How to make your team’s files online-only to manage hard drive space

Updated Mar 25, 2024
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The information in this article applies to certain types of admins on Dropbox Professional, Essentials, Standard, Business, Advanced, Business Plus, and Enterprise plans.

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Note: This feature is not currently available to users with Dropbox for macOS on File Provider.

As an admin, you can use to make files online-only so they don’t take up hard drive space. This article explains how admins can manage online-only settings for their teams.

Certain types of admins can change the default setting for new files stored and synced in Dropbox. Two things to consider are:

  • Online-only files are stored online and can only be accessed with an internet connection on Once a file is made online-only, it won’t take up storage space on your computer or mobile device, but it will take up space on
  • Files that you make available offline are stored locally on your computer or mobile, so they do take up storage space. You don’t need access to the internet to open or interact with these files.

If you make changes to an offline file or folder while you’re not connected to the internet, those changes won’t automatically sync between your offline device and the others devices you use to access Dropbox. The changes will sync once you are back online. Learn more about how Dropbox syncs your files.

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Note: The Dropbox system extension allows you to open online-only files from File Explorer (Windows), Finder (Mac), or third-party applications. Team admins also have the option to uninstall the Dropbox system extension from team members’ computers.

How to manage your team’s default file sync settings on

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Note: The settings an admin chooses here affect all team members.

To manage the default sync settings for your team:

  1. Log in to with your admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin console in the left sidebar.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar.
  4. In the Content section, click Sync.
  5. Next to Set new files default, click your preferred default setting:
    • Set the dropdown to Online-only to make any new file added to a team member’s Dropbox account default to online-only.
    • Set the dropdown to Local to make any new file added to a team member’s Dropbox account default to available offline.
  6. Next to Save hard drive space automatically, click On or Off from the dropdown. 
    • Note: This setting makes files that team members haven’t opened in a few months automatically become online-only.

Team members can make individual files and folders online-only or local on their own computers and go back to managing their own settings at any time.

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