Dropbox is making it easier to collaborate
Today I will continue the series on online storage solutions. In my last post I covered the basics of OneDrive, today it’s Dropbox. I’ll follow a similar format covering how to download,install, setup and start using Dropbox. Also very happy to share a great new collaboration feature that Dropbox has released, made possible by Dropbox partnering with Microsoft, this is a very welcome feature.
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Personally I use a combination of online storage solutions, I tend to use different platforms for different parts of my business and personal life. One of the reasons for doing this is it provides the opportunity to spread my data and take advantage of each platforms free storage limit.
Lets do this
First up you will need to signup for Dropbox
Download and Install
- Go to the Dropbox download page, download and install it on your computer first off.
- Install Dropbox on your mobile devices – Apple Store or Google Play Store
Get more space
You get 2gb of storage with the free Basic Dropbox but there are also ways to increase this without paying anything.
It may be a good idea to make a start on earning more space before you load up all your files and run out of space. Here are some of the things you can do to earn extra space for free, such as:
- Refer your friends, family, and coworkers to Dropbox
- Complete the “Get Started” guide
- Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Dropbox, and follow them on Twitter
Visit the Get More Space page to get started
Copying or moving your files to Dropbox
Once installed you will find that there is a Dropbox drive on your hard drive. Copying and moving files to Dropbox is the same process as you would normally use to move or copy files on your hard drive.
Tip: It is best to move your files from the current location to your Dropbox drive on your hard drive rather than have these files in 2 places. Having the files stored in 2 places leaves you at risk of conflicting changes on each file. The whole idea of having online storage is only having one file stored in one place and being able to access this file from many places.
You are also able to upload files to your Dropbox online:
👉 Open up Dropbox in a browser
👉 Click on the upload icon
👉 Selecting files to be uploaded
This method however is much slower
Saving space on your hard drive
You have the option to synchronise all of your folders between your computer and Dropbox online or you select specific folders. This allows you to have some folders only available from Dropbox online which gives you the opportunity to save some storage space on your hard drive.
This is easier explained by the short video below:
Manage access – this will take you to a pop up window where you can choose to invite people to share selected folders/files. You have the option of allowing people to view only or view/edit.
Copy Dropbox link – this copies a link to your clipboard, you can then paste and share this link to give people access to the folder or file. This link can be pasted onto an email, facebook or text message, anywhere that you would use hyperlinks.
View on Dropbox.com – view the selected folder or file online at Dropbox online.
Highlight the folder you wish to share, click on the dropdown arrow on the share button and select your preferred option.
The choices are:
- invite people to collaborate
- send a link for people to view the folder/file.
Collaborating on files
Now this is an area that has definitely been improved by Dropbox with the most recent integration of Microsoft Office Online. There are 2 choices for collaborating on files:
1. Locally on your desktop application – anyone that has access to shared files can open the document and make changes on their desktop application, the only problem (and a frustrating one at that) is that if 2 people are working at the same time and make changes these changes will conflict and dropbox will create 2 separate versions.
Dropbox will show the Dropbox badge in the right margin of the document to warn you that someone else has the file open. So you could decide to close it until that person has finished their edits, this may sound easy but it’s also an easy one to stuff up.
You don’t even need the desktop versions of Microsoft Office — or even your own computer — to update any Office files stored in your Dropbox.
Open your file on Dropbox Online, click the ‘Open’ button and select the Microsoft Word/Excell/Powerpoint option from the dropdown.
You can edit the file right from your browser via Office Online. Any changes will automatically be saved back to your Dropbox.
If another user is editing the document at the same time you will see a popup “a guest is editing this document” and any changes are highlighted in yellow to each respective user and any changes are merged.
There you have it, the basics of using Dropbox, this should be more than enough to get you up and running.
I would highly recommend taking the very small leap to move all your files to one or a mix of the online storage options, it’s efficient, safer and best of all it will allow you to start “Working From Anywhere”
Here are a couple of previous articles that may help you:
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This topic will also be covered in a workshop at the WFA Conference 2016.
Any questions, any comments, I’d be really be pleased to hear them, just add them below. I personally respond to all comments.
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.