​​I’m having trouble with a shared folder

Updated Oct 10, 2023

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.

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

There are a few reasons why you may not 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.

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.
    • Folders you’ve removed or shared folders you haven’t joined yet will show a Join folder button when you hover over them. Click Join folder to add the folder back to your account.

If you have 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 prevents an issue where two folders have the same name.

If you'd like to change or recover the old name, you can rename the old version to whatever you'd like, then rename the new version.

If you can’t see files that you expect to see in a shared folder, then you may have unintentionally deleted the folder.

Check that the folder you’re looking at 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 from the Shared page.

If the shared folder is active, check if your files are in the shared folder on dropbox.com. If they’re missing, you can recover your files.

I'm not seeing 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 re-enable 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.

I can’t 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. If you need to share files or folders inside of a parent shared folder, you can share them via a link.

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)). Then you can remove the (1) from the shared folder name.

A shared folder is inside of a team folder

If you're on a team account, you may have 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. An admin on the team is the only one who can move a folder out of 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. If you need the folder removed from the team folder, please contact your team’s admin.

The owner of a shared folder left

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. Create a new shared folder.
  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.

You left the folder and want to transfer ownership

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, add the shared folder back to your Dropbox account. You can then transfer ownership of the folder to another member.

I need edit permissions to a shared folder that 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 to have your permissions updated. 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 with doesn’t see the folder 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:

  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 "..." (ellipsis) next to the name of the folder you’d like to check on.
  4. Click Share
  5. Click Who can access.
  1. Open the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  2. Right-click or control-click the correct folder and select Share….
  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the “⁝” (vertical ellipsis on Android) or “…” (ellipsis on iPhone/iPad) next to the correct folder.
  3. Tap Folder settings.
  4. Tap the area below [x] members.

From this view, you can see the members of the shared folder and what type of access they have.

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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. To do so:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com. 
    • Make sure you're on the All files page. If you're not, click All files in the left sidebar.
  2. Click Shared in the left sidebar.
    • Click More in the left sidebar if you don’t see Shared.
  3. Check 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 it.
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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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