MacMost Now 607: Sharing Files With DropBox

In addition to using DropBox to sync files between your Macs, you can also use it to share files with friends. You can make a file public and provide your friends with a link to it. You can also share a folder between friends with DropBox accounts. There is even a special photo galleries folder that will allow you to share photos easily.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 607: Sharing Files With DropBox.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's learn how to share files with friends using DropBox.
Way back in episode 3-30, I showed you how to sync files between your Macs using DropBox. Now with Mobile-me* going away and with an i-desk*, DropBox becomes even more important. This is a primary service for not only syncing files between Macs, but also sharing files. Because you can put files in your DropBox folder and have other people have access to them. It's a really quick, easy way to share large files with people if you don't have access to ftp servers or some other file sharing service.
Let me show you how.
Now of course the first thing you need to do is to have a DropBox account. You can go to, set one up and then it will pump you to download the application which then runs on your Mac.
You usually get a little control here at the top and you could open your DropBox folder. I've already done that and I've got this special DropBox folder on my Mac now.
Anything I put in that DropBox folder will sync automatically with the DropBox service. So to upload something, all you need to do is actually put it in this folder. So it's just as simple as dragging and dropping files to another folder on Mac.
For instance, over here I have my documents folder. Let me go and take this test.rtf and I'm going to drag it over here and stick it in my DropBox folder. Now I want to be careful. If I drop it in there, notice how it actually moved it from this folder. It's gone. It actually exists now in my DropBox folder.
Instead I'm going to put it back and I'm going to ‘option' and drag. Holding the options key down makes a copy of it which then puts it in the DropBox folder leaving the original there. So it depends how you want to operate.
Now notice that it took a second there and then it got a green checkmark saying that it automatically synced with the DropBox server. That means it's up at the server and stored on the internet.
Now if I want to share this with somebody else I have two different options. One is ‘share publicly' and other is to share it with a specific friend or a group of friends. If I want to share it publicly I want to put it in the public folder here, not in the main DropBox folder. So now if I look in the public folder in DropBox, you can see that I've got my test.rtf file.
I can select it and if I control-click on it and go to DropBox, you can see I got ‘copy public link'. I copy that link there and then if I were to go to Safari and paste that link in there; it would then go to that file and automatically download it.
I can also paste that link into an email message and send it to a friend and say, ‘hey the file you want is right here'.
Now in addition I can go to my web browser and go to and log-in with that same account that I was using on my Mac. And here I get to see a list of files. So here under DropBox is just like the four photos in public I can go into public, I can see that test.rtf file there. And there is an action-arrow there where I can actually copy the public link from there as well.
Now I can also create another shared folder. Let's do that. Let's share a folder and give it a name [‘For my friends'] and after I give it a name I then have to list the recipients email addresses, email addresses with DropBox accounts – that's the important thing and then an email message will go to that person. Let's do one.
I shared a folder and now I get this ‘For my friends' folder. I can go up a level and see it's there ‘For my friends'.
Now the cool thing that will happen is once I put and email and confirms that I do want to share this folder with them anything that I put in this DropBox folder... I will actually leave Safari and go in here and you can see that one level up now I have created ‘For my friends' folder on my Mac. Anything I put in there will actually see in ‘For my friends' folder as well. We will actually be syncing this folder between our Macs. So I can drop a file in there and they can pull it out.
So it's a great way to send files to somebody and have them removed from your drop box when they get them.
In addition to that if you go back into DropBox in the website, there is a photos folder. This is a special folder, specially made for sharing photo albums. So you can drop photos in here. You can actually go in and you can create a new folder. You can see in here I've got a photos album on my Mac. There is a sample album and in that there are some sample photos [??*4:34]. I can add more photos to this. And what happens with that sample album, I can control-click on it and I can ‘Copy the Public Gallery Link'. So now when I actually paste that into my browser, you can see it's got this long link here. It actually gives me a gallery link of those photos.
So it's really a quick way to create a photo gallery if without having to use flicker* or [??*5:04] or something else. Just drag and drop photos in here, give somebody this public link and you got a quick little photo album with DropBox.
So there are three ways to share a folder using DropBox. Give somebody a public link; share a folder between your two DropBoxes or for photos, create a quick photo-gallery in DropBox.
And these are all great as it substitutes for emailing of files, because email systems are not really good to support very large files. And they are also good for collaboration. You can send somebody a file, they can work on it, send it back to you, and you can go back and forth like that.
Hope you find it useful. See you next time.
This is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 6 Responses to “MacMost Now 607: Sharing Files With DropBox”

    8 years ago

    I’ve been using DropBox for at least 2 years now. It’s a great tool! Thanks for the well organized tutorial.

    8 years ago

    I thought iCloud was out or coming out soon, so I’m wondering why Dropbox, and not the new iCloud. Would you please explain? Thanks so much for all you do.

      8 years ago

      iCloud does not include this functionality. In fact, it is much more like iDisk, which is part of MobileMe — one of the parts of MobileMe that will be going away when MobileMe is gone in June.

        8 years ago

        Thank you. Now it makes sense.

    7 years ago

    Hi Garry,
    What’s the best way to protect dropbox folders?

      7 years ago

      Protect in what way, specifically? What is it you are trying to do?

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