Share files easily with Dropbox
Mac Tip #375, 11 March 2009
The problem: files on your computer are needed elsewhere.
The solution: Dropbox — drag, drop, available.
I’ll email you the file, you edit it and send it back, then I’ll send you the final version.
I imagine you’ve participated in this kind of email ping pong before now. I certainly have! It’s fraught with forgotten attachments, keeping track of versions, and emails lost to spam filters.
There’s an easier and more efficient way to share files, and it’s free. It’s called Dropbox.
Download and install the Dropbox software, and sign up for a free account. Then you, and others if you let them, can access your files from any computer that also has the Dropbox software (Windows, Mac, or Linux). You can also access files through a web page.
Here are some ways I use Dropbox:
- I use the fabulous 1Password to store all my passwords. I keep the password file in my Dropbox, so it doesn’t matter whether I’m using my MacBook Pro or my MacBook, I still have exactly the same set of passwords.
- I keep files I’m working on in my Dropbox folder, so I can access them whichever Mac I’m using.
- I’ve shared one folder with my partner. Any files I put in that folder just show up on her Mac after a few moments, and vice versa.
- I put photos I’d like others to see in the Dropbox Photos folder. It saves me having to make a web page or upload them to an online service or album. See a few photos of the Paddy the Wanderer drinking fountain in Wellington, New Zealand.
All your files are also visible to you from behind a password protected web page. You can do some interesting things at that web page, such as deleting files, or reverting a file to how it was before you edited it.
In the short time I’ve been using it Dropbox has become one of the essential applications on my Macs.
One caution: files you add to the Dropbox folder on your Mac are uploaded to the Internet. In places like New Zealand, where we have a monthly limit on Internet traffic, adding too many large files may use up our monthly allowance. I do not keep my 22Gb of photos in that folder, for example.
Dropbox gives you 2 Gb of space free of charge. I’ve used about 10% of that. If you use the link I’ve provided above to sign up I will be given an additional amount up to 3GB of extra space. I don’t need it, but it can’t hurt.
And for my readers, for a while, a free gift, if you choose to download it: 6 Tips for finding Files with MacTips (800Kb, PDF). I’ve shared it via my Dropbox Public folder.
Have you downloaded and tried out Dropbox? How did it work for you? Please let us know in the Comments.