Office 365 is a fully integrated suite of Microsoft workplace products like Word and Excel, as well as more exotic tools like Yammer and Visio. Microsoft’s OneDrive (read our OneDrive review) is included, but it may not be the answer to all your needs. As such, this guide will show you how to add Dropbox to Office 365.
- OneDrive no longer lets you add Dropbox as a place to store files, so all your files will be in OneDrive by default.
- There are workarounds that will let you use Dropbox as a backup instead.
- You can still create Microsoft Office files in Dropbox, and it’s easy to do.
As you can read in our OneDrive vs Dropbox article, Dropbox has a few distinct advantages over OneDrive, especially when it comes to version control and security. Sadly, fully replacing OneDrive with Dropbox is no longer possible, but there are still plenty of ways in which the two programs can work together.
For example, you can work on Microsoft Office files from Dropbox, perfect for teams that want to share files using Dropbox rather than OneDrive. You can also — with outside help from automation apps like Zapier and IFTTT — use Dropbox as a backup for OneDrive or the other way around. There are a lot of options, so let’s get started.
Rewrote the article to reflect changes made by Dropbox and Microsoft on how their apps work together.
You can create Microsoft Office files in Dropbox, but other than that, you’ll have to use third-party integrations.
There is an add-in for Office 365 for Business users that lets you add Dropbox to Outlook.
Syncing OneDrive and Dropbox is possible using automation from IFTTT or Zapier.
Can I Still Add Dropbox to Office 365 as a Place?
Before we get started, though, let’s go over the bad news. You can no longer add Dropbox as a place in Office 365, which is Microsoft speak for designating your Dropbox folder as a save location for files you create. OneDrive is no longer just the default place, it’s set in stone.
This is a shame as there are better cloud storage options than OneDrive — or Dropbox, for that matter — but it seems this is the way forward for Redmond. Everything is going to get crammed under the Microsoft umbrella, and it doesn’t matter what users have to say about it. Thankfully, there are workarounds, three of which we’ll go over now.
Adding Microsoft Office Files to Dropbox
Before we get started with our first option, know that it’s clunky, ungainly and, quite honestly, a pain in the neck. You’re much better off going with the second option, but at the same time, this one works and we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention it. What we’re going to do is make your OneDrive download folder Dropbox’s folder.
Option 1: Make OneDrive Download Folder Dropbox’s Folder
In Microsoft Office apps — the newfangled online versions — saving is done automatically. However, there is still an option to download files. Annoyingly, the download location is set and you can’t change it.
However, using the symlink trick, which we go over in detail in our article on how to sync folders outside the Dropbox folder, you can make your download folder your Dropbox folder.
There are several downsides to doing it this way, though, not the least of which is the amount of hassle. On top of that, the files you downloaded would no longer be synced. It’s much easier to go the other way and create Office files in Dropbox instead, which we’ll go over in the second half of this article.
Option 2: Use an Automation App to Transfer Files between OneDrive and Dropbox
Our second option is a lot simpler and we recommend it. Since neither Microsoft nor Dropbox want to let us decide what to do with our files, we’ll get help from a third party. In this case, automation apps like Zapier will come to the rescue.
Zapier and IFTTT have a good selection of automation options you can use to automatically transfer files between OneDrive and Dropbox. IFTTT has better pre-made ones, most of which should work as soon as you authorize your Dropbox account for use with IFTTT (read our IFTTT guide to see how that works).
Zapier has far fewer ready-made options, but it’s a little easier to tweak its automations (called “zaps”). There are also more options for apps covered by the 365 umbrella. For example, there are a lot of zaps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as Microsoft Teams and the like. For more information about Zapier, read our full Zapier guide.
Option 3: Using Microsoft Integrations
There is a third option, but it’s only available to the business (or upgraded) version of Office 365. If you’re subscribed to that plan, you can use what Microsoft calls “add-ins.”
Add-ins are simple, pre-baked automations, not unlike what you’d find with Zapier, IFTTT or even Trello (read our Trello review). There aren’t too many available for Dropbox, but it may be worth looking into for some people.
- Go to the Add-Ins Screen
In Office 365, first go to the “apps” screen. There, you can find the “add-ins” button at the top right of the screen.
- Find Dropbox Add-Ins
In the add-ins screen, use the top bar to search for Dropbox-related add-ins. Do so, and a handful will pop up (hopefully, there will be more in the future).
- Follow the Steps
Depending on the add-in you picked, you’ll have to go through a few steps to authorize the integration — we went with the Outlook add-in. Follow the on-screen instructions and all should be set up within a few seconds.
How to Create & Edit Microsoft Office Documents from the Dropbox App
None of the above options are particularly simple, though. Unless you need to go from Office 365 to Dropbox — for an integration with Outlook or Yammer, say — you can forgo it for a much easier solution.
If you have a Microsoft Office Online account, you can create Word documents, Excel workbooks and PowerPoint presentations in Dropbox.
- Create a New File
To do so, all you need to do in Dropbox — either on desktop or the web interface — is click “create” in the main screen.
- Choose a Microsoft Office File Type
From the dropdown menu, pick a type of file — we’re going with a document — then pick the type of document, in our case Word.
- Set Up the Connection with Microsoft Office Online (or 365)
Next, you’ll need to authorize Dropbox and Microsoft to work together. Click “allow.”
- Get to Work
That’s all there is to it. Your files are automatically saved in Dropbox and you can invite others to join you. It’s a solid, streamlined system.
Though it’s a shame you can no longer replace OneDrive with Dropbox, there are workarounds that will at least let you keep some files in a more secure environment than Microsoft’s online storage.
What do you think about Microsoft restricting Dropbox’s access to its apps? Are our workarounds and tips helpful? Did we miss any integrations? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.