How to manage your Dropbox file and folder sharing permissions

Updated May 15, 2024
person icon

The information in this article applies to all Dropbox users, unless otherwise stated.

When you share a file or a folder with someone, you can decide which permissions they have: 

  • Can edit: Any team member you give this permission to can add, edit, delete, share, or download files in that folder.
  • Can view: Any team member you give this permission to can view, download, share, and comment on files in the shared folder, but not add, edit, or delete files.
highlighter icon

Note: Team admins may change default link sharing settings, but team members can still choose who they want to share the link with.

Not using Dropbox yet? See how Dropbox makes managing file permissions easy.

What are owner, editor, and viewer roles?

Members of a shared file or folder can have one of three roles: owner, editor, or viewer.

Owner

Only one member can be the owner of a folder. The creator of a shared folder is automatically the owner, unless they change the owner to someone else. If you create a subfolder within someone else’s parent folder, then they become the owner of the subfolder.

Editor

Any member you give Can edit permission to is an editor. They can add, edit, download, share, or delete files in the shared folder.

Viewer

Any member you give Can view permission to is a viewer. They can view, download, share, and comment on files in the shared folder, but not add, edit, or delete files.

highlighter icon

Notes:

Roles and permissions for members of a shared file or folder

highlighter icon

Note: The permissions in the table below may differ for customers in a team account, because admins can manage sharing settings for their team.

 

 

Owner

Editor

Viewer

File and folder actions

 

 

 

View folder members and their roles

View folder contents

Edit folder contents

Comment on files in folder

*

Unshare folder

Download folder contents check mark
check mark check mark

Member actions

 

 

 

Invite and remove members

*‡

Cancel invites and reinvite members

*

Determine who can be invited to the folder

Determine who can manage membership

of the folder

Make another member the owner

Change roles of other members

*

Email members

Move a shared folder into a team folder §

Leave the folder

*This is the default setting for shared folders. The owner of a shared folder can change this setting.

†Owners can only unshare a folder if the folder doesn’t have any shared folders inside of it and the folder isn’t inside another shared folder.

‡If a shared folder is created within a team account, only members of that team can invite and remove members.

§This only applies to team accounts.

How to manage your default sharing settings

To manage your default sharing settings:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click your avatar (profile picture or initials) in the top right.
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click the Sharing tab.
  5. Choose your default settings.
    • Use Who has access to manage who can open your shared links.
      • Anyone with the link: All the links you share are public. Anyone can open them.
      • Only people invited: Only people you invite can access your files and folders. If someone who wasn’t invited receives the link, they can’t open it.
      • Team members: Only other members on your team account can access your files and folders.
    • Use What people can do to manage whether people can edit the files and folders you share.
      • Can edit: Anyone who can open the shared link can edit the file.
      • Can view: Anyone who can open the shared link can view and comment on the file, but not edit it.
highlighter icon

Note: These settings won’t apply when you share from a mobile device, or when you copy and paste a link from the address bar.

The changes you make to default sharing settings won’t be applied to existing shared links. Only new links will use this setting.

How to change a member’s access to a shared folder

To change a member's access to a shared folder:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the folder you’d like to change permissions for and click Share.
  3. Click Who can access.
  4. Click the dropdown next to a member’s name to manage their access.
  5. Select Can edit, Can view, or Remove.
    • If you select Remove, choose if you want to leave the member a copy of the shared folder. Then tap Remove again.
  1. Open the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  2. Right-click the folder you’d like to manage.
  3. Select Share… next to the Dropbox icon. 
  4. Click Who can access.
  5. Click the dropdown next to a member’s name to manage their access.
  6. Select Can edit, Can view, or Remove.
    • If you select Remove, choose if you want to leave the member a copy of the shared folder. Then tap Remove again.
  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “” (vertical ellipsis on Android) or “” (ellipsis on iOS) next to the folder you’d like to change.
  3. Tap Manage Access (Android) or Folder settings (iOS).
  4. Tap the area below [x] members.
  5. Tap a member’s name to manage their access
    • Tap User Permission (Android) or tap Access (iOS) to choose Can edit or Can view.
    • To remove members, tap Remove member, then tap Remove member again (Android), or tap Remove access, then tap Remove access again (iOS).
highlighter icon

Note: Granting edit or view access for a parent folder will allow that access level to all subfolders within that parent folder as well.

How to prevent members from inviting other people to a shared folder

If you're the owner of a shared folder, you can prevent members from inviting other people to the folder.

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the folder you’d like to change permissions for and click Share.
  3. Click the gear icon in the top right.
  4. Click the dropdown next to Manage access
  5. Select Team members who can edit or Only the owner.
  6. Click Save.
  1. Open the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  2. Right-click the folder you’d like to manage.
  3. Select Share… next to the Dropbox icon. 
  4. Click the gear icon in the top right.
  5. Click the dropdown next to Manage access.
  6. Select Team members who can edit or Only the owner.
  7. Click Save.

Android

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “ (vertical ellipsis) next to the folder you’d like to manage.
  3. Tap Manage access.
  4. Tap Who can manage membership of this folder.
  5. Select Anyone with edit access or Only the owner.
     

iOS

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “” (ellipsis) next to the folder you’d like to manage.
  3. Tap Folder settings.
  4. Tap Who can manage membership of this folder
  5. Select Anyone with edit access or Only the owner.

What's a permission conflict?

A permission conflict happens when you try to add a file to a folder that you don’t have access to. When this happens, Dropbox will create a new folder within your team member folder named “[filename] (permission conflicts)”.

How do I resolve a permission conflict?

The best way to resolve a permission conflict is to request edit access to the original folder and add your file. You can then delete the permission conflict file. 

If you want edit access to a folder, you can request it directly from the file owner. You can reach out to your admin if you don’t know who the file owner is. 

If you’re the owner of the shared folder, you can follow the instructions above to change the folder permissions to allow more people to edit.

Was this article helpful?

We’re sorry to hear that.
Let us know how we can improve.

Thanks for your feedback!
Let us know how this article helped.

Thanks for your feedback!

Community answers

Other ways to get help