Dropbox shared folder

Work Culture

Collaborating with Dropbox: Shared folders vs. links


Published on September 04, 2014

We love hearing from users about how Dropbox helps them collaborate more effectively with their team members. Because there are two ways to share files and folders — and different advantages to each — here's more information to help you choose the best way to share.

When to share a folder

Let’s say your group has a big client meeting next week and everyone is working together to prepare. Several team members are making edits to the presentation, working on different spreadsheets, and saving large video files. Rather than managing multiple versions of your files and emailing attachments back and forth — share a folder!


When you share a folder with your colleagues, it feels like you’re sharing a computer. All of your project files will be in one central place and any member of the folder can save changes directly to the shared copy in an instant. It's like creating a shared workspace for your team for a given project.

Dropbox for Business users also have the option to choose whether collaborators can edit files in the shared folder, or only view them. For example, a sales team can use view-only permissions to make sure their reps always have the most up-to-date versions of sales materials, while ensuring that only certain managers can actually update or change those files.

When to send a link

It’s the night before the big meeting and you’re ready to send the client a preview of the work you’ve done. The files are very large, so rather than try to zip and send them as an email attachment —  send a read-only link!

Dropbox shared link
Dropbox shared link

With a Dropbox link, your clients can view or download the latest version in seconds, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. And you don’t need to worry about re-sending the file if you notice a typo — just update your file and the latest version is available at the original link, automatically.

Shared links work for both files and folders, so you can send a whole set of documents or just one file. This method is great for broadcast-style sending rather than collaboration, because if the recipient makes changes to the file after downloading it, the changes won't be reflected in your version. For example, conference organizers can send attendees a shared link to a folder that contains event materials, or managers can share a link with their team to the itinerary for next week's offsite.

Dropbox for Business users also get an additional layer of control on shared links, with the option to add password protection and expirations.

Whether you want to collaborate on files or just send them, Dropbox has you covered! To learn more about how teams use Dropbox for Business for easy file sharing, visit our website.