Preview files in Dropbox

Updated Apr 25, 2024
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This article describes a feature available to all Dropbox users.

A file preview allows you to view, comment on, and share files without downloading them. You can also edit PDFs and images while previewing them. Learn more about editing PDFs in Dropbox.

To preview a file on or the mobile app, click the name of the file. There you can preview your file, download, share, and view or tag people in the comments.

Depending on the file type, you may also be able to edit the file or add a signature.

While previewing files within a folder, you can navigate between them by tapping the arrows on your keyboard or by clicking the arrows at the top of the screen on, or by swiping left or right on the Dropbox mobile app for iOS.

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


FAQs about previewing files in Dropbox

How can I preview a file?

You can preview files in either full screen or quick view. 

To preview your files on

  1. Log in to
  2. Navigate to All files.
  3. Click the name of a file to open its preview.

If you’re using quick view, when you click the name of a file to preview it, you'll see a visual of the file on the right side. From here, you can take actions such as star, share, or open the file. This setting will persist unless you change back to full screen previews.

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  • You can change your view by clicking the preview icon (half-gray square) in the top right, above the file list. Then, select Full screen or Quick view.
  • With quick view, you can view similar files based on the contents of the file you're previewing. When you click Find similar files in the bottom-right corner, any similar files you have access to will appear under the file preview. This feature is available to customers on a paid Dropbox account. As indicated by the AI icon, similar files are identified by an internal AI model.

Why can’t I preview my file? 

If you see an error message when you try to preview a file, visit this article.

If not, check that your file type is supported.

If your file type isn’t supported or won’t preview, you can download it to your computer and open it in an application on your computer to view it.

Why am I only seeing the first page of my file? 

If you’re trying to preview one of the following file types, you’ll only be able to preview the first page or frame of your file. You’ll be able to see the rest of the pages if you download and open the file. 

  • .numbers
  • .pages
  • .key
  • .kth

Why is the date uploaded on my file more recent than the date modified?

Dropbox preserves the date your file was modified when you upload it through the Dropbox desktop app. For example, this can happen if you last modified a file 3 months ago but uploaded it yesterday. 

Can I open hyperlinks from a preview?

Yes, you can open links while you’re previewing a file. When you click an embedded link, you may see a pop-up window that shows you the url you’re navigating to.

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