How To Use Dropbox to Share and Store Files In The Cloud

Not too long ago it seemed like USB sticks and email accounts where you could forward important attachments were all the rage.  But, today, in the age of cloud computing there is a new way to access your own information and share it and that is in the cloud.  Whether you’ve got a mobile phone, iPad, Facebook account or other digital presence chances are you’ve got a lot of photos, files, videos and other data in different places.  For example, my wife asked me the other day “I just want an easy way to share my photos without going on Facebook, why does that have to be so hard?” and I have to agree with her. With all the technological advancements we’ve seen in the last decade I find it hard to believe that this isn’t a more common issue. We’ve become more mobile in our daily lives and in turn technology has created a lot of gaps and disconnection.

Now we’ve got iPhones, iPads, tablets, smart phones and conventional cameras all taking photos, shooting video, creating files and storing them in different ways on different devices and its confusing to keep track of them all.

Today I wanted to show you a service that allows you to store and share files and photos across multiple devices whether its your iPad or iPhone, a droid device or your home computer.  Dropbox is a service that as their slogan allows you to “simplify your life” and I am going to show you just how it can simplify yours.  The first thing that you need to do to start using Dropbox is sign up for a free account which gives you 2 GB of storage.  Feel free to click here to signup for your account today!

Now that you’ve signed up for an account with Dropbox let’s walk through some of the things that you can use this service for including sharing files and folders with your friends, looking at events of your files on dropbox, restoring deleted files, get more space for free and being able to access your files from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

Events and Restoring Files in Dropbox

Events and the ability to restore files that you’ve deleted in Dropbox makes this service very useful.  Let’s have a look at this in greater depth.

Now that we’ve logged into Dropbox and found the events on our Dropbox account you’ll notice that this logs changes to content.  Whether you’ve added or deleted content this stores all changes to content in your Dropbox account.  Let’s have a look and see how you can restore a file after its been deleted in Dropbox.

Step 1: Go to Events in your Dropbox account

Step 2: Click on the file name of file that you want to restore

Step 3: After you’ve clicked on the file you will see the associated versions of the file and can restore to a specific version saved in your Dropbox account

Step 4: After clicking the “Restore” button you will notice that the file has been restored to your Dropbox account

Now that we’ve restored a file in Dropbox we are going to talk about sharing files and folders with other people either with Dropbox accounts and more importantly without Dropbox accounts.

Sharing Files and Folders in Dropbox

First off lets look at how you can create folders that are shared with other Dropbox account owners.  As you can see when you click on the sharing section of Dropbox you will be prompted to create a new shared folder.

Step 1: When you click on the “New Shared Folder” button for the first time you will be asked to verify your email address to share folders.

Step 2: Once you do finish verifying your email address you can go ahead and create your shared folder from either an existing folder on your Dropbox account or a new folder.

Step 3: The last step to creating a shared folder in your Dropbox account is to invite people to your shared folder which you can do by typing their email addresses or importing your contacts and typing a brief message inviting them to the folder.

Step 4: Once you click the “Share folder” button your contacts will be emailed about the shared folder and will receive an email similar to the one below allowing them to access the shared folder.

When they click on the “View Folder” button in the email that they receive they can see any files in the shared folder and will be able to upload files to this shared folder.  Please note that anyone that you invite to the shared folder will need to sign up for a Dropbox account in order to have access to this folder.

Sharing Files in Dropbox

If you are looking for a way to share files with people that don’t have a Dropbox account then this can be done through sharing links.  Sharing a link to a file is the only way to share with non-users of Dropbox and it allows you to quickly email a link to content from your Dropbox account.

Step 1: Once you click on the “Share Link” icon to the right of the file you want to share you will come to a screen that allows you to add or import contacts that you want to email the file.

Step 2: As you can see above, there is the option to generate an email with your shared file or simply get the link and share it on your own or through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and others.

I can personally see a lot of uses for Dropbox and with the ability to share files with users and non-users this service is not only useful but helpful as more and more people move to the cloud and ultimately store less and less data on their devices and computers.  With Dropbox, I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t sign up for an account.  This is a technology that is definitely worth checking out today.  Click here to have a closer look at Dropbox.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Luc – great article. I do have a burning question though. Can you share a Dropbox file/folder to people who sign up or pay for an ebook on your website? Dropbox used to have a ‘shareable link’ option – but I can’t seem to find it on Dropbox now. Do you know how to set this up? Greatly appreciated.

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