Sharing your work with colleagues can be tricky. Sometimes you need to collaborate on a project and make lots of file revisions, but don’t want to clog everyone’s inboxes with email attachments. Other times, you want to share your files, but don’t want anyone to make changes. Luckily, Dropbox offers different ways to share designed for different purposes. So no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, or which device you’re on, there’s a perfect way to share.
When you want to collaborate
When you’re collaborating on several files that get updated frequently, shared folders are the way to go. A shared folder allows a group of people working on the same files to add, delete, or edit the files stored in that folder. It’s perfect for collaborating on things like a client presentation, or a library of design assets that multiple people are adding items to.
When someone accepts an invitation to join a shared folder, it appears in their Dropbox on the web, and on all their devices. And when you send the invite, you can choose whether your invitees should be able to edit the contents of the folder — which is the default setting — or if they should get view-only permissions (more on that below).
When you want to give view-only permissions
If you want someone to be able to view a file or folder, but not edit the original, you can easily create a shareable link — a great alternative to email attachments. The person you’re sharing with will get a preview of the file or folder in their browser, and then have the option to download a copy. (If they make edits to the copy they download, those changes won’t be reflected in your Dropbox.) This works even if your recipient isn’t a Dropbox user; there’s no need for them to sign up or download anything to view what you shared. For an extra layer of security, you can set passwords and expirations for links to files and folders.
Plus, any time you share a link to a file or folder that someone already has in their Dropbox — for example, if you’re sending them an updated version — it takes them straight to that item in their Dropbox instead of showing a standalone preview.
And remember the shared folders discussed above? You can also grant someone view-only permissions to those. That way, the folder is in their Dropbox and they have ongoing access to the latest versions of your files. But like with shared links, they won’t be able to make any changes.
Our Help Center has everything you need to know about sharing links to files and folders. You can also learn more about setting passwords and expirations for links, and setting read-only permissions in shared folders.