Dropbox Tips To Help Before You Start


Upfront Tips Can Help

In our overview of Dropbox we talked about the many benefits and recommended: if you want to reduce paper clutter, consider looking at Dropbox.

But there are things you need to understand about Dropbox before you start.  It’s pretty simple to start but you may find yourself confused on a few things. Let’s walk through some important Dropbox Tips.

Conflicted files?

Files on our computer in the Dropbox folder are synced to the Dropbox server.  This is great because we can now retrieve files when we are at different computers.  BUT … if we share a file with someone else, we need to be careful.

Let’s say you create a spreadsheet and then share the file with a colleague.  At first everything may be fine.  But then:

  • You and your colleague both open the file at the same time.
  • You both save the file when you are done.
  • Syncing now gets confused. So, there will be a file saved and there will be a second file saved that will be labeled “conflicted“.
  • The next day you open the file. Your see the colleague’s work but not your work. You are confused.
  • Just know, your file is still on your computer (there are actually two file there), but you need to get techy and look for the files.

So the tip: be careful when you share files with others — don’t be in the file at the same time. (Dropbox Business does give extra help with this by using the Dropbox Badge).

What if my internet goes down?


Yes, the internet is required to use Dropbox.  But if your internet temporarily goes down, the good news is that you are OK as long as everything synced up before the internet went down.

You can open files because they are on your computer. Dropbox will then sync the files once the internet comes back up.

Phone or Tablet

But this is not true with your phone/tablet because the files are not stored on your phone/tablet.  So, if you are in a building with poor telephone service or WiFi is not accessible, you may find yourself not being able to get to your file.

Tip:  Plan for these situations.  Dropbox let’s you cache your files to your device.  Open the Dropbox app, click the drop down menu next to the file you will need, and select “Make Available Offline”.  Dropbox will then sync once you have internet access.

Does Syncing supposed to take this long?

Yes, the first time syncing can take hours — it depends on the number and the size of files you are initially saving to Dropbox.  Another factor is your internet speed.

Just know that Dropbox uses incremental backup. This means that going forward it will take less time since Dropbox only syncs the files that changed from the last sync — it doesn’t continuously sync every file.

What if I don’t want to Share anymore?

Deleting Files and Folders may seem straight forward . . . but we need to be careful when deleting files and folders after we have Shared them with others.

If you think deleting them for yourself also deletes them from everywhere . . . think again.

It’s easy to delete files for us (we just delete like normal), but if we also want to delete the files from the Dropbox of the people we shared with, here are the steps from Dropbox.

When we do these steps, the files will be removed from their Dropbox account and, therefore, from their linked computers when they sync to Dropbox.

  1. First Unshare
    1. Go the the Dropbox website – Home page.
    2. Next to our folders there will be a column that shows “Who can access” the folder.
      1. Hover over the folder that is shared.
    3. Click the “share” icon that now appears.
    4. At the top of the pop-up box there are names of who this folder is shared with.
      1. Click the gear icon.
      2. Click Unshare folder.  Click Unshare.
    5. Note: they will not get updates because it is “unshared”, but they still have a copy.  Keep going!
  2. Then Delete the Folder
    1. Now we can go ahead and delete the entire folder from our computer.
    2. The folder will then be deleted from the Dropbox server and all computers on our Dropbox account.

What if I don’t want THEM to Share anymore?

One more tip.  What if WE were not the one to share the files (another person did and, therefore, is the “owner”) and WE don’t want to have access anymore. . . BUT they didn’t Unshare?

Yes we can stop seeing the files.

  1. Go the the Dropbox website – Home page.
  2. Next to our folders there will be a column that shows “Who can access” the folder.
    1. Hover over the folder that is shared.
  3. Click the “share” icon that now appears.
  4. At the top of the pop-up box, click “Who can access”.
  5. Next to our name, click “Remove my Access”.
  6. The folder is now gone on the Dropbox website and on our computers.

Dropbox Tips – some thoughts

I am a fan of Dropbox, but I recommend you plan what you are going to use it for … and what you are not going to use it for.

Also, if you share files, make a plan on how you will work together on those files and also how you are going to delete files if you stop working together.

Disclaimer: This is my honest review. I am not affiliated with or compensated by Dropbox.

Disclaimer: The information on this post and on the Barb Brady CPA website are for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be accounting, financial, tax, or legal advice. For further information, see Terms of Service.