Sharing files with friends and family using Dropbox

Sharing files with friends and family using Dropbox

IT’S been roughly six months now since I first introduced my readers to the must-have online storage service Dropbox. In my initial post I looked at why you need an account, how you get one, and I touched on how easy it is to set up your account to enable simple file synching between your home and work computers.

As a continuation to that introduction entry, today I’d like to cover how you can easily share files like photos, movies and more with friends and family using this awesome service. It’s understandable that not everyone is going to have a Dropbox account with which to easily share files with you, so I’m going to cover how you can get files to non-account holders as well with just a few easy steps.

Sharing files with another Dropbox user

Say I want to share a selection of photos with my mate. I know they have a Dropbox account as well, so opening a folder that we can both have access to and share files within is dead easy. All I need to do is add a new folder to my Dropbox account and set the sharing permissions to allow them access. Here’s how you do it.

1. Log into your Dropbox account

To begin with, go to your online account on the Dropbox website: http://www.dropbox.com. Once you have logged in, look for the “Sharing” menu item. Click it.

Look for the 'Sharing' menu item.

Look for the “New shared folder” button. Click it to initiate the process of setting up a new folder to share with someone.

2. Create a new Share folder

In the modal box that appears select the “I’d like to create and share a new folder” option and hit the “Next” button.

Give your folder an appropriate name in the field provided and hit the “Next” button.

Finally, enter the contacts you wish to allow access to your new shared folder, and add a message of explanation if desired.

Create a new share folder.

3. Approving the new shared folder

Your recipient(s) will now receive an email letting them know that they have been invited to share a folder.

Notification email.

Next time they log into their online account, they should notice a small numerical indicator on the “Sharing” menu item letting them know there’s a new sharing request they need to approve. In doing so, your new shared folder is now set up.

New shared folder request notification.

Accept the shared folder request.

4. Start sharing files

All you need to do now is start dragging files you wish to share into your shared folder and away you go.

Your new share folder.

The 'images.zip' uploads after being dragged and dropped into the share folder.

Sharing files with users without a Dropbox account

What if you want to share a ZIP file, for example, with someone who doesn’t have a Dropbox account? Well it’s still ultra easy to do this using the “Public” folder that is allocated to you when your account is set up. Here’s what you do:

1. Add the file you want to share to your “Public” folder using your desktop Dropbox application.

2. Once the loading indicator disappears and a green tick appears indicating that the file is successfully in your account, right click on the file icon.

3. Select “Copy Public Link” from the Dropbox submenu list to add the URL you need to your clipboard.

4. Paste the URL into an email or whatever you are going to use to send the link to your contact.

Obtaining a share link from a file in your 'Public' folder.

And that’s about all there is to it. I hope that helps some of you out a little. If you have any questions at all, throw them in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

1 Comment

  1. Shelley says:

    Thank you for simplifying this!!! It’s so helpful 🙂

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