- Some tools have kind of become old friends to me, and Dropbox is one of those tools. I've been using it for as long as I can remember. Now today on DottoTech, I thought I'd share with you some of the secrets that I have found to mastering Dropbox.
- Steve Dotto here, how the heck you doing this fine day? At DottoTech, we make technology easy so you can do more. As I mentioned off the top, Dropbox is our topic du jour, and I'm gonna show you some of the more cool features that Dropbox has that I believe a lot of people aren't aware are in the file sharing tool. Now to be fair, there's a lot of good file sharing utilities out there. We use Google Drive a lot. There is Box. There's so many other good file sharing tools, but Dropbox is the one that I've been using the longest. It's the one I'm most comfortable with, and I think if you master it the way that we've mastered it, it'll become an old friend to you as well. Before we begin though, I would like to let you know that today's sponsor on DottoTech is Thinkific. One of the keys to the DottoTech business is our relationship with Thinkific. Now Thinkific is our LMS, our learning management system. Simply put, Thinkific is where we host all of our online courses. And when we began using Thinkific about three years ago, it completely revolutionized DottoTech and turned us from an interesting YouTube channel, into a ongoing, thriving business. If you wanna learn more about Thinkific, please, click on the link below. Now, before we begin, I'd like to give you kind of an overview of how Dropbox works. Dropbox, essentially, is a cloud service, where we store all of the files that we want to share across multiple devices. Now, the challenge with sharing files across multiple devices is managing the versions. And how Dropbox takes care of that is when you put a file in your Dropbox folder on your local hard drive, it syncs that version of the file with the cloud service, and in turn it syncs the cloud service with any other instances of Dropbox that you have installed on your other computers. So your desktop computer and your notebook computer will always be in sync. Now the fact that we have a cloud-based version of the file as well as the local versions on our hard drives means that we can also share that file with other people and allow, it's a great way for us to transfer, especially large files to coworkers or team members or customers if we choose to share that way. Now, there are some subtleties that even make Dropbox better. For example, if you wanna have only the online version of the file stored in the cloud, and you don't wanna be cluttering up your local hard drives with large files, you can set up Dropbox so that the files are stored in the cloud. And you just have a link to be able to open them on your computer, but they don't live on your computer until you want them. But that's getting a little bit more sophisticated. But we will touch on how to do some of those things a little bit later in this video. So that's kind of how Dropbox works overall. Let's take a look at some of the advanced features or some of the what I think are more secret features of the ways that people can master Dropbox for their own use. And the first way is if you are a Gmail user, oh my gosh, there is a wonderful Chrome extension that really integrates Dropbox nicely with Gmail. While I show you this, while I get this set up, I should mention, one of the really nice things about Dropbox besides all of the things I was just talking about, is how well it integrates with other tools. Gmail, which I'm about to show you, is just one of the tools. We integrate it with Asana. We integrate it with Slack. We integrate with all of our productivity tools. So that's one of the really nice features that's built into Dropbox. Now, if you want to use Dropbox with Gmail, go into the Chrome Web Store and find this extension. It's called Dropbox for Gmail. Once you've installed that extension, this will happen to your New Message window in Gmail is down here in the bottom, you will have access to be able to add files using Dropbox. By clicking on this, you can incorporate any file that's in Dropbox into a Gmail that you're sending to somebody else. So this is a terrific way for you to instantly share files. You don't have to go to Dropbox and copy the link and paste the link and do all of those steps, but instead it's integrated here right within the Gmail window. This is a huge time saver. Unfortunately, it's only great if you use Chrome and Gmail, but many of us do that. So that's a great fit for us right there, integrating Dropbox directly into Gmail. Now the next thing I wanna talk about is something called selective sync. Now, selective sync is that situation that I was talking about a few moments ago where you might have some large files that you store in Dropbox. But you have smaller hard drives on your notebook or on your desktop computer, and you don't necessarily wanna have those large files resident on all of those computers at all time. I've got that situation with my notebook. If we go into my Dropbox account here, now here we're going into Dropbox and we're taking a look at all of the files that I have in Dropbox, and I've got a folder here called Video. This, actually, I'll call up the info on this folder just so you can see it. This is a massive folder. Right now, we have 225 or so gigabytes of data in this folder. This is where we store all of the videos that we're editing for our YouTube channel. As soon as I'm finished with this video here today, I'll be uploading it into Dropbox so that Liz can edit it, and so this video in its rough form will soon be residing in that folder. Now, the last thing I need is for that folder to also be on my notebook computer. Now, occasionally I might need to access the files on my notebook, but my notebook has a smaller hard drive. I don't want these files living there at all times, so here's how you set up something called selective sync, which will allow you to determine which folders sync on which devices. This is Dropbox gold. You go on the gear menu into Preferences. In Preferences, you go into the Sync menu and there you choose the folders that you want to sync. You have selective sync. Open this up, and on each device, you can choose exactly which of your Dropbox folders you want to sync. In other words, you wanna have all of the data from that folder stored locally on your hard drive here so you can have access to it when you're offline. So one my notebook computer, for example, I have this checked off. Now the plus is that I don't have 226 gigabytes of videos clogging up that hard drive. The downside is, if I'm not online, I don't have access to those files. If I'm online, I do have access, but I would have to download those large files to my local computer if I wanted to work on them. So you've got that issue, but that to me, excuse me, that to me, selective sync, is one of the most crucial skills that you need to learn in order to really master Dropbox on your local system. The next thing I wanna talk about is the quick sharing features, how quick and easy it is to share a file with other people using Dropbox. And this, all you do is, any file that you have in your Dropbox folder. Let's go into my Speaking file here. And here's all of my presentations. If I wanna quickly share this talk that I'm working on right now with somebody else, I just right-click the mouse, and I can choose Share or even better, choose the Copy Dropbox Link. If I copy this Dropbox link, it then drops into my clipboard a URL that I can then email to anybody else that will allow them to download that file. It's the easiest, quickest way to share files that's built right into Dropbox. Now, you might have noticed there's a, when I did that, when I right-clicked the mouse. Let me do it again. Let me right-click my mouse on this again, you'll see that there are some other options besides sharing. We can view the file on Dropbox.com. What that means is we're seeing it in the web browser instead of in the utility, and we'll be looking at the web browser in a few moments because we can do some other things in the web browser version of Dropbox that add some pretty cool features. But this is the one I wanted to show you, Version History. This is very cool. This could be a huge time saver for you at some point in your life. Dropbox saves a discrete version of each of the documents that you save. So if you save multiple versions of a document, you actually have a version history of that document in Dropbox. And if we go, let me take a look. Let me grab something that I know I've got. Here, this one here. If I go to this particular slide deck here, and I go open Version History, you will see it actually opens this in a web browser. So it's opening the browser-based version of Dropbox, but what we see here is the version history for that document. So if for some reason, you know how sometimes you save a document, and then realize you really needed an earlier version of that document? This can be a massive savior for you because you can go back to the earlier versions of this document that you've saved on Dropbox and access that version, ooh, good one. That is a very, very good thing. While we are in the browser version of Dropbox, there's some additional features here that I wanna show you about. The first one is this one here called File Requests, which is a very simple, very subtle way of using Dropbox. Most of time, we think about taking a large file, uploading it to Dropbox, sharing that link with somebody else so they can download a large file. And it works great that way. It's a great way to transfer large files and manage large files within your enterprise. But sometimes, there's somebody from outside who wants to send you a large file, but they don't necessarily have the technical ability to understand how to send a large file to you. You can, by clicking here on File Requests, create a custom link that you can send to them which they can then upload any file on their computer to your Dropbox account with just a single click of the mouse. It's actually kind of genius if you think about it. It's called Requested Files. And what you do is to request a file, you click on Request File, you mention what you're requesting. It creates a folder in your Dropbox account, and then what it will do, I'm requesting Good Stuff. You click Next. It then creates this link. This link, if they go to this link in their browser, what they will see is this. Please choose a file from your computer and upload it to Steve Dotto's Dropbox account. How cool is that? Now think about the people in your life that are technically challenged that might need to send you large files at some point. This is the way that you can make it very easy for them to send you a large file without them having to worry about compressing the file and finding a large file transfer tool and all of those sorts of things. Instead, they can just upload this to your Dropbox folder, where you can deal with it, making their life easy and thereby making your life easy. Now, while we are on the web app, we also there have the ability to go in and manage all of the different sharing of different folders. So if we take a look at this Video folder which is what we use for recording and editing all of our videos, if I click on the little three dots over here on this side, I can go in, and I can manage all of the different sharing options, who has access to the folders, and what they can do. So we can actually manage whether or not they can view or whether they can edit the documents that are stored in that folder. So this is our basic file sharing control panel, and for a lot of people, they get a little bit confused. They think they should be able to manage all of the sharing from the app itself, or from the extension in their computer, but in reality, it's far better to do it right here from the browser version of Dropbox. Now the last thing that I wanna talk to you about and might be the most valuable thing that I'm gonna show you today. Encourage you to go into the Dropbox utility on your computer, click on the gear setting, go into the Preferences, and go through each of the different settings that they have available to us. There you'll learn that you can do things like manage all of your photos, have Dropbox upload all photos that you have on your computer or on your phone or on your camera, and store them for you, which is a great way if you don't use another photo backup service to backup and manage all of your photos. But I want you to go into the Sync menu one more time, because down here at the very bottom of the Sync is Dropbox Folder Location. I found this to be invaluable. This allows you to determine a different hard drive or a different storage location for your Dropbox folder on each computer. So if you have multiple drives like I do on my desktop system here, I can move my Dropbox storage folder, which is up to like a terabyte in size, that's how much storage I have online, I can move it to a different drive than my normal startup folder so that I don't clog it up all of the time. All you do is select a Dropbox location here, and this will allow you to then choose from all of the assets you have available. Here's all of my drives. I can choose to have Dropbox live on any of these drives. Now, this, as I say, it frees up space on your startup disk and allows you to manage your assets that much more elegantly. This to me was a really big deal, being able to move all of my Dropbox folders off of my startup drive. Now, the reason, just in case you're curious, is I have an SSD startup drive. I only have a 256 gigabyte startup drive, my boot drive, so that all of my apps and my operating system live on that, makes my computer very fast, but not a lot of storage on that drive, and Dropbox would quickly fill up that drive. You can imagine. So by moving it off onto one of our hard disks, I am then able to far more efficiently manage all of my different folders. That's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about mastering Dropbox. Now, Dropbox, as I say, is one of several different tools. Each one has their own personality as far as online file sharing and file storage. It's the kind of the old friend for me, and maybe now, if you take advantage of a few of tips that I'm talking about today, it'll become an old friend for you as well. I love reading your comments and suggestions, so please post below. I do read every single one. I you like this video, please give it a like and share it with your friends and colleagues who may find it useful. Now make sure you've subscribed and hit that Notification bell. And if you have time, check out some of our other videos right over there. Til next time, I'm Steve Dotto. Have fun storming the castle!
Dropbox is still my go-to file sharing tool. Check out some of the “less known” features that make it awesome!
Until next time,
Have fun storming the castle!
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