What's a conflicted copy?

Updated Jan 26, 2024

A conflicted copy is a file that Dropbox creates when multiple people edit the same file at the same time. The editor’s username, “conflicted copy”, and the save date will be added to the filename.

There are three ways a conflicted copy can happen:

  • Two users change the same file at the same time.
  • Someone edits a file offline while someone else edits the same file.
  • A file is left open on another user’s computer, which Dropbox saves as a new edit—this is especially common when using applications with an auto-save feature.
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Note: The last version saved will always appear as the conflicted copy.

Not using Dropbox yet? See how Dropbox makes syncing files easy.

What do I do now?

The best way to resolve a conflicted copy is to compare both versions and merge them manually.

Conflicted copies can happen with all types of files. If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can check out their help article on how to compare and merge two documents.

How do I prevent a conflicted copy from happening again?

The best way to avoid a conflicted copy is to collaborate on files in real-time with a program like Dropbox Paper or Microsoft Office Online. (Dropbox Paper is free with your main subscription).

If you’re unable to collaborate in real-time, the next best way to avoid a conflicted copy is to move your file out of its Dropbox folder while you’re working so that nobody else can access it. Once you're done editing, you can move the file back into its original location.

Alternatively, here are a few other tips you can try:

  • Create a new folder for all in-progress files titled “In Use” so your collaborators know not to make changes.
  • For Dropbox teams: When Dropbox Badge notifies you that another person is editing a file, coordinate with that person to take turns editing.
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