Dropbox is a free service that allows you to store all of your documents, photos, and videos online. It is an excellent and free tool for helping you securely store files that are crucial to your business or your life. It allows you to store just about any type of file you can imagine, and Dropbox gives you a generous amount of storage space to keep your files.
Before you start using Dropbox, there are two things you need to do:
First, you want to sign up for an account. It’s absolutely free. (If you decide later that you want to upgrade your account, you may upgrade and get even more storage. Just check the website for further details.)
Now click the link that says Log In. At the bottom of this box you will find a link that says “Create Account.” Click this link and follow the instructions.
Next, you’ll want to download the Dropbox utility and create a “Dropbox” on your computer. This is really simple, and you may use Dropbox on a PC, Mac, or even a mobile phone. Download the proper application for your technology and then install it. (You’ll need your username and password for this to log into your account.)
Once you get set up, then open your Dropbox folder and start dragging files into the folder to synchronize with your online account and store your files. Every time you drop a file into this folder it will sync with your files and folders online as long as you have your Dropbox turned on. (The easiest way to make sure this happens is to set your Dropbox application to load when you start-up your computer.)
After you’ve set up your account and added your files, now it’s time to log into your online account and understand all the features available to you.
Your first step here is to click on the Getting Started tab and follow the instructions. This will allow you to make sure you have completed all the steps in setting up your account. You are also offered an opportunity to make referrals and earn more storage space.
On this tab you’ll find your files. Check to make sure you have loaded all of your files, as well as loading them in the right folders. Unless you want others to have access your files, load your files outside of the public folder but inside of the Dropbox folder. Since you can customize this area as you like, create and name your folders anything you want and then load your files appropriately.
Track all your account activity in the Events tab. With the Events tab, you can use it to help you if you accidentally delete files or you lose track of them. Use this tab to help you track down the files and decide where your files went. Event is also an excellent way to decide if any unauthorized activity has taken place in your account. You won’t use this tab much, if at all, but you’ll be glad you have it if you misplace anything.
One of my favorite tools on Dropbox is the Sharing tab. The sharing tab makes it super easy to share files and folders with your friends. In fact, there are actually two different ways to do this.
First, you can generate a link to the folder you want to share. To do this, move the folder you want to share to the Public Folder within your Dropbox. Once you have moved the folder, go to the Public Folder and right-click on the file or folder you want to share. This allows you to generate a direct link to the file.
The second way to share files is to email the link to those you want to share them with. Just click “Share a Folder.” Choose the folder you want to share. Follow the prompts on the menu. When you are ready to send, enter the email addresses of those you want to share the files with. Those receiving your email will get a link to the folder and can download the contents.
One of the things I like best about Dropbox, besides its flexibility, is that it offers an extensive help file. Get all your questions answered here. You will also find more applications for your mobile phones. This includes the Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and Android. (If you are using Dropbox on your computer, you will find applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux.)
Different Ways to Use Dropbox
1. Store your business files and folders. (I store my manuscripts for my books.) With this option, consider storing your files according to purpose or type.
For example, if you have a lot of marketing software you need to back up, then create a folder for it. You may also consider function. I store all the files for website updates I want to complete inside of a folder by that name. I also have a folder for tasks I complete. By creating these folders, it saves me a lot of time locating projects I’m working on.
2. Store videos or any other files you sell. You can even send your buyers directly to the folder where you have stored their purchased files.
Heres’ how you do it: Create an autoresponder and download page. Add the subscription box to your download page so your customers can subscribe. Write an email for your autoresponder and make it the first email in your autoresponder series. Include the download link inside of this email.
3. Keep backups of your backups. If you delete a file, it’s not a problem. Dropbox maintains a copy of all deleted files for up to one month. All you have to do is log into your account and “undelete” the appropriate file. Your files will sync back into your folder on your computer.
4. Take everything with you. It doesn’t matter whether you are using these files on your computer or on your mobile phone, you’ll always have access to them even when you are offline. As I mentioned are apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. Download the free app and install it on your phone. This is especially useful if you shoot photos with your camera in your phone.
One consideration: if you are using your mobile phone to get access to your files, you can’t upload files from your phone to your Dropbox. (You can only download.) In this situation, I would recommend you sync your phone and computer. Dropbox allows multiple devices so you will always have access to your files no matter where you are.
Whether you are taking a trip, or you simply want to share photos with friends and families, you can use Dropbox. For example, you are planning a trip out the country. You have an itinerary and other documents related to your trip. You also want a place to store any photos you make so you can share them with family and friends.
By installing Dropbox on all of your devices, this problem is easily solved. Sync your devices every time you make an update, and you’ll have everything you need when you need it and where you need it.
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