For ease of use, it helps to be able to treat a SharePoint document library as a file folder on your laptop, and from a team productivity perspective, it’s very valuable to have these documents stored there instead of on your local hard disk:

  1. SharePoint provides versioning and check-in/check-out capability
  2. It’s accessible from other locations than your machine
  3. Your fellow team members can see your work in progress if they need to.
  4. SharePoint is backed up, so you won’t lose anything if your PC gets run over or dies.

To start this process, the simplest thing to do is to browse to the document library (in this case the BLASS shared documents);

Because this is a SharePoint 2010 site, there is an option to open the library in Windows Explorer on the “Library” tab:

Clicking on the “Open with Explorer” button will launch Explorer on your machine. You may be prompted for your user name and password before this happens, but once you’ve logged in, you’ll see the folder:

From here you can do all the normal things that you’d expect with a local drive or mapped network drive. To make this sticky so that you don’t have to go through browsing the site every time you want to do this, you can map the drive to your computer.

Step 1: Clicking into the address bar will show you the actual URL for the library (hit ctrl-C or right click and choose copy to save it to the clipboard):

Step 2: Click on your computer icon in the Navigation pane, which will add the “Map Network Drive” to the menu:

Step 3: either click the “Map network drive” or right click and choose it from the menu:

Step 4: Click the hyperlink to connect to a web drive:

Step 5: Click next to start the wizard:

Step 6: Use “choose a custom network location” and click Next:

Step 7: Enter or paste the URL from the document library you found above and click Next:

Step 8: Give it a name you’ll recognize (defaults to the server name) and click Next

Step 9: You will be prompted with the following screen that means your web folder has been mapped:

From then on, you should be able to find it in the navigation pane of Explorer: