​​I’m having trouble with a shared folder

Updated Oct 10, 2023
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The information in this article applies to all Dropbox users, unless otherwise stated.

There are a few situations when shared folders might not work as expected. Check each of the situations outlined in this article to fix issues with shared folders.

If you don’t find an answer here, visit these articles:

Not using Dropbox yet? See how Dropbox helps you effortlessly share folders.

Why can’t I see the most recent versions of files in a shared folder?

There may be a few reasons that you can’t see the most recent versions of files in a shared folder. Visit this article on file syncing issues or check each of the situations below.

Scenario 1: If you delete a shared folder or remove it from your account, you can’t access the folder anymore. To check if you deleted a shared folder on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Shared in the left sidebar.
    • Click More in the left sidebar if you don’t see Shared.
  3. Click the Folders tab at the top of the page.
    • When you hover over folders you’ve removed or shared folders you’re yet to join, a Join folder button will appear. 
  4. Click Join folder to restore a folder to your account.

If you've the desktop app installed, the shared folder is automatically synced again. If the older version is in the same location, Dropbox syncs the new version and adds “(1)” to the end of the name. This ensures that every folder has a unique name.

You can change or update a file or folder’s default name. Learn how to rename a file or folder.

Scenario 2: If you can’t see files that you expect to see in a shared folder, and you didn’t delete them, you may have unintentionally deleted the folder.

Check that the folder is still shared:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Shared in the left sidebar.
    • Click More in the left sidebar if you don’t see Shared.
  3. Locate the shared folder.
    • If you see You haven’t joined this folder below the folder name, you don't have access to the shared folder. To get access, hover over the folder and click Join folder
    • If the shared folder is active, check if your files are in the shared folder on dropbox.com. If they’re missing, learn how to recover or restore your files.

Why can’t I see the shared folder options window?

If the shared folder options window doesn’t pop up when you click Share..., you may be experiencing an issue caused by a third-party browser extension or add-on (such as a pop-up or ad blocker).

To fix this problem, temporarily disable any browser extensions or add-ons that are running. Once you change your shared folder settings and no longer need the shared folder options window, you can restore these browser extensions.

If you'd like to continue using the extension, you may be able to create an exception for Dropbox, or whitelist https://www.dropbox.com. However, not all extensions support this functionality.

Why can’t I share a folder inside another shared folder?

If you can’t share a folder inside another folder, your sharing permissions in that folder may be limited by the owner of the parent folder. Try contacting the owner of the parent folder to share a folder inside their shared folder.

If you still can’t share a subfolder, you may have reached the limit on how many shared subfolders can be created in a single folder. Learn more about shared folder limits.

I’m a Dropbox Family customer

Dropbox Family customers can’t directly share subfolders that are inside parent shared folders. Learn how to share files or folders inside a parent shared folder via a link.

What happens if I move a shared folder into a team folder?

If you move a shared folder into a team folder, you transfer ownership of that folder to the team. You no longer own the folder, and you can’t remove the folder from the team folder.

If you’d like, you can make a copy of the folder and move it to the preferred location in your account.

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  • Anyone with edit access to a team folder can move a subfolder contained within it to either another team folder or another subfolder. Subfolders can’t be moved to the top level of the team space.
  • If you’re an admin, learn how to manage team folders.

What happens if the owner of a shared folder leaves?

The owner is likely the person who originally invited you to the shared folder. If you don't see an owner for a shared folder, the owner may have already left it. If this happens you can contact the original owner and ask them to first add the folder back to their Dropbox, and then transfer ownership to you.

If you can’t contact the owner, you can:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Drag the files from the old folder to this new folder.
  3. Re-invite members of the old shared folder to this new shared folder.

If you're the owner of a shared folder and leave it without transferring ownership, the shared folder will be without an owner. The owner is the only member who can remove members from the folder.

If you don’t need this folder anymore, but another member does, you can make them the owner. First, you'll need to add the shared folder back to your Dropbox account.

Learn how to transfer ownership of the folder to another member.

How can I get edit permissions to a shared folder I can only view?

A shared folder owner or editor can change permissions. If you need to have a different role within a shared folder, contact the owner or any current editor and ask them to update your permissions. Learn more about roles in a shared folder.

How do I know if my folder has been shared?

To check that a folder is actively shared between you and the other people you’d like to have access to it:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click Shared in the left sidebar.
    • Click More in the left sidebar if you don’t see Shared.
    • For folders someone else owns: If you don’t see the shared folder listed, then you’re not currently a member. Contact the owner to share it with you.
    • For folders you own: If the person you want to share a folder with doesn’t see it listed, then they’re not currently a member. They should check the Shared page to see if they can click Join folder on the folder. If they don’t see the folder there, they should contact you.

How can I see members of a shared folder?

You can see the members of a shared folder by following the instructions below:

On dropbox.com

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the folder you’d like to view the members of and click the share icon (rectangle with arrow pointing up).
  3. Click Who can access.

On the Dropbox desktop app

  1. Open the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  2. Right-click the folder you’d like to view the members of and select Share… next to the Dropbox icon.
  3. Click Who can access.

On the Dropbox mobile app

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the “⁝” (vertical ellipsis on Android) or “…” (iOS) next to the correct folder.
  3. Tap Manage access (Android) or Folder settings (iOS). 
  4. Tap the area below [x] members.
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Note: When you move a file or folder into a shared folder, everyone who has access to that shared folder will gain access to the file or folder you moved into it.

What if files are missing from a shared folder that I don’t own?

If files appear to be missing from a shared folder, first check that the folder is active and that other members are using it. Learn how to view file activity in Dropbox.

To check if files are missing:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com. 
  2. Click Shared in the left sidebar.
    • Click More in the left sidebar if you don’t see Shared.
  3. Click on the shared folder to see if the files appear. If they don’t, then the shared folder owner (or a member with edit access) may need to re-share them.

What can I do if a shared folder has the same name as another folder?

If you join a shared folder that has the same name as a folder already in your Dropbox account, a (1) is appended to the new shared folder name.

Rename the original folder causing the naming conflict (the one without a (1)). You can then remove the (1) from the shared folder name.

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Note: If you need to contact Dropbox Support about an issue with shared folders, the owner (or a member with edit access) will need to submit the request.

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