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How to Share Files on Dropbox

How to Share Files on Dropbox in 2024

If you want to know how to share files on Dropbox, this step-by-step guide will show you several easy ways to share Dropbox files.

Aniket KetkarSamuel ChapmanJasna Mishevska

Written by Aniket Ketkar (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-02-14T14:07:00+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Dropbox is the OG of cloud storage services and continues to gather interest from cloud storage users around the world. Apart from boasting third-party integration and team collaboration tools, it is also one of the easiest services to use for sharing files. In this article, we will describe how to share files on Dropbox using the web browser, Dropbox folder or mobile app.

Key Takeaways: Sharing Dropbox Files

  • Dropbox has easy-to-use file sharing tools for its web, desktop and mobile app interfaces.
  • It is possible to set permissions for different users while sharing files or folders.
  • The file transfer option can be used to share files or folders with non-Dropbox users.
  • With the acquisition of Boxcryptor, Dropbox might finally bring end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption to its Business plan users.

The recent acquisition of Boxcryptor by Dropbox may bring zero-knowledge encryption of user data to this cloud storage service. It’s a great time to be getting started with Dropbox — read our full Dropbox review or what is Dropbox guide for more details — so without further ado, let’s dig into easy step-by-step directions on how to share Dropbox files.

  • 01/11/2023 Facts checked

    Rewrote this article; added information about the Dropbox-Boxcryptor acquisition. 

How to Share Dropbox Files From a Web Browser

It is easy to share Dropbox files on Dropbox web. You can allow recipients different types of access such as “view only,” “comment” or “make edits.” Here are the steps to share files on Dropbox.

  1. Locate the File You Want to Share

    Sign in to on your computer and locate the file you want to share.

    Locate file dropbox web
  2. Hover the Mouse Over the File to Find the Share Icon

    The “sharing” button appears to the right side under the column labeled “who can access.” Click on the button to view more sharing options and set permissions.

    File sharing Window
  3. Add Recipients and Set Preferences

    With the sharing window, users can add email addresses of recipients, include a text message, create a sharing link to share the file through other apps or services or assign the “can view” or “can edit” permissions.

    Add recipients
  4. Share the File

    Finally, click on the “share file” button. The recipients should get an email notification with access to the file.

    File shared message

How to Share Files With Your Dropbox Folder

The Dropbox desktop app creates a Dropbox folder on your computer. This folder displays files and folders in your Dropbox account. It is possible to share files and folders using the Dropbox folder on the desktop (read our guide to understand Dropbox file size limit). Here’s how to do it.

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  1. Open the Dropbox Folder on Your Computer

    Either double-click on the Dropbox shortcut icon or click on the Dropbox icon from the startup menu to open the Dropbox folder on your computer.

    Dropbox folder desktop
  2. Locate the File or Folder You Want to Share and Find the Sharing Option

    The Dropbox folder should display all the files and folders that you have uploaded to your Dropbox account. Right-click on the file or folder you want to share. The “share” option will appear with the Dropbox logo next to it. Click on it to open a sharing window.

    Locate share option desktop
  3. Assign Permissions and Add Recipients

    In the sharing window, you can add the email addresses of the recipients and assign permissions such as “can view” or “can edit.” These options can be seen next to the recipient’s email in a dropdown menu.

    Add recipients permissions desktop
  4. Share the File or Folder

    Once the recipients are added and permissions are set, click on the “share” button at the bottom-right corner. The recipients will get a Dropbox link in their email with access to the shared file or folder. You can also copy the link in the sharing window and send it through a third-party app or service, such as WhatsApp.

    Share file desktop

How to Share Files Using the Mobile App

Dropbox’s mobile app can also be used to share files or folders with other users. 

  1. Open Dropbox App on Your Mobile and Locate the File You Want to Share

    The Dropbox mobile app has a similar UI to the web app. You can view all files and folders on the cloud in the “home” window of the app.

    Locate file mobile
  2. Find the Sharing Option

    Each file and folder has three dots on the right-hand side. Tap on it to view Dropbox file-sharing options. Tap on “copy link” to share the file link separately using other apps or services, such as WhatsApp, or tap on the “share” button to open the sharing window.

    File sharing mobile
  3. Add Recipients and Set Permissions

    The sharing window allows you to add email, name or group. The settings icon at the top-right corner allows you to set permissions such as “can view” (view and comment but not edit) or “can edit” (view, comment, and edit), set expiration dates to the file and disable downloads.

    Add recipients permissions mobile
  4. Share the File or Folder

    Finally, click on the “share” button at the bottom-right corner. The recipients will automatically get an email notification with the access to the file or folder. The link created in step two can also be sent through third-party services such as WhatsApp.

    File shared message mobile

How to Share Files to Non-Users With Dropbox Transfer

If you want to share files or folders with non-Dropbox users, or if the recipients do not have enough storage space to use normal sharing functions, you can use Dropbox Transfer. This service allows you to transfer files up to 100MB with the basic plan and up to 100GB with the Professional plan.

There is no restriction on the number or type of files you can send. Additionally, Professional plan users can add an expiration date and password to the file being shared. 

It’s worth noting that Dropbox Transfer creates a separate copy of the file for the recipient. Hence, while it is a handy tool for sharing files with non-Dropbox users, it is not the best tool for working on collaborative projects.

  1. Locate the Dropbox Transfer Option

    On the web app, click on the menu icon at the top-left corner to view different options that include the “transfer” button under “explore more.” Click on it to open a new window for file transfer.

    Locate transfer option
  2. Create Transfer

    The “create transfer” button will appear on the right side. Click on it to open file upload or file drop option.

    Create transfer window
  3. Upload Files

    Here, you can directly drag and drop files you want to transfer, or click on the “upload files” button to add files separately. The button has a dropdown arrow next to it with options to “upload folders” or “add from Dropbox.”

    Upload files
  4. Edit Transfer Settings

    Dropbox Professional plan users have the ability to set expiration dates, passwords and receive download notifications by clicking on the settings icon that appears at the bottom-left corner. This allows you to adjust transfer settings.

    Transfer settings
  5. Create Transfer

    Once security options are selected, a transfer link can be created by clicking on the “create transfer” button at the bottom-right corner. You can also send emails for file transfer by adding email addresses in the “email” tab, next to the “link” tab.

    Create transfer
  6. Send the File

    Once a transfer is created, you can send the file using the “send email” button or copy the link using the “copy link” button to send it separately using third-party apps or services. Once sent, recipients should automatically receive an email notification with access to their own copy of the file.

    Send transfer

Sharing Encrypted Files

While Dropbox has continued to evolve since its inception, perhaps its biggest flaw is the lack of end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption. If you are worried about the privacy and security of your data, you might want to look at other options such as MEGA, and pCloud

Dropbox users can add this end-to-end encryption using third-party services such as Boxcryptor or Cryptomator, which involves additional hassle. 

Recently, Dropbox acquired Boxcryptor and announced its plan to add end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption for its paid Business plan users. However, this utility has yet to be implemented.

How to Set File Sharing Permissions

When sharing files, you can set permissions to allow recipients to edit files or view only. This allows additional protection of user data and restriction of access from unknown users. To prevent data loss, users can also use other features like adding a watermark or setting a password on the Professional plan. 

  1. Assign View or Edit Roles

    To share a file or folder with someone, use the sharing window to set permissions such as “can view” or “can edit.” These permissions will determine whether recipients can make changes to files and folders or only view them.

    Set permissions
  2. Remove Unwanted Users

    In the sharing window, under the file name at the top, click on the “who can access” link to view all the users with access to the file. You can click on the dropdown menu next to a person’s name that will allow you to change permissions or remove unwanted users from the list of those with access.

    Remove user

Final Thoughts: How to Use Dropbox to Share Files

Dropbox makes it very easy to use sharing options on its desktop, web and mobile apps. It is also possible to set individual permissions and roles. Professional, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise plan users can set passwords, expiration dates and disable downloads. 

Apart from the in-built file sharing options, users can also create sharing links and use third-party services such as WhatsApp to share files or folders. 

Dropbox has a file transfer tool to share files with the non-Dropbox users or with those without sufficient cloud storage on their Dropbox accounts. File sharing tools of Dropbox are equally useful for both the Basic plan users and the Professional plan users. 

Additionally, the recent acquisition of Boxcryptor by Dropbox might finally bring end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption to its cloud storage service. However, for now this utility has only been announced for Business plan users and has yet to be implemented.

What did you think about our step-by-step instructions for Dropbox file sharing? Do you think the acquisition of Boxcryptor by Dropbox will make a big impact on the security infrastructure of the service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for your time.


  • Using the “share” tool in Dropbox, Dropbox users can easily send you files with “view” or “edit” access. Files and folders can be shared by inputting emails of desired recipients in the sharing window or by creating the links to share through third-party apps.

  • The “file transfer” utility of Dropbox allows you to share a folder with non-Dropbox users. This utility creates a separate copy of the file or folder for the recipient.

  • Dropbox file sharing utility is very easy to use across all its platforms such as web, desktop and mobile app. This utility allows users to set permissions of “view only,” “can view” or “can edit.” The Professional, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise plan users can also set passwords, expiry dates and disable downloads.

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