Share files with friends and colleagues so easily, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it

Have you ever had a large file that you needed to send to a client, and emailing it was just not working? Or how about a bunch of smaller files that you needed to share with a group of people? Enter DROPBOX. Dropbox is a service that makes sharing files easy. If you start off with their free account, you can store up to 2 gigabytes of data on the Dropbox server, and allow as many people as you want to access those files as many times as you want.

SO HOW DOES IT WORK?

Simply put… it’s… well, simple. Once you create your account, you download their software to your computer. This installs a small helper application to your computer, and creates a DROPBOX folder on your PC. Now, anytime you wish to share a file, simply drag it to your DROPBOX folder. As long as you are connected to the internet, DropBox will monitor this folder for any new files you place into it, and transparently copy these files to the Dropbox folder. If you later change a file, simply drag the updated file to your Dropbox folder, and Dropbox will automatically update it on their servers, AND save a copy of the older version, just in case you need to go back to it for some reason

HOW DO I SHARE MY DROPBOX FILES?

Once you have placed files that you want to share into your Dropbox folder, simply go to your Dropbox account in your web browser. By default, when you dragged your files into your Dropbox folder, they were placed into your private Dropbox folder. Simply right-click on each file you wish to share and select COPY TO PUBLIC FOLDER. Once the files that you wish to share are in your public folder, just click on the public folder so they are visible, then RIGHT-CLICK on the file and select COPY PUBLIC LINK. This will copy the link to that file to your clipboard. You can then email that link to whomever you wish. Now you can email those large listing photos to your clients, without wondering if their email box will be full, or some other error prevents them from being sent. Now, you can just email them a simple link. There’s even an iPhone app that allows Dropbox files to be viewed right on the iPhone in dozens of formats.

It’s fast, easy, and your customer’s will appreciate how quickly you can get photos, contracts, and other correspondence out to them.  Dropbox offers some nice convenience features over Docs but both will do the job.

Wait – you can also use Google Docs

No article would be complete without talking about something Google offers.   Google Docs is Google’s version of Dropbox.  With Google Docs you can now even share files.

You can create shared folders if you’d like to share a group of related items with your friends, coworkers, or family. To create a folder, first select Folder from the Create new drop-down menu.

Enter a name for your folder (and a description and color, if you’d like) and click Save.

To add items to your shared folders, you can drag the doc from your Docs list to the folder (it’s listed in the navigation pane on the left of your docs). You can also select the checkbox next to the item in question and click the folder from the Folders drop-down menu.

Sharing a folder with someone is an easy way to give someone access to the docs within your folder. Just click My folders in the navigation pane on the left of your docs, select the folder you’d like to share, click the Share drop-down menu, and select Invite people…

Enter the email addresses of anyone you’d like to have access to your folder and click Send to send them an email with a link to your folder. Click Add without sending invitation if you don’t want to send them the notification.

Note: when you share a folder, the new permissions are pushed to all sub-folders and docs within the folder. Normally this happens quickly, but occasionally, it could take a couple of minutes.

Here’s an example of how access permissions work with shared folders:

Say that I create a document and share it with Julian, and then add it to Folder1. If I then share Folder1 with Camille, the document will be shared with both Julian and Camille.

Folders that are shared will appear in your Docs list with an icon to distinguish them from folders that aren’t shared with others. The folders you share appear in the ‘My folders’ section.

Folders others share with you will appear in the ‘Folders shared with me’ section underneath ‘My folders.’

Google Docs also supports bulk uploading to save time and your.

As far as how much space you get here is the quick anwser.

In a nutshell

  • Docs: Each doc can have a maximum size of 500K, plus up to 2MB per embedded image.
  • Spreadsheets: Each can be up to 256 columns, 200,000 cells, or 100 sheets–whichever is reached first. There’s no limit on rows.
  • Presentations: Files in .ppt and .pps formats can have a maximum size of 10MB or 200 slides; files uploaded from the Web can be up to 2MB; emailed files can be up to 500K.
  • PDFs: You can store up to 10MB per PDF from your computer and 2MB from the Web in your Docs list, up to 100 PDFs.
  • You have a combined limit of 5000 documents and presentations and 5000 images.

So whether you use Dropbox or Google, you do have some quick and reliable ways to store and share documents online.  Dropbox offers some really nice features and is very user friendly while Google offers you the convenience of having the ability to subscribe to a bunch of apps under 1 roof.  Both work very well.  Dropbox is a bit easier to use as far as the automation of syncing and is a good choice if you will be sharing and changing files often.

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