Preparing files to Migrate to Microsoft 365

In 2020 Microsoft have seen a boom in uptake of their cloud platform known as Microsoft 365 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Never have we seen such rapid digital transformation of organisations around the globe. Proving the theory that “necessity is the mother of invention”.

Companies have been scrambling to adopt cloud platforms such as Microsoft 365 to keep operations running by enabling their employees to work from home.

Webinar: Preparing files to Migrate to Microsoft 365


  • Intranet – examples of different types of Modern SharePoint Online Intranets.
  • Communication Sites vs Team Sites – Understanding how to build an intranet with different types of sites.
  • Types of Migration – What are some different approaches to how the migration can be planned.
  • Cleansing Your Files – The types of things you should be thinking about whilst cleansing your files.
  • SharePoint Thresholds – Understanding what limitations you may encounter within SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams.
  • And More! 

If you have any questions about migrating to Microsoft 365, please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected] with any questions.

Preparing files to Migrate to Microsoft 365

However, the move to Microsoft 365 is not so straight forward. It is littered with potential issues and gotcha’s if you are not aware of potential thresholds and how to follow Microsoft’s best practices.

These challenges raise many questions about how pre-existing documents that might have been accessed from a file server can be migrated into products such as SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

There are several approaches to preparing files to migrate to Microsoft 365.

SharePoint Online

You could go for a simple lift and shift approach. This is very beneficial if you are trying to get up and running quickly. This should only be attempted if you already have a lean, well organized folder structure ready to copy into SharePoint Online or Microsoft Teams.

SharePoint Online also provides your internal intranet. This is a great way to improve communications through news articles and make it easier for colleagues to find resources via useful links.

Microsoft Teams

Another option would be to setup your Microsoft Teams then leave it down to your organisations departments to mainly move documents across as and when they need them. You can offer encouragement to do this by turning the file server to read only mode.

We would recommend a hybrid approach of the two by formulating a new document structure that is based on departments and teams. This gives you the opportunity to truly review your current document structure and re-align it to the way your departments are actually formed.

Once you have agreed how the new structure will be created, for example having a Marketing Team, HR Team, IT Team you then must engage with key representatives from those departments to get them cleansing their existing documents.

Folder structures that have been left for years on end to organically grow will likely be inefficiently organised, contain duplicated or even redundant documents.

When cleansing your folder structure and preparing files to migrate to Microsoft 365 you should consider the following:

  • File Path Lengths – The overall file path length of a Microsoft Excel document must not exceed 218 characters.
  • Linked Microsoft Excel – You must also consider any Microsoft Excel documents that might be linking to one another. These linked documents will need updating once migrated.
  • 1 to 1 – When cleansing your folders on your file server, the objective should be to have one folder per department with all of their files inside of it that will then migrate to the relevant Microsoft Team.
  • Folders – Consider how many folders deep you would expect to be user friendly. Ideally no more than 5, otherwise users will give up.
  • And More – There are plenty more things you must consider before embarking on your Microsoft 365 migration See our webinar below for more details on getting started with Microsoft 365.

Once you have cleansed your documents and you are ready to migrate them into Microsoft Teams, there are a number of tools that you can use for this migration path. You can also choose to engage with a Microsoft Gold Partner to help assist you with this migration path.

Valto can either provide a fully managed migration service or plug in an expert into your existing team to provide guidance as and when you need us.

You may also find the following Valto whitepaper on Governing Microsoft Teams useful.

Virtual meeting around a table

Contact our Experts

    Need help Preparing Files to Migrate to Microsoft 365?

    I hope you found this information useful, if you have any questions regarding SharePoint, Microsoft Teams or Office 365 please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Dougie Wood

    Solutions Architect