12 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Dropbox

12 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Dropbox
The Dropbox feature set continues to expand. (Image: Dropbox)

Dropbox debuted in 2008, and the cloud storage and syncing service has added a slew of features since then. But because the app is usually running in the background of your device, you might not have noticed some of the new tools you can use. Here are a few of our favourites.

1. Go Back in Time

While you can always roll back to previous versions of individual files, the Dropbox Rewind feature for paid subscribers enables you to go back in time for large groups of files, folders, or your entire Dropbox — that’s very handy if a lot of files have been corrupted, for example. Log in on the web, click All files, then click the three dots at the top (for your entire Dropbox) or the three dots next to any folder — you’ll see Rewind this folder is one of the options.

2. Convert Files Between Formats 

Dropbox recently added some helpful file conversion tools which you can now access through the web interface. Click the three dots next to any file and choose Save as… to pick a new file type. You can convert a bunch of popular file types (including Word documents, rich text files, and GIFs) into PDFs, JPEGs, or PNG files, depending on the type of file you’re working with. The original file doesn’t change, and stays where it is.

3. Use Dropbox With Office

There’s a small but useful way you can get Dropbox and Microsoft Office working a bit closer together on Windows: Open the Dropbox client from the notification area (system tray), click your profile picture then Preferences, and under General check the box marked Show Dropbox as a save location in Microsoft Office — it means you can get your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to your Dropbox folders with fewer clicks.

Dropbox offers a full desktop experience. (Screenshot: Dropbox) Dropbox offers a full desktop experience. (Screenshot: Dropbox)

4. Install the Desktop App 

From Windows and macOS, you can manage your files through the web interface, or through File Explorer or Finder, but there’s another option: the Dropbox desktop app. Install it, and it makes everything from file sharing to folder searching just a little bit easier. If you spend a lot of your working day inside Dropbox, manipulating files and who has access to them, the Dropbox desktop app can be a real boost to your productivity.

5. Lock Away Sensitive Files

Dropbox lets you set up a special vault folder in your account, one which is protected by an extra PIN code and which third-party plug-ins don’t have access to. To get started, sign into Dropbox on the web, click your profile picture (top right) then Settings, and under General click the Set up button next to Vault. For more on the feature, including how your locked away files appear on mobile and the desktop, check out the Dropbox support page.

6. Move Your Dropbox Folder

You don’t have to settle for the default location when it comes to where your Dropbox folder is located on your computer — you can move it just about anywhere on the local hard drive. Open the Dropbox client from the notification area on Windows or the menu bar on macOS, click your profile picture and Preferences, then go to the Sync tab to find the option to move your Dropbox folder (which can take some time if you’ve got a lot of files).

Move your synced files, if you need to. (Screenshot: Dropbox) Move your synced files, if you need to. (Screenshot: Dropbox)

7. Share Dropbox With Your Family

Like most digital services these days, you can share the benefits of Dropbox with the rest of your family if you want to. You get 2TB of cloud storage in total that can be shared with up to six different people, and you get a shared Family Room folder that everyone has access to. Other features, including password management and Dropbox Paper, are included for everyone, and the whole package will set you back $US20 ($27) per month.

8. Show Off Your Work

Dropbox Professional is a $US20 ($27)-per-month subscription plan that gives you a few additional tools (and 3TB of storage space), as well as all the standard Dropbox features. Those extra tools include options to add branding to your digital work, and to get traffic insights (such as whether or not files have been viewed) on everything you share, which perfect if you want to put together a portfolio of work that other people are granted access to.

9. Upload Some Photos and Videos, Not All

Another new feature Dropbox has recently added is the ability to upload some but not all of the photos and videos on your phone to the web. In the Dropbox app for iOS, tap Account, Camera Uploads, and Upload from to choose which albums (including auto-generated smart albums) you’d like to include. At the time of writing the feature hasn’t arrived in the Dropbox app for Android, but it should be showing up soon.

Choose which photos and videos Dropbox uploads from your phone. (Screenshot: Dropbox) Choose which photos and videos Dropbox uploads from your phone. (Screenshot: Dropbox)

10. Send Files to Anyone

Dropbox comes with its own robust file and folder sharing system, but there’s also a separate Dropbox Transfer tool available. It gives you some extra features (stats on file views and downloads, for example), and the recipient won’t need a Dropbox account. To use Dropbox Transfer, sign into Dropbox on the web, click the grid icon to the top left, and choose Dropbox Transfer — the maximum file size depends on the plan you’re on.

11. Browse Dropbox on the Web More Easily

The Dropbox web interface has just been given a revamp that makes it work more like File Explorer on Windows or Finder on macOS. On the left you’ll see an All files link that reveals all your folders and subfolders in order. Select a file or folder, and you get an info pane on the right (click the info button if it’s hidden). Click the icon to the top right above the file list, and you can switch between Grid, Large grid, List, and Large list views.

12. Manage Your Passwords

On top of everything else, Dropbox does password management now — though if you’re not on a paid plan, you’re limited to 50 logins and 3 devices. Dropbox Passwords works much like other password managers, covering payment card information as well as all your login credentials. There’s a browser extension for when you’re working on the web and mobile apps for Android and iOS that will sync your data to your smartphone, too.