Last November, Microsoft and Dropbox came out with amazing yet sort of predictable news – they were going to join forces and work together.
That didn’t mean they were combining OneDrive and Dropbox, but they wanted to combine Microsoft Office with Dropbox. This was indeed a very bold step for both companies, but it proves one thing – Microsoft Office is way more important to the company than its cloud platform, OneDrive.
We aren’t really surprised, to be honest.
OneDrive has had its own share of problems over the years but Microsoft Office has always been the main profitable product of the company. Ever since Microsoft came up with Office, there have been many a software that’s tried to take its position, but none of them succeeded.
Even now, people prefer the simplicity of Microsoft Office, no matter how many bugs it has inside. And Microsoft knows that.
Microsoft’s Office Push
If the company has to go an extra mile to get more customers, it definitely will. While both companies clearly stated in their press releases that this feature was launched only to help users, we can easily think of a few selfish motives they would have instead.
The two companies have been continuously competing in the file sync and cloud storage market, but here is the difference: For Dropbox, the cloud app is their main bread and butter, but for Microsoft, it’s merely an option they are exploring.
Microsoft has revamped both Office Online and its Office mobile apps including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So that now, users can connect to their Dropbox accounts seamlessly from within those apps. Dropbox has done a similar thing with their mobile app, whenever you click on a Microsoft Office file in Dropbox, the file will be opened directly in its corresponding Microsoft Office app.
Of course, for this to work, both apps will be needed on your phone; just one won’t do. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Dropbox had also declared on November 2014 that it would create a native app for Windows phones, which it did in May this year.
Apart from the usual Dropbox features, this app allows you to share folders with phone contacts and download files directly to an SD card or a device’s internal memory. Yes, both companies do sound committed, but it looks more like a ‘scratch my back and I will scratch yours’ scenario.
Is Microsoft Trying to Sacrifice OneDrive?
This deal with Dropbox definitely proves that Microsoft is more concerned about the revenues coming from Office 365 rather than OneDrive. In fact, for Office 365, this deal can be a potential revenue driver for non-Windows systems where Dropbox is obviously more preferred.
All in all, Microsoft is letting Dropbox embed itself deep in the Office storage where it was previously heavily promoting OneDrive. Looks like for Microsoft, it’s more important that people are using Office rather than its cloud storage service– OneDrive.
What Does Dropbox Get Out of This Deal?
By doing a deal with Microsoft, Dropbox gets to survive and it doesn’t have to come up with in-house editing tools, which would have ended up looking like a ‘lite’ version of Microsoft Office.
Let’s be honest, Dropbox is a great cloud app, but its editing tools would have just made it more complicated and probably failed at the end.
This integration will prove to be very helpful for people like me, who love Dropbox’s service but are not ready to move apart from Microsoft Office yet. If you are a fan of both Microsoft Office and Dropbox, this is a complete win-win situation.
Here are some ways you can integrate your Dropbox account with Microsoft Office.
Use Office Online Web App to Edit Dropbox Files
I have been wanting this feature in Dropbox for way too long. In fact, the only reason I ever used OneDrive was because it had Office Online linked with it. Finally, Dropbox has embedded this feature, too. Here is what you have to do:
- Click on any of the Microsoft office files in your Dropbox folder
- When the file opens in a new window. Click on the ‘Open’ option on the top right corner
- You will be asked to allow access to Microsoft Office
- And there you are, working on Office Online and editing your document exactly the way you like it
Connecting Office Online to Dropbox
By connecting Microsoft Office Online to your Dropbox account, you can directly save files to Dropbox, just like you saved files over to OneDrive.
- Login to Office Online through with your Microsoft/Outlook credentials
- Open up the any of the type of document types listed – Word Online/ Excel Online / PowerPoint Online
- Once you are on the page, on the bottom-left end, you will be able to see a Dropbox option which is just below OneDrive
- Enter your Dropbox credentials and you are done!
- Save your files in the Dropbox folder
Add Dropbox to Office 2013
When you try to save files from Office, you will be able to see OneDrive and Sharepoint options under ‘Add a place,’ but you cannot really add Dropbox here officially. This can obviously be a problem when using Dropbox as your main storage space. Every time you create a file on a laptop, you have to explicitly upload the file to Dropbox.
Here are the steps to add a Dropbox account to Office 2013:
- Download this batch file. If you are using Google Chrome, it may report that the file is potentially dangerous, but it’s all tried and tested
- When done, double click on the file to open it. A command prompt will open and ask you to enter a path. This is where you have to enter the path to your local Dropbox folder
- Go back to Office 2013; here I am browsing Word 2013. Go over to the File tab -> Account-> Add a service. From there, choose the service you want to add. In this case, it’s Dropbox
These settings are machine specific, which means if you login in to your Microsoft account on a different machine, you will have to run the batch file again.
Unfortunately, the script that works with Office 2013 doesn’t work with 2016. To save files to Dropbox, you will have to save files directly to your local Dropbox folder. Are you happy with the Dropbox and Microsoft Office collaboration? Will it change the way you work? Let’s us know in the comments below!