We all have Dropbox accounts, and most people throw a few pictures up there and forget about them. But there’s so much more Dropbox can do for you. If you’re a productivity/organizational freak, this is your chance to maximize your Dropbox potential — it’s not just a folder. It’s a tool to simplify your work and personal life.
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Learn how to assure access to any file, at any time, no matter where you are or what devices you have. From the bars to the beach, you’ll never be without your most precious files and photos.
Whether you’re sharing files with your co-horts, co-workers, or co-habitators, we have strategies that work.
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Below you’ll find excerpts from just a few of the chapters in The Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide.
You can also download a PDF of the Table of Contents here.
Chances are, you’ve heard of Dropbox before. You might even use it occasionally, or even daily. That’s great, because Dropbox is a fantastic service that can significantly improve the way we use our computers and mobile devices. Beyond that, it can improve our quality of life and give us more free time for more important things.
Whether you’re pretty new to Dropbox or have several years of experience under your belt, there’s still something about the service that you can learn about, and that’s why we’ve written this book.
In 30 minutes, you can have Dropbox installed, all of your Word documents and tax files synchronized, and be well on your way to uploading a large portion of your photo collection. Using Dropbox is simple, but also really powerful.
In a few hours, you could be an expert in using Dropbox and improving your workflows, productivity, and peace of mind.
Let’s start at square one, what is Dropbox? The answer is beautifully simple: a folder.
Dropbox is a folder that exists on your computer, and it works just like every other folder on your computer. Photos, videos, documents, receipts, scans, and on and on. If it exists on your computer, it works with Dropbox.
Everything you put into the Dropbox folder is copied to a little place in the cloud that is all yours. This is exactly what technology commercials mean when they say your files “live in the cloud.” Dropbox servers all over the world are storing your files and making them accessible—cloud is just a buzzword that demonstrates that the technology works no matter where you are. According to the Dropbox terms of service, your data does not belong to Dropbox, and only you can control it. We cover this concept in more detail in the Security Chapter.
Dropbox offers the convenience of a thumb drive without the hassle of carrying one around all the time. Even better, it’s like a thumb drive that you can let other people access, sharing files in real time without anyone ever needing to have an actual drive. Dropbox provides peace of mind, because it functions as a backup, in case anything ever happens to your computer’s hard drive.
And, of course, Dropbox has mobile apps that work with every major platform—and even some of the not-so-major ones as well—allowing you to access your virtual thumb drive from your phone as well.
Where is the Dropbox folder?
Dropbox can be found in two different places on your computer, which are pretty similar regardless if you’re a Windows or a Mac user.
In Windows, the Dropbox app is always present in the task tray. The task tray is the area at the bottom-right portion of the screen where the clock lives. The Dropbox app looks like a 3D blue box. Click it to open a small menu.
Mac OS X
In Mac OS X, the Dropbox app is always present in the menu bar. The menu bar is the strip that runs across the top of the screen. The Dropbox app is on the right side of the menu bar, along with a few other icons. It looks like a 3D blue box. Click it to open a small menu.
Both Windows and Mac
When you click the menu, you can see recently uploaded files, as well as an icon to launch the Dropbox website (the globe icon), and an icon to open the Dropbox folder (the folder icon) on your computer. You can also access the settings for the Dropbox app from this menu, but we’ll cover that later.
Windows Explorer and Mac OS X Finder
The other way you can open your Dropbox folder is through the operation system’s file browser. In Windows, this is Windows Explorer. In Mac OS X, this is called Finder. In both of these systems, the Dropbox folder is in the left sidebar of the window. Just click the Dropbox folder and the contents display in the file browser. See Fig. 2-1.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of using Dropbox, you’re ready to take on the more powerful features that Dropbox offers, which can save you time, energy, and frustration later on. Now let’s tackle some of the advanced features that will help you work smarter and impress your coworkers.
There are new applications and integrations created every day that unlock more potential for the way you use Dropbox with your computers and devices. The following are some common tips that many Dropbox users swear by.
Get More Space
Let’s start with getting you some additional free space. Basically, Dropbox asks you to do five simple things in order to get an extra 250 MB of space. It may not seem like much, but that’s a lot of extra space for documents, photos, and a lot more. And this is just the first opportunity to gain free space on your account. If you make a habit of taking advantage of these opportunities, you can gain significant room on your account (we know people who have over 13 GB of free space, that’s almost 600% of what Dropbox gives you to start with!)
Dropbox provides you with some serious time-savers, and also ways to keep all of your data with you across all devices. A bunch of these tips are pretty hacky and a little advanced, but they can save you loads of time after you’ve set them up.
Consolidate Your iTunes Library
It’s not uncommon to have several iTunes libraries in your home, and there’s a good chance that a lot of that music or video content is duplicated. You can merge all your media into one main library using Dropbox, so that everyone in your house can access it from anywhere.
To get started, move one of your iTunes libraries to Dropbox. If you missed how to do this earlier, check it out here. After you’ve moved one library to Dropbox, continue copying the other media folders to the same location. Since these are probably large folders, it will take some time to copy them and update iTunes.
After iTunes is updated, you can locate duplicate items and get rid of them to save space. Use the View > Show Duplicate Items command to do this.
At this point, it’s time for everyone in your home to point their iTunes app to the new shared library. Do this in the Advanced tab of the iTunes preferences pane. Just click Change and select the new location. Now you can all access all of your music from one spot!
Definitive guidance and advice to everything Dropbox. We go way beyond just simple file syncing to show you how to make Dropbox the most important tool on your computer, while providing safety for your files and important documents among everyone you care about.BUY NOW $29.00
In addition to the Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide, we’ll be sending you these three great mini guides!
These fine folks have used our guide to make them better people, or at least better at using Dropbox.
I am so glad Jeff wrote this book. We are all using Dropbox but very few of us are taking advantage of its power features. A book like this was overdue.
My most important work goes in Dropbox. Its seamless user experience is an integral part of my workflow.
I love that Dropbox has eliminated my nagging ‘have I backed up?’ worries.
Dropbox syncs and backs up my entire client file library. The number of times it’s saved my bacon has been too many times for a lover of bacon to keep track of.
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