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How to use Dropbox - a guide to your account

20 minute read

Dropbox is a home for all your work. You can store and share files, collaborate on projects, and bring your best ideas to life—whether you’re working alone or with colleagues and clients.


With Dropbox, all your files are backed up to the cloud and available online. You can save, access, and share your important stuff from anywhere, at any time, on any device.


Let’s get started setting up Dropbox.

How to log in to your Dropbox account

There are 3 ways to access your new account: on dropbox.com, from the Dropbox desktop app, and with the Dropbox mobile app. Get started by logging in to your account on dropbox.com.

How to log in to your Dropbox account on dropbox.com

  1. Open a web browser.

  2. Go to www.dropbox.com.

  3. Select one of the following log in options:

  • Click Continue with Google.

  • Click Continue with Apple.

  • Enter your email address.

Then, install the apps on your computer, tablet, and phone to get the most out of your account.

How to log in to your Dropbox account using Google Sign-in
How to log in to your Dropbox account using Sign in with Apple
Having trouble logging in to your Dropbox account?

How to download Dropbox for your computer and mobile devices

Dropbox makes it easy to access all your files, photos and videos on the go.

How to download the Dropbox desktop app

  1. Download the Dropbox desktop app.

  2. Once Dropbox is installed on your computer, you’ll see a Dropbox icon in the taskbar
    (Windows) or menu bar (Mac) and a Dropbox folder on your hard drive.

  3. You’ll be prompted to log in with your Dropbox credentials. You should use the same email address and password that you logged in with on dropbox.com (this will be the same for all your devices).

The Dropbox desktop app is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS operating systems. Find out more about using the Dropbox with Windows in S mode or on Linux.

Find more information on Dropbox compatibility with your operating system.

What to do if Dropbox won't install.

How to download the Dropbox mobile app

Download it from dropbox.com/mobile, or your preferred app store.

If you already have the Dropbox mobile app on your phone or tablet, simply log in with your email and password. You can also log in using SSO with your Google or Apple account.

How to add files and folders to your Dropbox account

Once you’ve downloaded the mobile and desktop apps, it’s time to put Dropbox to work by adding your files, pictures, and videos.

Add a file or folder to your account via dropbox.com

Once you’ve signed in at dropbox.com, adding files to your account is as easy as dragging and dropping from your computer’s file system. Or, just follow these steps to upload a file or folder from your computer:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.

  2. Click Upload under the search bar at the top.

  3. Click Files or Folder:

    • If you choose Files, select as many files as you like and click Open.

    • If you choose Folder, select a folder and click Upload.

Add files or folders to Dropbox from your computer

Drag and drop files or folders into the Dropbox folder on your desktop. Or, use the Save As menu option in most applications to save files directly to your Dropbox folder.

Files and folders in your Dropbox folder will automatically sync to dropbox.com, and to the Dropbox desktop or mobile apps on any other devices you’ve connected to your account.

Add a file or folder from your desktop to your Dropbox account

Like with File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), you can drag and drop into the desktop app:

  1. Drag and drop the file or folder into the Dropbox folder on your hard drive.

  2. Select the Dropbox folder when using the Save As option in most applications.

Like to use Microsoft Office? Dive into the “General” area of “Preferences” and you can make Dropbox a default “Save As” location. Just a little time-saver.

Add a file or folder using the Dropbox mobile app

You can manually upload files, photos and videos to your Dropbox account using the mobile app. The steps you take to manually upload files on your mobile device will vary slightly depending on the type of device you use.


Find instructions for your specific device (Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Windows Tablet)

How to upload other types of files or files from your device’s storage and external SD card

Android phone or tablet

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Open the folder where you’d like to save your files.
  3. Tap "+" (plus).
  4. Tap Upload files.
  5. Find the files you want to upload, and tap to select them for upload.
  6. Tap Upload.

iOS phone or tablet

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Open the folder where you’d like to save your files.
  3. Tap "+" (plus).
  4. Tap Create or Upload File.
  5. Tap Upload File.
  6. Tap Browse and find the file you’d like to upload.
  7. Select the location where you’d like to save the file in your Dropbox account.
  8. Tap Upload.

How to automatically upload photos from the Dropbox mobile app

You can turn on camera uploads to automatically save photos and videos from a mobile device to Dropbox.

Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the menu button.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Under Camera uploads, tap Turn on camera uploads.
  5. Tap Allow.

iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the account button.
  3. Tap Camera Uploads.
  4. Tap Ok to give Dropbox access to your photos and videos.
  5. Choose what you’d like to back up and whether you’d like to use cell data.
  6. Tap Back up my photos.

How to back up your computer

You can automatically create a back up of key folders stored on your computer in your Dropbox account. After the initial backup, any changes you make to those folders or their contents will be automatically updated on your computer and your Dropbox folder.

You can access the folders, which are backed up under “Mac” or “PC”, from anywhere you use use Dropbox, such as dropbox.com, the Dropbox mobile app, and the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

Want to know more about using Dropbox to backup your files? Watch our Backup Tutorial.

Learn more about backing up your computer.

How to create a folder in Dropbox

Create a folder on dropbox.com

  1. Log in the dropbox.com.

  2. Click Create folder.

  3. Name your folder.

  4. Click Create.

Create a folder on the Dropbox mobile app

Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app on your Android device.
  2. Tap the "+" (plus sign).
  3. Tap Create new folder.
  4. Type a name for your folder.
  5. Click Create.

iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app on your iOS device.
  2. Tap the "+" (plus sign).
  3. Tap Create folder.
  4. Next to Folder name, tap New folder to name your folder.
  5. Type a name for your folder and tap Done when finished.
  6. Click Create.

How to share a file or folder from your Dropbox account

Share a file or folder from dropbox.com

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.

  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 expiry 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.

Share a file or folder from the Dropbox folder from the Dropbox desktop app

  1. Open the Dropbox folder on your computer.

  2. Click Share

  3. Type the Email, name, or group of the person (or people) you’d like to share with.

  4. Select Can edit or Can view from the dropdown menu.

  5. Click Share. They’ll receive an email with a link to the file or folder.

Share a file or folder using the Dropbox mobile app

  1. Navigate to the file or folder you want to share.

  2. Tap "" (ellipsis).

  3. Tap Share.

  4. Tap Create a link.

  5. If a link was already created for this content, tap Share link next to Anyone with the link can view.

  6. Select the way you'd like to share the link from the options Can edit or Can view. Either option will allow them to comment.

How to scan documents and upload them straight to Dropbox from the mobile app

Easily upload, organize, and share your scans with the Dropbox doc scanner. You can even search for text within your scans thanks to optical character recognition (OCR).

Follow these steps to scan and save a doc from your phone:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app on your Android or iOS device.

  2. Tap "+" (plus).

  3. Choose Scan Document (on Android devices, you’ll need to select Allow when prompted).

  4. Take a picture of content you want to transform into a document. You can also select an existing image from the iOS Camera Roll, or on Android, tap the photos icon.

Learn more about how to use the doc scanner.

Dropbox automation options

How to create an automated folder

To create an automated folder:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.

  2. Click Create in the upper-left.

  3. Click Automated folder.

  4. Name the folder and select an automation option.

    Options provided will be Files added to a folder are saved as PDFs, Files added to a folder are unzipped, Files added to a folder are tagged*, Files added to a folder are saved as images, Files added to a folder are saved as videos, and Files saved to a folder are sorted based on category.

  5. Follow the prompt(s), then click Create.

*Only available to users on Dropbox Professional, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise plans

How to add automation to an existing folder

To add automation to a folder:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.

  2. Hover over the folder and click“” (ellipsis).

  3. Click Add automation.

  4. Select the automation option and click Next.

  5. Follow the prompt(s), then click Add.

Note: You must have editing abilities for a folder to add, edit, or delete automations.

How to share an automated folder

Automated folders can be shared the same as any other folder. The folder automation will remain for anyone the folder is shared with. Once an automated folder has been shared with someone, they will see notation that the folder is automated as well as which automation option was selected.

Learn more about how to use Dropbox automation options.

Get more out of your Dropbox account

Learn how to set up your account, share the way you want, and discover more ways Dropbox can help.


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