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How do I share with others using Dropbox?

How do I share with others using Dropbox?

Dropbox can help you collaborate with others and stay on top of your projects. All without stressing about file sizes, version mix-ups, and lost feedback. Collaboration just got a whole lot easier.

10 minute read

The new and improved way to work together

Working with others on projects big and small just got easier and more delightful.

Choose a sharing method that suits your way of working

No matter how you get work done, you’re covered with collaborative folders and shared links. 

Each method has its own distinct advantages, depending on what you want to do.

Watch how to upload and download files in our helpful video guide.

Private folders

You can tell that a folder is private if the front of it is blank. A private folder works like any other folder: You can move it, rename it, add content to it, or delete it.

Note: Only you can access what’s inside a private folder in your Dropbox account.

If you invite someone to that folder, then it’s no longer private.

Shared folders

Shared folders have an icon of people on the front of the folder.

Sharing folders allows others to review and edit your files. All collaborators need a Dropbox account to edit or review. Sharing folders means that the person sees every file or image in that folder.

You can also rename a shared folder, and it will only change for you. That way, if you receive a shared folder invite for “Holiday photos,” but already have two other folders labelled Holiday photos, you can change it to “Mexico 2021 holiday photos” without causing confusion for anyone else.

However, if you change a subfolder, that folder’s name change will reflect for everyone else.


You can also share files with anyone, even non-Dropbox users, by creating a link to a file or folder. You can send the link through email, instant message, even social networks. Recipients can view, comment, or download a copy of the shared file but can’t edit the original file in your Dropbox. They’ll be able to see the latest updates, even after the link is created. You can also control permissions for shared links by setting passwords and expiration dates. And Dropbox links shouldn’t break, even if you rename or move a folder or file in your Dropbox. Need to intentionally break a link to prevent access to a shared file or folder? No problem, just remove the shared link from the file.

While comments on shared links are great for reviews, links don’t allow for two-way collaboration. So if you want to let others edit the content, create a shared folder instead of just sharing the link.

File requests

File requests allow you to collect and receive files from anyone, perfect for large files or large collections of files. It organizes everything you’re collecting in one place and keeps your own files on Dropbox private. Only you can view what others have uploaded—unless you want to share!

Sharing on your own terms

With Dropbox, you can pick and choose how you share your most important files and folders.

If you need others to give feedback on your work, you can give them edit access to your shared folder. But if you don’t want others to edit your work, you can share links instead, which will give them view-only access.

And you never have to worry about the safety of your files. You can share files securely by giving only certain people access to your file (this is called “authenticated sharing”). This limits who recipients can share those files with and it means they’ll have to sign in to view your file.

With all of these options available, you can share your own way, on your own terms.

Want to learn more about sharing files and folders in Dropbox? Watch our file sharing tutorial.

Sharing links, your way

Creating a shared link is an easy way to share a file or a folder with anyone—even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Dropbox gives you the ability to customize how and what you share through settings and permissions.

Share a file or folder from

Share a file or folder from

  1. Log in to
  2. Hover over the item you’d like to share.
  3. Click the Share icon that appears.
  4. Type the email or name of the person, people, or group you’d like to share with.
  5. Select Can edit or Can view from the dropdown menu.
  6. Click Settings to customize who has access or disable downloads. You can require a password and set an expiration date too.
  7. Click Share file or Share folder. Recipients will receive an email invitation to the content you shared.
  8. You can also click Copy link (If a link hasn't been created yet, click Create and copy link).
  9. The link will be copied to your clipboard. You can then paste it into an email, chat, or other message.

Keep it (even more) secure

When dealing with confidential or sensitive materials, you have options to control how your content is accessed. You can set who can view your shared link, and you can add passwords and expiration dates to your link.

One other way to further control access to shared files is to enter the specific people you want to have access. To do this, select the Share button on, the desktop app, or the badge on any Microsoft Office files saved in your Dropbox. Then type in the email addresses of the people you want to have access.

Sharing in this way is what we call “authenticated sharing”. This means that the person you share with must have a Dropbox account and be signed in to access the file.


Sharing and collaboration tutorials

Take a look at these tutorials if you want to see more about how to share and collaborate.

Sharing is caring (and easy)

One of the first things you may want to do when you start collaborating is to share a folder. It’s a great way to make sure everyone has access to what they need and help keep everyone in sync.

Sharing folders and setting permissions

Giving others access to your folders through Dropbox is a great way to collaborate. Want to learn how?

Sharing links and setting permissions

If you only want certain people to view the file, you can share links instead of whole folders.

Sharing tips and tricks

Ever wonder how to rename or move a shared folder? Or the best way to structure your folders in a way that makes sense to you?

Common questions

Got a question about sharing or collaborating? We’ve likely got an answer. If you have a question that’s not listed here, check out for more answers.

Can I unshare a folder?

Yes, you can unshare a folder. When you unshare, you’ll be able to decide whether members can keep a copy of the folder.

My shared link isn’t working anymore. Why?

There are a few reasons that might cause a link to not work. For example, the link might have expired, the owner might have changed the settings of the link, or you might not be signed in to Dropbox. Authenticated links require viewers to be signed in.

I added a folder I don’t want or need access to anymore. How do I get rid of it?

It’s easy. First, sign in to and select Shared in the left sidebar. Under the Folders tab, scroll down to the folder in question and select the (…) ellipsis next to the folder. Then select Remove from Dropbox.

Don’t delete the folder please! Remember that any action you take on a shared folder will affect everyone in that folder, even deleting.

Share from File Explorer or Finder

You can easily share directly from your desktop too. Simply right-click the folder and select “Share.”

Sharing on

It works the same way on Hover over the file you want to share and click the “Share” button to the right.

Add someone else's shared folder

If someone invites you to a shared folder, you’ll get an email invite and a notification in tray or menu bar.

Add the folder

Add the folder to your Dropbox account to begin collaborating with your team.