Sharing with Dropbox

You can share anything you store in Dropbox—and decide whether you want people to be able to edit your content, or just view it.

Get more done every day with easy, secure sharing. Rather than send files back and forth as email attachments, share work instantly from your Dropbox account. Any changes you make automatically update in real time for everyone you’ve given access to the file. Use Dropbox to simplify your workflow, from collaborating with colleagues to sharing that favorite vacation photo.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how to share content and request specific files from anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.

Share view-only

If you need someone to be able to see your files, but not edit them, you can use Dropbox to share in two ways. You can invite people directly from a file or folder, or create a unique link to send via email or your favorite messaging app.

When you invite someone directly with view-only permissions, the recipient will receive an email with a link to your content. They will have access to the file or folder in their own Dropbox account, but they can’t edit the content. For added security, you can change permissions or make the item private again.

When you share with a view-only link, recipients can see a preview of the file or folder on dropbox.com, and can view or download the content—even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.

How to: Share with view-only permissions

To share with an email invitation:
1. Select the item you’d like to share.
2. Click Share on the right side of the desktop app window
3. Click Invite via email.
4. After To, type the email or name of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.
5. Select Can view from the dropdown menu on the right.
6. Click Share. Recipients will receive an email with a link to the file or folder.

To share with a link:
1. Select the item you’d like to share.
2. Click Share on the right side of the desktop app window
3. Click Copy link.
4. The link will be copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it to an email, chat, or other message.

To share with an email invitation:
1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click All files in the left sidebar.
3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.
4. Click the share icon (person) that appears.
5. Type the email or name of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.
6. Select Can view from the dropdown menu.
7. Click Share. Recipients will receive an email with a link to the content you shared.

To share with a link:
1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click All files in the left sidebar.
3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.
4. Click the share icon (person) that appears.
5. Click Link settings to customize who has access or disable downloads.
6. Click Copy link (if a link hasn't been created yet, click Create and copy link).
7. The link will be copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it into an email, chat, or other message.

1. Right-click (or control-click) the file and click Copy Dropbox Link.
2. The link will be copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it to an email, chat, or other message.
1. Navigate to the file or folder you want to share.
2. Tap “” (ellipsis).
3. Tap Share.
4. Tap Create a link.
5. If a link was already created for this content, tap Share link next to Anyone with the link can view.
6. Select the way you'd like to share the link from the options.

A Dropbox link never “breaks,” even if you rename or move files or folders in your Dropbox account. If the recipient of a shared link downloads the content to their local computer and then make changes, it won’t be updated on your Dropbox account.

If you’re on a Dropbox Professional or Business plan, you can set a password or expiration date, and disable downloads for a shared link at any time.

Sharing with edit permissions

If you want others to be able to edit the content you share with them, you can invite them directly from a file or folder.

- Recipients must be signed into a Dropbox account to access and edit your content.

- When folders are shared, the recipients become its members.

- Changes to the contents inside a shared folder are synced with its members.

- You can share with a group of people at once.

Learn more about Dropbox shared folders.

How to: Share with a direct invitation

1. Select the item you’d like to share.
2. Click Share on the right side of the desktop app window
3. Click Invite via email.
4. After To, type the email or name of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.
5. Select Can edit from the dropdown menu on the right.
6. Click Share. Recipients will receive an email invitation to the content you shared.

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click All Files in the left column.
3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.
4. Click the share icon (person) that appears.
5. Type the email or name of the person, people, or group you’d like to share with.
6. Select Can edit from the dropdown menu.
7. Click Share file or Share folder. Recipients will receive an email invitation to the content you shared.

Branded sharing

If you’re on a Dropbox Professional plan, you can use branded sharing to add your company name and logo to the files and folders you share. When you send shared links or direct sharing invitations, recipients will see the branding elements you’ve added to your account settings. 

How to: Set up branding

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click your avatar (profile picture or initials) in the top-right corner.
3. Click Settings.
4. Click the Branding tab. 
5. Click Set up branding next to Brand name and logo to add your logo and the name of your company or brand. 
6. Click Choose image next to Background image to select a background image, if you like.

File requests

Use file requests to collect and receive files (up to 50 GB) from anyone, right in your Dropbox account. When someone clicks your file request link, all they have to do is choose files from their computer, enter their name and email, and click Upload. That’s it—there’s no need to sign in, so anyone can add files, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. It’s an easy way to get files—like vacation photos, student assignments, or proposals from vendors—without having to walk people through the process.

All the files you collect are automatically organized into a single Dropbox folder. Only you can view files uploaded by others, although you could later decide to share all or some of the files in this folder.

How to: Create a file request

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click File requests in the left sidebar.
3. Click New request in the right sidebar.
4. Under Title, enter a name for your request.
5. Under Description, add details about the request, if you like. 
6. Under Folder for uploaded files, you'll see the path to a new folder for your requested files. If you'd like to change the destination, click Change folder.
7. Click the check box next to Set deadline to choose a date and time. You can also Allow late uploads and choose a timeframe.
8. Click Create.
9. Type the email, name, or group of the person (or people) you’d like to request files from. They’ll receive an email about your request. 
- To copy a link instead, click Copy next to Share a link instead. You can paste the link into an email, message, or wherever you’d like people to access it.
10. Click Share. You’ll receive an email confirmation, and an email notification when files are uploaded to your file request. 

Dropbox Transfer

Dropbox Transfer lets you easily send large files for final delivery, even if recipients don’t have a Dropbox account. In addition to sending individual files, you can include multiple files and folders in a single transfer, customize transfers with an expiration date, password, or logo, and monitor download activity for any transfer you create. You can even send Photoshop files directly from the Photoshop app.

Dropbox Transfer provides a simple way to securely deliver proposals, contracts, and finished work. 

Get started with Dropbox Transfer

How to: Dropbox Transfer

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click the grid icon in the top-right corner.
3. Click Transfer from the menu that appears.
4. Click Create transfer.
5. Choose files or folders from your computer or Dropbox account.
6. Click the gear icon to customize your expiration date or add a password.
7. Click Next.
8. Click Copy link or Send via email.

Note: The options to add passwords and extend expiration dates are only available on Dropbox Professional, Business Advanced, Enterprise, and Education plans.

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click the grid icon in the top-right corner.
3. Click Transfer from the menu that appears.
4. Click Customize design.
5. Click the dropdown menu next to Choose background or Choose logo to add a background color, background image, or logo.
6. Click Save.

NoteThe option to customize a transfer is only available on Dropbox Professional, Business Advanced, Enterprise, and Education plans.

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click the grid icon in the top-right corner.
3. Click Transfer from the menu that appears.
4. Click the transfer you want to change.
5. Under Settings, click the arrow below Expiration and choose an expiration date.
6. Click Save.

Note: Transfers automatically expire after 7 days. The option to extend the expiration date is only available on Dropbox Professional, Business Advanced, Enterprise, and Education plans.

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
2. Click the grid icon in the top-right corner.
3. Click Transfer from the menu that appears.
4. See Views and Downloads next to each transfer.

Comment & collaborate

Collaborate with ease knowing important feedback isn’t buried in your inbox. Instead of sending comments back and forth over email, make suggestions right in the file you’re working on. Share feedback on text, images, and videos, or tag someone to let them know you’ve left comments. Depending on your permissions, you may even be able to edit text right inside the document.

How to: Comment & collaborate

Anyone who has access to a Dropbox file can leave a comment and view other comments, unless the file owner has turned off this feature.

Note: When you leave a comment, the file owner and anyone who has subscribed to the file, commented on the comment thread, or been @mentioned in the comment thread will be notified.

Learn more about how to edit or delete a comment, hide the comment pane, and change notification preferences.

1. Click the name of the file you want to comment on.
2. Click or tap  the comment icon (speech bubble) in the right sidebar.
3. Click or tap the text box and type your comment, @ mention someone, or add an emoji.
4. Click Post.

You can also comment on a specific part of a file, as long as you’re on dropbox.com and working with a supported file type.

1. Navigate to the file you want to comment on.
2. Click in the text box on the right side of the screen labeled Comment
3. Type your comment, @ mention someone, or add an emoji.
4. Click Post.

Up next: Dropbox security

Now that we've seen how to share and collaborate with Dropbox, we'll cover how to adjust settings, easily monitor connected devices, active web sessions, and third-party apps with access to your account, set up strong passwords and 2FA, and restore and recover files.