Sharing a folder with another Dropbox user is easy to set up and administer, but there are a few of points to remember:
1) Any file in the shared folder that either party adds, removes, or amends is reflected in the other party’s folder. If I put some pictures in a folder shared between you and me then you will have those pictures in your folder as soon as Dropbox has uploaded them from my machine and downloaded them to yours. If you look at the pictures and then decide you don’t want to keep them, then you can delete them. Dropbox will then delete them from my folder as well.
So, if I’m going to share pictures with you, it’s prudent for me to keep copies of the shared pictures (in a different folder) as I can’t be sure that you won’t delete them from the shared folder. Indeed, if sharing things like photos on a regular basis, it would probably be best practice for the recipient to move the files elsewhere as soon as receiving them. That way, the shared folder is kept clean (for both sender and receiver) and the sender knows that the receiver has got them.
2) Another reason for keeping shared folders “clean” (if possible) is that you don’t know how much room the other person has in their Dropbox folder. They may be close to filling their initial 2gb allocation of free space or they may have lots of space, provided by one of the paid Dropbox plans. You have no way of knowing.
3) Each of us could have many folders that we are sharing with a variety of people. This can very easily become confusing in terms of who is sharing what with whom. The easiest way to keep track of this is to name the folder in a meaningful way. For instance, don’t call a shared file “Corsica 2013”. Don’t even call it “Corsica 2013 – shared with Jill” as that is exactly the name of the folder that Jill will receive and later on she may not remember who shared the folder with her (unless she went to Corsica with you in 2013, of course). The best way to name it is something like “Corsica 2013 – shared between Fred and Jill”. Long folder names like this can become very unwieldy, so a bit of “meaningful shorthand” might help.
To share a folder in Dropbox:
- Go to your Dropbox folder in Windows Explorer (or from the tray icon).
- Create a folder inside your Dropbox folder in the normal way (right-click on an empty part of the screen and then click on the “new” and “folder” menu options).
- Right-click on the Dropbox icon in your system tray (it is a blue icon of an open box).
- Click on the option to “Launch Dropbox Website”.
- Right-click on the folder you just created and that you wish to share.
- Left-click on the option to “Invite to Folder”.
- Type in the email address(es) of the person/people you wish to share with and (optionally) add a personal message.
- Click on the blue button called “share folder”
That’s it. The other person/people will then receive an email and will just need to follow the instructions contained in it.
And, remember, if you are currently a user of the free Dropbox plan, then you can increase your initial 2gb space allocation by various means, including referring other people to Dropbox.
If you are not currently a Dropbox user and would like to become one, then just follow this link to sign up to a free Dropbox account.