Dropbox Training

Looking for a way to synchronize your files among your computers and online? Dropbox may be the solution you’re looking for. This tool is an easy way to backup, synchronize and share your files. Dropbox can be used from within your browser and/or installed on your computer(s), and it works with Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, as well as mobile phones and the iPad.

Goals

Upon completion of this training, you will be able to:

Training

Installing Dropbox

Dropbox can be installed on computers running Windows, Mac, and Linux via the download link at http://www.dropbox.com. You can also go to the specific download pages listed below.

Windows Installation

1. Go to https://www.dropbox.com/downloading?os=win to download Dropbox. The download dialog box should pop up automatically, but if it doesn’t, refresh the page to restart the download. Save the Dropbox installer file to your computer.

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2. Run the Dropbox installer. You can do this either from your browser’s Downloads window or from the location to which you saved the installer.

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3. Click Install in the Dropbox setup wizard to install Dropbox on your PC.

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4. If you already have a Dropbox account, select the I already have a Dropbox account option, click Next and continue with the setup process. Otherwise, select I don’t have a Dropbox account, click Next, and follow the instructions below.

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5. Input the information for your new Dropbox account. Note that the “Computer Name” field may be automatically populated with a name such as “WS12345”. Feel free to replace this with a name that makes sense to you and is easy to remember, as it will aid in synchronizing files later on. Once all the fields are completed, click Next.

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6. You can now select the storage space for your Dropbox account. LIS recommends that you select the 2 GB option, as it is free and likely has sufficient space for your file storage needs. Click Next.

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7. You will then be presented with a brief tour of Dropbox. At the end of this tour (or if you choose to skip it), you can choose whether or not to create a desktop shortcut for Dropbox, as well as where to place your Dropbox folder on your computer. By default, your Dropbox folder will be located inside your Documents folder. Click Finish to complete Dropbox installation and setup.

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Mac Installation

1. Go to https://www.dropbox.com/downloading?os=mac to download Dropbox. The Dropbox download should begin automatically, but if it doesn’t, refresh the page to restart the download.

2. Run the Dropbox installer. From your browser’s Downloads window, double-click the .dmg file.

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3. Drag the Dropbox icon into the Applications folder (within the Installer window).

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4. You can now access and setup Dropbox from the Applications folder on your computer. Double-click the Dropbox icon there to start.

5. If you already have a Dropbox account, select the I already have a Dropbox account option, click Next, and continue with the setup process. Otherwise, select I don’t have a Dropbox account, click Next, and follow the instructions below.

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6. Input the information for your new Dropbox account. Note that the “Computer Name” field may be automatically populated with a name such as “WS12345”. Feel free to replace this with a name that makes sense to you and is easy to remember, as it will aid in synchronizing files later on. Once all the fields are completed, click Next.

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7. You can now select the storage space for your Dropbox account. LIS recommends that you select the 2 GB option, as it is free and likely has sufficient space for your file storage needs. Click Next.

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8. You will then be presented with a brief tour of Dropbox. At the end of this tour (or if you choose to skip it), you can choose whether or not to allow Dropbox to notify you when files in your Dropbox are synced, as well as where to place your Dropbox folder on your computer. By default, notifications are enabled, and your Dropbox folder will be located inside your home folder. Click Finish to complete Dropbox installation and setup.

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Saving to Your Dropbox

To add a file to your Dropbox, simply save it to the Dropbox folder you created during setup. The Dropbox folder functions identically to any other file folder on your computer. You can also log into your Dropbox account at http://www.dropbox.com and add files via the Upload button under the Files tab.

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Accessing Dropbox Files

To get a file from your Dropbox, open the Dropbox folder on your computer. Files in your Dropbox folder can be opened, edited, and saved just as if they were in a regular folder.

If you’re working on a computer that doesn’t have Dropbox installed, you can download files via your online Dropbox account. Log into dropbox.com, click the checkbox to the left of the file you wish to download, and click More actions < Download file. Note that changes made to a downloaded file will not be synchronized with your Dropbox unless you re-upload the changed file.

Organizing Your Dropbox

You can create folders within your Dropbox to help organize your folders. Within the Dropbox folder on your computer, right click and select New > Folder. You can also create a new folder from your online Dropbox via the Create folder button in the Files tab.

Note that Dropbox comes installed by default with two folders, the Public and Photos folders. Files placed within the Public folder are automatically marked for public sharing (see the “Sharing Files and Folders” section below). The Photos folder allows you to easily create online shared photo album. To do so, create a subfolder within the Photos folder; the title of this subfolder will be the name of the photo album. Any photos placed in the subfolder will be included in the album. To view the album, go to http://www.dropbox.com/photos.

Synchronizing Your Dropbox

Dropbox automatically syncs your Dropbox folder across your computers and online whenever new files or changes are detected. This works even if you have Dropbox installed on computers with different operating systems. This page discusses how Dropbox syncs your files, and you can find answers to many questions related to file synchronization here.

You can work on files in your Dropbox even while you’re offline, and the changes will be synced once you have an Internet connection again. Additionally, if you lose your connection during the synchronization process, the process will correctly resume where it left off once the connection is reacquired.

Data Backup and Recovery

Dropbox automatically backs up your files securely on its servers. You don’t need to worry about manually forcing backups of files stored in your Dropbox.

The free version of Dropbox comes with 30 days of Undo history (paid versions have the option of an unlimited Undo history). This means that if you make a change to a file in your Dropbox and save the file, Dropbox stores the old version of the file for 30 days, so you can undo the change within that period of time. You can even restore deleted files if you need them later. See https://www.dropbox.com/help/11 for instructions on how to undelete or recover old versions of files.

Sharing Files and Folders

You can share your folders with other Dropbox users. To do so, log into your online Dropbox and click the Share a folder button under the Files tab. You can then choose to create a new folder to share or to share an existing folder. Once a folder is selected, enter the email addresses of the users you wish to share your folder with (email addresses unattached to a Dropbox account will be sent an invitation to join Dropbox in order to share your folder). See https://www.dropbox.com/help/19 for detailed instructions on how to share a folder.

If someone has invited you to share a folder, an invitation will appear in the Sharing tab of your online Dropbox. Once you accept the invitation, the shared folder will appear in your Dropbox and will behave like any other folder. You can add, edit, and delete files in the shared folder, as well as invite other members to the shared folder (though only the folder owner can delete members from it).

It’s also possible to share files with people who don’t have a Dropbox account. To do so, move each file to the “Public” folder of your Dropbox. Then, move your mouse over a file you wish to share, click the arrow that appears to the right of the file, and select Copy public link. A URL will pop up. This is the public URL of the file, and anyone can access the file via that address. For details on linking to files, see https://www.dropbox.com/help/16.

Additional Resources

Review Online Dropbox Resources

Online support for Dropbox can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/help.

Review the Technology Help Desk web site

Contact the Technology Help Desk