Dropbox Shared Folder

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Once you rejoin a shared folder, Dropbox will automatically download it to your computer — even if an older version already exists. If you decide to keep both, be sure to save changes to the newer version — it’s the one with icons of people on it — so that members of the shared folder will be able to see any files you add or edits you make. With Dropbox, you can share a link to a file or folder that is limited to view-only access. Plus, you can add password protection to a shared link, set a link expiration date and disable downloads. Granular folder permissions: Share a specific subfolde r without giving access to the entire folder it lives within. Shared folders use space in each member’s account, unless each person is on the same Dropbox Business team. Your Dropbox storage quota is calculated by adding up the total amount of data in your Dropbox account. This includes all shared folders you are a member of and all files collected from file requests. Not using Dropbox yet? Shared Folders: In Dropbox a Shared Folder is a basic folder users create to store their files. These folders can be created by anyone, and shared with anyone, via an invite. While users do need to be added to the folder or sent a link granting them access, Shared Folders are generally one of the less secure ways to store files. With Dropbox, you can easily send any large file, including including images and video files, to anyone you want—and the receiver won’t even need a Dropbox account to access the file. Create a shared link to send any file in your Dropbox, regardless of size or content, and share that download link via chat, text, or email with whomever you.

Dropbox (http://www.dropbox.com) is an amazingly useful product. I use it a lot, and I rely on it a lot.

But I had a real problem with it – sharing a folder with a new work group lately just wouldn’t work. We couldn’t figure out why. Nothing looked wrong, but updates to the original files we’d shared around never appeared.

The back story

I’ve had a folder set shared across all my various Macs and IOS devices for ages, and I’ve had another folder shared with some colleagues for months – all working perfectly, with file updates from any of us turning up for everyone else. Brilliant.

A few months ago, I started using Dropbox with a new group of people I’m working with, and to facilitate that process, we set up a new Dropbox folder and shared it around.

At least, thats what we thought we had done, but it just didn’t work.

We got all the original files shared around, but over the coming weeks the complaints began. Updates weren’t turning up. Key files we needed for meetings didn’t appear for others. We had got this wrong, but it didn’t look wrong.

We’d try sharing the folder again. All the new files then turned up in a fresh copy of the folder with a different version number. However, further updates still just… didn’t appear.

Head scratching ensued. I know this works for my other folders, so why isn’t this new folder, that another member of my team created and shared, working for me (or the rest of our workgroup?)

Fast forward to today, when I was setting up Dropbox on a new computer under a new account here at my office, and I managed to accidentally create the same issue – the new account wasn’t seeing updates to a shared folder that a number of us are otherwise using fine (and have been for months).

I did some experimentation, and I figured it out.

In the hope of saving others the same grief, I’ve written down, here, what I’ve learned today. What I’ve learned is that Dropbox is working fine, but some aspects of the Dropbox user interface, specifically some confusing terminology, makes it easy to think you’re doing it right, when you’re actually just… doing it wrong.

The problem

The interface for Dropbox is confusing. The crux of the confusion is one, little, word:


The Dropbox user interface uses that one little word to describe two completely different outcomes that it can deliver.

One outcome offers continuous future updates. The other offers a single snapshot copy of the original, with no future updates in either direction.

The distinction is determined by the person who initiates the ‘Sharing’ operation, and if they have chosen the wrong mechanism, the outcome can be different to what you expect.

Your recipient gets your files, and all looks good. But your recipient will never see any future file updates, and nothing they change will be reflected back to you.

If your intention is to collaborate within a workgroup and this happens, it can obviously be a significant source of frustration. If you’re trying to convince a new group of people about how cool Dropbox is, this tends to get in the way of that outcome too!

Time to delve into Dropbox terminology to understand what is happening.

Dropbox has two fundamental ways to provide access to files:

a) Sharing a folder

b) Sharing a link to a folder

The confusion stems from the fact that Dropbox uses the term ‘Sharing’ to describe two entirely different outcomes.

In my view, Dropbox should call the second choice Sending instead of Sharing (as in: “Sending a link to a snapshot copy of a folder”, and then things would be a lot less confusing.

Sharing a folder results in an environment where all future changes in that folder are shared to all participants dynamically.

Sharing a link to a folder results in the recipient obtaining a moment-in-time snapshot of the sender’s folder and contents, an ‘uncontrolled copy’, that is dissociated with the original sender’s folder.

This is why the latter can be used to deliver files to people who aren’t actually Dropbox users – and its a darn useful feature, as an alternative to (say) emailing large attachments around (including to non-Dropbox users), if that is what you actually want to do.

Further confusion is created by the fact that the recipient of a link to a folder has the option (if they are already using Dropbox) to ‘Add’ the link to their Dropbox environment.

Doing this creates the visual impression that full (bilateral) sharing has been engaged – the files appear in your directory structure precisely as if you’d bilaterally shared them. But you haven’t.

How it happens

It is the originator of the sharing process that controls this, not the recipient of the invitation.

Indeed, if you see a link invitation in email, its already too late – and you need to get the sender to go back and do it ‘the other way’.

One of the reasons its easy for the sender to get this wrong is that if you browse your filesystem via your Dropbox.com home page, there is a ‘link’ option that helpfully appears to the right of each folder you move your mouse over. Thats the wrong choice, right there, just begging you to click on it!

The rule to apply – as a sender

If you want to offer dynamic-update access to a folder and the approach you’re taking to do it uses the word link anywhere, stop… you’re doing it wrong 🙂

Instead, go into the ‘Sharing’ menu on the Dropbox.com web page and use the ‘New shared folder’ button to initiate sharing of a new folder, or select your existing (already being shared) folder from the provided list under that ‘Sharing’ menu and invite others to join you via that mechanism.

You can also share a folder from the Mac OS X finder directly:

From the Mac OS X finder, right-click on the folder inside the Dropbox area, select the Dropbox context-sensitive submenu, and you’ll get three choices:

  • Browse on Dropbox Website
  • Share Link
  • Share This Folder…

Again, that wrong choice is hovering there in front of you, namely ‘Share Link’.

The right answer is ‘Share This Folder’… and again, the confusion is caused by both options using the word ‘Share’. They look like sort-of the same thing, but they’re actually quite different.

How to tell the difference – as a recipient

If you get an email invitation to access a Dropbox link, but you really wanted to dynamically share their folder, then your sender has got it wrong – don’t click on the link, all you’ll wind up with is a moment-in-time copy.

Instead, tell the sender to delete that pending link at their end (via the ‘Links’ menu on their Dropbox.com home page) because they are doing it wrong.

Next, ask them to try again to share the folder by using the ‘Sharing’ menu on their Dropbox home page to do it, and by specifically avoiding any approach that uses the word ‘link‘ to do it.

If you do not get an email invitation, but if instead your Dropbox client pops up on screen and tells you someone has shared a folder with you, then – huzzah! – the right thing has happened.

Its the absence of that email invitation that is the success factor here (!)

Now, you can simply accept that invitation via the Dropbox client.

Alternatively, you can log in to your Dropbox.com home page, where you will see the invitation waiting under the ‘Sharing’ menu item (Not under the “Links” menu!)

On that ‘Sharing’ page, just view and accept your ‘New shared folder invitation’.

Dropbox shared folder

The folder that turns up is now a properly shared one, with dynamic updates between all participants.

How to unscramble your current eggs


If you’ve already been doing this for a while and you’re not quite sure what files in your local Dropbox folder are links and what are being truly ‘shared’ (in both directions), here’s how to find out:

Start at your dropbox.com home page.

Under the ‘Sharing‘ menu, you can see what folders you are fully sharing (automatic updates).

You can add and remove people from existing shared folders here, and you can create new shared folders from here to invite people into.

Under the ‘Links‘ menu, there are two separate tabs:

  • “Your Links”: This lists links you have created and emailed to others to access. If you’re done with some (or all) of them, delete them from here to invalidate the links previously sent out via email
  • “From others”: This lists links you have accepted from others, and you can delete them from here to clean up your world a little when you’re done with them.

Note also that you can be (truly) sharing a folder at the same time as you can be the recipient of a link to an older version of the same folder. They will show up with exactly the same name, once under your ‘Sharing’ menu and once under your “Links” menu.

You can delete the ‘link’ entries with impunity as they have no impact on the operation of the (truly) shared folder of the same name.


In the end, this was a lightbulb moment thing for me – I just hope this helps someone else avoid having to find that lightbulb from scratch.

I also hope that Dropbox improve this terminology in their service in the future, reserving the term ‘Sharing’ for one option, perhaps moving to a word like ‘Sending’ in association with their ‘link’ feature.


It might also be nice to add in a few relevant warnings here and there (including in the email invitation for a link) to make it clear that the link approach isn’t actually offering an update service for the files concerned.

This so might other Dropbox users to avoid the head-scratching that I (and surely others) suffer from as a result of all of this.

Dropbox Shared Folder Not Updating

Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by an American company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It is a Google Drive– like platform where you can store a huge amount of data. It brings together your files and cloud content with the tools your team uses or wants to use in the future. Do you know you can share your Dropbox folder with friends, family or co-workers from any device? If you know it’s good enough, but if you don’t know how to share Dropbox folders using multiple mediums, check out this article. Ensure you clear the Dropbox cache for its better and smooth performance.

Dropbox is one of the best Windows apps and is capable of solving all your common problems that are directly or indirectly related to file sharing. What if you need to share an entire folder with anyone in your contacts? With an amazing sharing folder feature by Dropbox, you can send a single link and give easy access to your recipients. You can even add additional files to the folder and the recipient can download them anytime.

Sharing your Dropbox file or folder using a browser, a computer or a mobile device is quite simple. It is just you need to know how to share a Dropbox folder within your trusted contacts.

Read Here: Samsung Cloud Storage: A Complete Review

How To Share Dropbox Folder?

The sharing of folders on Dropbox is made easy on all the platforms you use. You can either share a Dropbox folder using a web browser or a computer or a mobile device. Here’s a quick guide on how to share a Dropbox folder.

  • Share Dropbox Folder Using Web Browser
  • Share Dropbox Folder Using A Computer
  • Share Dropbox Folder Using A Mobile Device

Method I: Steps To Share Dropbox Folder Using Web Browser

1. Open Dropbox and login.

2. Click on the Files tab in the navigation pane at the left.

3. Locate the folder in Dropbox you need to share and move the mouse over it to get Share Button to appear.

4. Click on the Share Button and if you wish to share the Dropbox folder with a specific list of people, you can add their Email address in the To: line and click Share.

5. You can also make the process shorter by creating a link, copying it and share dropbox link with anyone you want through either Email or Text messages.

Method II: Steps To Share Dropbox Folder Using A Computer

1. Open Dropbox folders in your user folder and locate the folder you want to share. Right-click on the folder you want to share.

2. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Share.

3. A dialog box will appear just like in the previous part of the blog asking you to enter the Email address of the recipients.

Dropbox Shared Folder Link

Dropbox Shared Folder

4. You can also share the Dropbox folder using a link with all your recipients. This link can be created as shown in the image under point 5 of the previous part (i.e. share Dropbox folder using web browser).

Also Read: Microsoft OneDrive For Business- A Cloud Storage Platform

Method III: Steps To Share Dropbox Folder Using A Mobile Device

1. Download the Dropbox app on your Androidor iOS devices, and open it.

2. Find the folder you want to share and click on the three dots under the folder.

3. Click the Share icon and then choose the way of sharing by either entering the Email or name or group of the recipients or by clicking on the Share a link icon.

Sharing A Dropbox Folder Is Easy- Isn’t it?

That’s it! This is how you can follow a simple process to share the Dropbox folder with one or multiple recipients at a time. You can Email them the folder directly or you can send them the links keeping in mind the accessing rights i.e. to view or to edit, so as to protect your privacy concerns.

Where do you store all your personal or professional data- on a Dropbox- like cloud-storage or within your device? Let us know in the comments section below. Also share your experiences while using Dropbox on any of the platforms, be it web, a computer or a mobile device.

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