Share files with Dropbox

Email’s nice for sharing the occasional holiday photo or short story, but what to do when you need to share something more substantial? In this Macworld Video tip, we explain how to set up a Dropbox account so that you can exchange files of all sizes with your friends and family.

Download Macworld Video #162

• Format: MPEG-4/H.264

• Resolution: 480 x 272 (iPhone & iPod compatible)

• Size: 4.1 MB

• Length: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Show Notes

In this video, we use Dropbox's free software and cloud storage service. Dropbox also offers extra paid storage, an iOS app, and full folder syncing between Dropbox users.

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Show Transcript

Email’s nice for sharing the occasional holiday photo, but what to do when you want to share something more substantial? Hi, I’m Macworld staff editor Serenity Caldwell, and I’m here with this week’s video tip to show you how to use Dropbox to easily share files with your friends, family, and co-workers.

If you’ve never heard of Dropbox, it’s a free service that lets you store files and folders in a special place on your computer, which is then synced online. If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, it’s easy to sign up. Just go to www.dropbox.com and download the Dropbox software. Once it finishes, drag the app to your Applications folder, then open it.

From here, you just need to fill out a few fields: your name, email address, a password, and your computer’s name. Choose the free account, which provides 2GB of storage for now (you can always upgrade later), and go ahead with the typical install. Dropbox will guide you through a quick how-to, and then open up your Dropbox folder for you.

By default, there are two folders inside Dropbox: Photos, and Public. The Public folder, which we’re going to use, allows you to drop any file into it and receive a URL, so that other people—even if they don’t have their own Dropbox account—can download it.

For example, let’s say I want to send a copy of Macworld’s iPhone 4S Superguide to my father, since he just purchased a new phone. Rather than use email, I can drag the PDF to my Dropbox Public folder. To get the URL for this file, I just have to control-click on it, to bring up the Dropbox contextual menu, then click Copy Public Link. Now that the link is in my computer’s clipboard, all I have to do is open up Mail, address an email to my father, and paste in the URL. When my dad opens the link, he can download the file from his browser, or—since it’s a PDF—read it right there.

And that’s one simple way to share files using Dropbox. Thanks for watching!

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