Sharing with Dropbox

You can share anything you store in Dropbox—and decide whether you want people to be able to edit your stuff, 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 file changes you make automatically update in real time with everyone who shares the file. Use Dropbox to simplify your workflow, from collaborating with colleagues to sharing with clients.

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

Sharing with Dropbox

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, folder, or Dropbox Space, 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, folder, or Space 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, folder, or Space on dropbox.com, and can view or download the content. They don’t need to have a Dropbox account to view and download, but they’ll need an account to see the overview and use the features of a Dropbox Space.

Share view-only

How to: Share a file, folder, or Dropbox Space with view-only permissions

The desktop app

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 then 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 any other communication channel.

dropbox.com

To share with an email invitation:

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.

2. Click My Files in the left column.

3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.

4. Click Share.

5. After To, type the email or name of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.

6. Select Can view from the dropdown menu on the right.

7. Click Share. Recipients will then receive an email with a link to the content you shared.

To share with a link:
1. Sign in to dropbox.com.

2. Click My Files in the left column.

3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.

4. Click Share. (If a link hasn't been created, click Create a link)

5. Click Link settings to customize who has access or disable downloads.

6. Click Copy link.

7. The link will be copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it into an email, chat, or any other communication channel.

The Dropbox folder on your computer

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 any other communication channel.

The mobile app

1. Navigate to the file, folder, or Space 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 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, folders, or Spaces 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.

You can set a password or expiration date, and disable downloads for a shared link at any time.

Share with edit access

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

  • Recipients must be signed into a Dropbox account to access and edit your shared content.
  • When folders and Spaces are shared, the recipients become its members.
  • Changes to content inside a shared folder or Space are synced with its members. 
  • You can share with a group of people at once and decide if the whole group can edit your content.

Learn more about shared folders and Dropbox Spaces.

How to: share with edit access

Share from the desktop app

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 then receive an email with a link to the file or folder.

Share from dropbox.com

1. Sign in to dropbox.com.

2. Click Files in the left column.

3. Hover over the item you’d like to share.

4. Click Share.

5. After To, type the email or name of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.

6. Select Can edit from the dropdown menu on the right.

7. Click Share. Recipients will then receive an email invitation to the content you shared.

Create a group

Team members can create user-managed groups if their admin allows it:

1. Sign in to dropbox.com with your Dropbox Business credentials.

2. Click your team name at the bottom left of the page.

3. Click the button by your team name: Groups and members.

4. Click Create group.

5. Enter a name for your group.

- This is the name all team members will see. As the group manager, you can change the group's name at any time.

6. Click Create group.

Learn more about how to add and remove members from a group.

File requests

Use file requests to collect and receive files (up to 20 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 proposals from vendors—without having to walk people through the process.

All the files you collect are automatically organized into a single Dropbox folder or Space. Only you can view files uploaded by others, unless you decide to share them.

How to: create a file request

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.

  2. Click Files.

  3. Click File requests.

  4. Click Create a new file request.

  5. Under What are you requesting?, enter a name for the folder that will store all collected files.

  6. Under Where should these files go in your Dropbox?, you’ll see the path to the new folder. If you’d like to change the folder’s location, click Change folder. You can also click Add a deadline to set a deadline for the file request. Or select Allow late uploads and choose a timeframe.

  7. Click Next.

  8. Copy the file-request link or send invitations directly from your Dropbox account:

    - Click Copy link to copy the file-request link and send it to anyone you’d like to collect files from.

    - Or, enter the email addresses of the people you’d like to request files from, and send directly from your Dropbox account. Click Done to send the email invitations and return to the File requests screen.

You’ll receive an email whenever people upload files to your file request.

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

How to comment on Dropbox files

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

To comment on a file from the Dropbox desktop app:

1. Navigate to the file you want to comment on.

2. Click in the text box on the right side of the screen that says Write a comment

- You can type your comment, @ mention someone, or even add an emoji

3. Click Post.

To comment on a file from dropbox.com or the mobile app:

1. Open the file you want to comment on.

2. To comment on the entire page or image, click or tap the text box that says Write a comment.

- You can type your comment, @mention someone, or even add an emoji.

3. 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.

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.

How to collaborate on Dropbox Paper docs

In Dropbox Paper, you can collaborate with people by:

- Mentioning them in-line and in comments. Mention a colleague or friend anywhere in your Paper doc or comment by typing @ (at) and then their name. Dropbox sends a notification so they can follow up right away.

- Creating to-do lists of stuff that needs to be accomplished. You can then assign things to a friend or coworker and add due dates.

Comment on text and images:

1. Highlight a line of text to bring up the formatting toolbar.

2. Click the comment icon (a speech bubble) in the menu that appears.

To comment on a part of an image:

1. Click the image that you'd like to comment on.

2. Click the circle icon with the plus sign to comment on a specific area of an image.

3. Click the section of the image you'd like to comment on.

4. Type your comment and click Post.

Learn more about content collaboration with Dropbox Paper.

Up next: Dropbox security

Now that we have seen how to share and collaborate with Dropbox, we will cover how to adjust settings, easily monitor linked devices, active web sessions, and third-party apps with access to your account, set up strong passwords and two-factor verification, and restore and recover files.