Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Dropbox

Some people might know of Dropbox. If not, it’s a free file sharing service which is iCloud based basically. They allot you a certain amount of space, you can do things to increase that space and/or you can buy space as well. Wikipedia has an entry for Dropbox. Further, it has software you can put onto your computer which then allows you to transfer files to their service without having to keep logging in. The software syncs to your account, so no matter where you go, you have access to these files. It can be access on mobile platforms such as smart phones and tablets.

What Dropbox does

What Dropbox does

I’ve been using it for over a year now, and I have to say I love the service. I use it in many ways. I’m our family’s genealogist and for research I sometimes need photos, notes, or other documentation which I have loaded into my account. I also use the account for my teaching tools and paperwork that I use when I teach my IT subjects at Community Centres here in Victoria. It’s very helpful for accessing any handouts I need to print out, grading paperwork or course outlines for improvements, additions, and deletions of course topics. All I need is internet access and I have everything right at my fingertips. I also use it for planning – medical, birthday and party plans just to name a few. Using Dropbox for the planning makes sharing items easy because all I have to do is said to share it with a person or group of people and give them access. They can have different levels of access as well. An example was when I was planning my husband’s birthday party, I could share and get ideas from my brother-in-law who lives in Queensland.

That being said, there are other online file services like Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive and Apple iCloud, among others. I haven’t found this to be as easy to use as Dropbox. This article is not about the pro’s and con’s of each – it’s about giving you some tips for Dropbox.

Some Dropbox Hints

I have taken some of these from an Unclutterer article.

Save space with selective sync

Pick and choose which files are updated and which aren’t.

Access previous versions of files

All you have to do is right-click on a file and look at past versions of the file. Easy and simple! In fact, during the classes I teach, I have started to talk about types of services like Dropbox. One of the examples I use for class is if there is a bush fire or flood that happens to come through, if your files are within a service, like Dropbox, they are protected and you have access to them. I’ve used examples like scanning in pictures, insurance forms, and uploading videos of your assets for insurance. This opened people’s eyes to these types of services.

Backup your smart phone photos automatically

My Dropbox Account

My Dropbox Account on my iPhone

I have done this and its easy to do because a screen pops up automatically. It’s a good feature, but it’s also very annoying as it does it automatically after you make the beginning choice to do it or not. So user beware of this one.

Mark files as favorites for offline access

You can make the files favorites and by doing this, they will be downloaded for future reference when an internet service isn’t available. This sounds very handy for people and would be great to do because of my family history research, but I’ll have to investigate how to do it. Be aware to do this, you need to have a smart phone or tablet in order to make things favorites.

Recover deleted files

You have 30 days to recover any files you have deleted. After 30 days, they will be deleted from the online “recycle bin”.

Back up your blog, two ways

I used to back up my blog a certain way, but midway through 2013, I started just writing without backing up. Apparently there is a way to back up blogs to your account. The article (above) says there is a great plugin for those who have WordPress Blogs (like this one). I might have to look into that one.

Print a PDF right to Dropbox

Because of the tiny program you can install on your computer, it links to your Dropbox account. When you have a pdf maker (I use PDF995 and Adobe Acrobat), you print and then you can direct the file to be printed into the file that’s uploaded into Dropbox. Then at next sync, the file will up updated. I also save Word, Excel and many pictures this way as well.

Back up your Instagram photos

With this one, the notes I’ve found says that you direct the Instagram account and when there’s a change it saves a copy to your Dropbox account.

Backup/Publish a website

Apparently there are services like Pancake which allow you to publish a website. I know with our website, I have my coding and extras on an external hard drive, but if I really wanted to I could backup these files with Dropbox as well.

There are other tips and hints below as well.

AppStorm has listed a heap of tips and hints. I didn’t even know some of these. I would say going over this list is a must for any user of this system.

Mashable has some of the tips above but has others as well.

There are probably many more tips and hints out there – so go ahead and play and explore I’d recommend! It’s what I do.

Edited to add: I have recently heard from another blogger regarding  <a href=”; target=”_blank”> Dropbox and proxy settings</a> if you are on a computer behind a firewall. Please read the above linked article for more information.


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