Accessing special folders on OneDrive

Special folders provide simple aliases to access well-known folders in OneDrive without the need to look up the folder by path (which would require localization), or reference the folder with an ID. If a special folder is renamed or moved to another location within the drive, this syntax will continue to find that folder.

Special folders are automatically created the first time an application attempts to write to one, if it doesn't already exist. If a user deletes one, it is recreated when written to again.

Note: If you have read-only permissions and request a special folder that doesn't exist, you'll receive a 403 Forbidden error.

Here are the special folders available to all clients.

Name Folder id Description
Documents documents The Documents folder.
Photos photos The Photos folder.
Camera Roll cameraroll The Camera Roll Backup folder.
App Root approot The application's personal folder. Usually in /Apps/{Application Name}
Music music The Music folder.


GET /drive/special/{special-folder-name}


The response to a GET for the special folder will be the folder's Item resource. You can use this method of addressing a special folder with any OneDrive API call you would normally make to a folder, instead of addressing the folder by id or path.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-type: application/json

  "id": "0123456789abc",
  "name": "Documents",
  "eTag": "012345819293.1",
  "specialFolder": {
    "name": "documents"

Note: Special folders will return a specialFolder facet that describes the identifier used for accessing the special folder.

To request the children of a special folder, you can request the children collection or use the expand option to expand the children collection.

GET /drive/special/{special-folder-name}/children

The next example will return the standard children collection as you would see from other ways of addressing the folder.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json

  "value": [
    {"name": "myfile.jpg", "size": 2048 },
    {"name": "Documents", "folder": { "childCount": 4} },
    {"name": "Photos", "folder": { "childCount": 203} },
    {"name": "my sheet(1).xlsx", "size": 197 }

The last example uses path addressing for children of the special folder by using the colon to separate the path from the special folder URL:

To retrieve the contents of myfile.docx in the Documents folder:

GET /drive/special/documents:/myfile.docx:/content

HEAD requests for special folders

If you request a special folder that doesn't exist by using a GET request, the special folder will be automatically created for you. You can test to see if the special folder exists by using a HEAD request. If the folder doesn't exist, the HEAD request will return a 404 response.

HEAD /drive/special/{special-folder-name}
HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found

On the other hand, sending the same request when the folder already exists will return a 200 OK response.

HEAD /drive/special/{special-folder-name}
HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Error responses

See Error Responses for details about how errors are returned.


If your app has read-only permissions, the request to get a special folder or the children of a special folder may fail with a 404 Not Found or a 403 Forbidden error if the special folder does not already exist. It is recommended to use the HEAD request to check for the existence of a special folder first in this scenario.