close the .ini file
  7. In Finder go to where your OneDrive folder is, and rename it to match what you just set the folder name to be in the .ini file.

And that should be it.  If you now reopen the OneDrive app it should sync to the new revised file path.


Hiding the auto-spawning attachments folder

This nifty solution posted on Drew Eastmeads blog, taps into the hidden file/folder functionality in MacOS.  So rather than permanently deleting the folder, it effectively makes it invisible on the desktop.  One word of note; if you use the web or mobile version of OneDrive the attachments folder will still be visible, as this trick only applies within MacOS itself.

To hide the attachments folder...

  1. Open a Finder window, and go to your OneDrive root level folder so you can see the attachments folder sitting there.
  2. Open Terminal (a quick way to do this is to press command + space to bring up spotlight search, type in terminal and hit enter)
  3. Type in the command chflags hidden (add a space after the word hidden)
  4. Jump to the Finder window from step one and drag the Attachments folder to the terminal window .... this will automatically enter the folder path into your command line
  5. Press enter and the folder will now be hidden 

Neat little trick that sorts out this minor annoyance. 

So thats two quick and easy solutions that power up the OneDrive user experience.  If you are interested in checking out OneDrive, head on over to onedrive.live.com for more information.