How to set or change shared link permissions

Updated Feb 14, 2024
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The features listed below are only available to customers on Dropbox Professional, Essentials, Standard, Advanced, Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise.
Get advanced settings when you upgrade your Dropbox account. Learn how and view plans.

If you share a link to a file or folder with someone, you can decide who can see the contents of the link, and what they can do with the link.
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Note: You can only delete shared links that you create. If you invite someone to a file or folder with edit access, they can create their own link to share with someone else. You can’t manage those shared links, so be sure to only share with people you trust. If you’re an admin on a Dropbox team, you can control the link settings for everyone. Learn how to manage shared link settings for your team.

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Note:
Dropbox is moving to an updated shared link architecture where links are based on content rather than on users. This will affect how links are created and shared. The new links can be identified by the presence of an ‘rlkey’ parameter in the URL. For these links, the above behavior will perform differently:

  • If you have edit access to a file or folder, you can delete any shared links that were created for that file or folder.
  • Users with view-only access can only create view-only links, but users with edit access can create both edit or view-only links if links have not been created already.
  • View-only and edit links are different. You‘re unable to change a view-only link into an edit link or vice versa.

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Note: The link customization options below only apply to shared links you create. If you give someone access to a file or folder, your link customizations won’t apply to any shared link they create.

Add passwords to shared links

Customers on Dropbox Professional, Essentials, Standard, Advanced, Business, Business Plus, and Enterprise to a shared link on dropbox.com or on the Dropbox mobile app. When someone opens the link, they'll need the password to see its contents.


To add a password to a shared file on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com. 
  2. Hover over the name of the file and click the share icon (rectangle with an up arrow).
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click either Link for editing or Link for viewing depending on which link you’d like to add a password to.
  5. Next to Require password, click to toggle it On.
    • If you’re adding a password to a view-only link, next to Who has access, choose People with password.
  6. Set a password.
  7. Click Save.


To add a password to a shared folder on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the name of the folder and click the share icon.
  3. If a link hasn’t been created, click Create then copy link.
  4. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner.
  5. Click Link for Viewing.
  6. Next to Who has access, choose People with password.
  7. Set a password.
  8. Click Save.


To add a password to a shared link on the Dropbox mobile app for Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “ (vertical ellipsis) next to the file or folder you’d like to add a password to.
  3. Tap Share.
  4. Select Link for editing or Link for viewing, depending on which link you’d like to add a password to.
  5. Tap Modify settings.
  6. Toggle Require password to on.
  7. Enter a password.
  8. Tap Set.
  9. Tap Save.


To add a password to a shared link on the Dropbox mobile app for iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “" (ellipsis) next to the file or folder you’d like to add a password to.
  3. Tap Folder settings or File settings.
  4. Tap Edit link or View link (folder), or tap Control access (file).
  5. Toggle Require password to on.
  6. Enter a password.
  7. Tap Save in the top right corner..

If someone tries to view a file using a shared link that requires a password, they’ll be asked to enter a password. 

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Note:

Dropbox is moving to an updated shared link architecture where links are based on content rather than on users. This will affect how links are created and shared. The new links can be identified by the presence of an ‘rlkey’ parameter in the URL. For these links, the above behavior will perform differently:

  • If a password is added to a shared link after its creation, recipients who have already added the shared file or folder to their Dropbox accounts will retain their access and won’t need to enter that password.

What if I forget my password for the link or want to change it?

You can reset the password for any link you've shared in the same way that you set the password. If you’ve forgotten the password, you can create a new password, or you can always disable the link. For security reasons, we never display your existing passwords.

Learn how to disable a link.

As a member of a Dropbox team account, does the admin for my team have control over the passwords I set?

While admins can’t set passwords for the links you create, they can control whether you’re able to set them. They can also restrict all shared links to team-only.

Admins: learn how to make links team-only.

Set expiration dates for your shared links

Dropbox Professional, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise customers can create, modify, or remove an expiration date for a shared link on dropbox.com or on the Dropbox mobile app. People will only be able to access the shared link until the expiration date. After its expiration date, that link is disabled.
 

To set an expiration date for a shared link on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the name of the file or folder and click the share icon (rectangle with an up arrow).
  3. In the popup window, click Settings.
  4. Click either Link for editing or Link for viewing depending on which link you’d like to set an expiration date for.
  5. Next to Expiration, click to toggle it On. 
  6. Choose when you’d like the link to expire. The shared link expires at 11:59 PM on the day you choose, based on your time zone.
  7. Click Save for the expiration date to be applied to the link.

To set an expiration date for a shared link on the Dropbox mobile app for Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “ (vertical ellipsis) next to the file or folder you’d like to add a password to.
  3. Tap Share.
  4. Select Link for editing or Link for viewing, depending on which link you’d like to add an expiration date to.
  5. Tap Modify settings.
  6. Toggle Set expiration date to on.
  7. Select a date on the calendar.
  8. Tap OK.
  9. Tap Save.

The shared link expires at 11:59 PM on the day you choose, based on your time zone.
 

To set an expiration date for a shared link on the Dropbox mobile app for iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap “" (ellipsis) next to the file or folder you’d like to add a password to.
  3. Tap Folder settings or File settings.
  4. Tap Edit link or View link (folder), or tap Control access (file).
  5. Toggle Set expiration date to on.
  6. Select a date on the calendar.
  7. Tap Save.

The shared link expires at 11:59 PM on the day you choose, based on your time zone.
 

Once saved, you can copy and paste the link to an email or send it directly through Dropbox. Once the link expires, you need to create a new link to share the file or folder again.

What does a shared link with an expiration date look like for the people I share it with?

Recipients will be able to see the shared link page as normal. They won't be able to see the expiration date.

Can I change the expiration date?

You can change an expiration date by following the steps listed above.

What happens if someone I share the link with accesses it after the expiration date?

If someone visits a link after it expires, they'll see an error that says "This link is expired." To give that person access to the file, create another link and share it with them. Learn how to create and share links to files and folders.

I'm a Dropbox team member. Does my admin have any control over the expirations I set?

Admins can assign a default expiration date for team shared links. If you’re a Dropbox admin, learn how to set a default expiration date for shared links created by your team.

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Note: Dropbox is moving to an updated shared link architecture where links are based on content rather than on users. This will affect how links are created and shared. The new links can be identified by the presence of an ‘rlkey’ parameter in the URL. For these links, the above behavior will perform differently:

  • Shared link recipients who add the shared file or folder to their Dropbox accounts will retain their access after the shared link expires.

Disable downloads for a shared link

Dropbox Professional, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise customers can disable downloads for a shared link on dropbox.com or on the Dropbox mobile app. 

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Important note: Disabling downloads for a shared link prevents people from downloading the contents of a link through Dropbox. This doesn’t prevent people from saving the content using other methods.

To disable downloads for a shared link on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the name of the file or folder and click the share icon (rectangle with an up arrow).
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click either Link for editing or Link for viewing depending on which link you’d like to disable downloads for.
  5. Next to Disable downloads, click to toggle it On.
  6. Click Save.
     

To disable downloads for a shared link on the Dropbox mobile app:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap a file to open its preview page.
  3. Tap “” (ellipsis) in the upper right corner. 
  4. Tap Manage Access.
  5. Tap View link settings.
  6. Next to Disable downloads, click to toggle it On.
  7. Tap Done.

You can share this link through Dropbox or by pasting the link into an email or chat. 

Recipients can preview the file on dropbox.com, but the Download button will be grayed out and won’t be clickable. If a recipient hovers over Download button, they’ll see “Downloads disabled.”

If previews aren’t supported for type of file you’re sharing, you’ll see the error “[file type] files can’t be previewed. Downloads must be enabled to share.” Downloads can’t be disabled for that file. 

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Note: Dropbox is moving to an updated shared link architecture where links are based on content rather than on users. This will affect how links are created and shared. The new links can be identified by the presence of an ‘rlkey’ parameter in the URL. For these links, the above behavior will perform differently:

  • Disabling downloads for the view-only folder link will also prohibit link recipients from adding that folder to their Dropbox.

Limit access to shared links to members of your team

To limit shared link access to members of your team on dropbox.com:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the name of the file or folder and click the share icon (rectangle with an up arrow).
  3. In the popup, click Settings.
  4. Click either Link for editing or Link for viewing depending on which link you’d like to limit access to.
  5. Next to Who has access, select Team members from the dropdown menu.
  6. Click Save.
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Note: Shared view access links and shared links for web-based files can still be shared externally. Non-team members can create their own shared links based on their access and settings.

highlight icon

Note: Dropbox is moving to an updated shared link architecture where links are based on content rather than on users. This will affect how links are created and shared. The new links can be identified by the presence of an ‘rlkey’ parameter in the URL. For these links, the above behavior will perform differently:

  • If you have edit access to a file or folder, you can delete any shared links that were created for that file or folder.
  • Users with view-only access can only create view-only links, but users with edit access can create both edit or view-only links if links have not been created already.
  • View-only and edit links are different. You‘re unable to change a view-only link into an edit link or vice versa.
  • Only one edit link and one view-only link can exist per file or folder.

To limit shared link access to members of your team on the Dropbox mobile app:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap a file to open its preview page.
  3. Tap “” (ellipsis) in the upper right corner. 
  4. Tap Manage Access.
  5. Tap View link settings.
  6. Tap Link access.
  7. Select Team Members from the menu.
  8. Tap Done.

Once saved, you can copy and paste the link to an email or send it directly through Dropbox.

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