How to use Dropbox for team collaboration

Shared folders in Dropbox give teams a common work area to gather key files, create to-do lists, edit and comment on documents, and more.

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Add comments to a document, image, or PDF

You and others you’ve shared a file with can add comments to it.

From the shared folder listing, click the document’s filename to open its preview page. Toward the bottom of the details pane on the right, click Comments to expand the Comments section of the pane.

To add a comment, start typing inside the box marked “Add your thoughts.” If you want someone you're sharing this file with to be notified of your comment, type @ and the first few letters of their name, then select their name from the list of contacts that opens. Click the Post button to attach your comment to this file.

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You can add comments on the right, as well as review and reply to other people’s comments. (Click image to enlarge it.)

You can also comment on a specific area of a document (such as a .docx file) or PDF. On the preview page showing your document, make sure the Comments section of the details pane is open, then double-click on the text of the document that you want to comment on. (In some browsers you may need to triple-click to highlight text.) A callout (text bubble) icon appears above the text that you highlighted. Click this icon, and you can then post a comment that points specifically to this highlighted text.

To comment on a whole page, scroll down to that page in the preview and type your comment in the Comments area.

All comments added by any collaborator appear in the Comments section of the right pane. When you click on a comment, you can read its entirety and post a reply. If it’s a comment that you originally posted, you can edit or delete it. Other people you've granted edit permissions to this file, or to the folder where this file is stored in, can post a reply.

When you click Resolve (the checkmark icon) in the upper-right corner of a comment, this removes the comment. Only you and anyone with edit permissions to your folder can mark a comment resolved. (If you want to read or restore a resolved comment, click the three-dot icon at the top right of the Comments area of the pane and select Show resolved comments.)

Request files for a folder

You may want to ask people to upload a file (such as a document or image) to one of your folders. Dropbox has a tool to help you send requests to others and track their progress. You can do this whether the folder is shared with other people or not.

Click File requests in the left navigation column, then click the New request button in the right column. Alternatively, you can click All files in the left navigation, hover your mouse cursor over the folder where you want someone to upload a file to, and click the three-dot icon that appears to the right of the folder. From the menu that opens, select Activity > Request files.

A panel opens for you to enter details about your request. On this panel, you type in a title and description of the file you are requesting. You can also change the folder where you want collaborators to upload files to. And with certain paid Dropbox plans, you’ll also have the function to set a deadline when the file should be uploaded by. When you are finished making your selections on this panel, click the Create button.

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You can request that collaborators upload documents, images, or other files to a folder. (Click image to enlarge it.)

A second panel will open, on which you enter the email addresses or names of the people you want to get this request. They will be notified by an email and through their Dropbox account (if they have one).

You can track the progress of your upload requests by clicking File requests in the left column.

Keep track of updates to your shared files and folders

Whether you’re the owner of a shared folder or have been invited to a shared folder by someone else, you can opt to be notified whenever someone makes changes to the folder.

Open the shared folder and click the Follow button toward the top of the middle column. (If you don’t see the Follow button, click the three-dot icon and select Follow from the menu that appears.) A panel will open that lets you choose to be notified when files are added, deleted, or both; you can opt to be notified as these changes happen or just once a day. After you’ve made your selections, click Confirm. You’ll then be notified through email and your Dropbox account when someone makes changes to this shared folder.

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You can keep track of files uploaded or deleted from a folder by following it. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Installing Dropbox’s desktop app for Windows or macOS gives you another tracking option. Look for the Dropbox icon in the taskbar’s notification area in Windows or in the top menu bar in macOS. Click this icon, and a panel opens that features the following ways to help you track the status of files and folders shared with other people:

  • Activity: This tab lists recent activities that you’ve done to files and folders in your Dropbox, such as when you added, shared, or viewed a file or folder. If you are using a Dropbox Business account, click the Team button to see recent activity done to files and folders by other people who you are in your team.
  • Notifications: This is the bell icon toward the upper-right corner. When someone you’ve shared a file or folder with does something to it (such as adding a comment or resharing it with another person), or if someone shares a file or folder with you, these actions are listed here.
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Dropbox’s desktop app notifies you when another user does something with files or folders you’ve shared. (Click image to enlarge  it.)

When you hover the mouse pointer over a file or folder name listed under the Activity tab, icons appear to the right of it:

  • Clicking the person icon will open the share panel for the file or folder.
  • Clicking the chain link icon will copy a web link for the file or folder to your PC’s clipboard.
  • Clicking the three-dot icon will open a menu presenting a few extra actions, such as opening the folder or a preview of the file in Dropbox in your web browser.

This article was originally published in February 2021 and updated in February 2022.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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