Without a system for Dropbox shared folders a company’s files and folders can quickly get out of control. When it’s time to find the assets and media you need for a project or task, you’ll have to wander through a maze of Dropbox shared folders and subfolders. Productivity takes a hit when you or your team can’t find what you require.
Dropbox document management isn’t that difficult once you learn the basics of how to do it. Dropbox offers a lot of control over organising, sharing, and through Digitile, a way to tag them.
Section 1: General Tips
How to organise Dropbox shared folders with tags 🏷
With looming deadlines and countless files to keep track of, scrolling through screen after screen of Dropbox shared folders and documents can be a time drain that most of us can’t afford. For those who want to optimise how they organise and find files, document tagging is essential. It’s a very practical way for teams to hone in on how to share files on Dropbox that are relevant.
Even if your company has instituted best practices in managing files and uses Dropbox shared folders, you’ve probably wondered if there’s a better way. Document tagging adds another level of control to your Dropbox, bringing a sense of precision for users in finding the content and files that they’re looking for. File tagging is a valuable mechanism companies can add to the procedures and practices they already have in place, further refining how files are organised.
Dropbox Tags 🏷
Dropbox is an excellent repository, but its limited organisational folder hierarchy creates chaos with unstructured data. What if you need to find multiple files scattered across sub-folders? You’re stuck clicking through layers of folders, downloading each file, and then uploading those files into other systems to manage a broader set of tasks.
Digitile a Dropbox Tag Management solution automatically categorises and creates a unified system to tag, access, and manage files across your Dropbox Workspace as well as Social Networks, Marketing, and eCommerce platforms.
It works on top of your Dropbox folder structure making your content easy to find for anyone who needs to access it.
Dropbox Tag Use Cases
Tag data buried in spreadsheets your team analyzes and needs to reference regularly
Tag customer support documents to make response times faster
Tag unique attributes about Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator assets to quickly reference them down the road when you need to reuse creative work
Tag sales enablement materials to help your sales team quickly reference the information they need to be up to speed
Tag product images by brand and line to create themed social media campaigns
Who should use Digitile’s Dropbox Tag Management platform
Teams who want to institute a universal file tagging structure.
Teams who want to make finding files accessible and more efficient for everyone.
Companies who want to use their existing tech stack and implement a new system of organization.
Team members who need to manage files with complex relationships.
Finding duplicate 📄 📄 files on Dropbox
Unfortunately, Dropbox does not have a native feature to search and find duplicate files despite how useful it would be for Dropbox Business users. You’ll need to use a third-party utility and run it against the Dropbox folder on your computer, assuming you’re using Dropbox Smart Sync on your computer. We recommend the following third-party solutions CCleaner and Duplicate Media Finder.
Dropbox file lock 🔒
This feature was rolled out in 2020 and is only available for Dropbox Business and Professional users. If you’re working concurrently with other team members on the same projects, Dropbox file lock helps you to avoid conflicts and to stay organised. While a file is locked, those with access can view and comment on the file but not be able to make edits or changes.
When a Dropbox file lock is in place, you’ll see an icon appear over the file’s thumbnail image. If a teammate needs to edit the file they can request the file be unlocked.
Turning on Dropbox file lock can be accomplished in two steps:
1️⃣ Highlight the file you want to lock.
2️⃣ Click on the ellipsis and scroll down to lock editing.
Dropbox pin and favorites 👍
It’s super handy to keep the folders and files that you use regularly at the top of your Dropbox. You can use a Dropbox pin for each file you want to immediately appear.
Dropbox pins can also be utilized on shared folders. If you’re using Dropbox team folders, whenever you pin a file or folder, it’s pinned for everyone who has access. Those who have access can also pin or unpin any file or folder when necessary.
Adding a Dropbox pin is simple:
1️⃣ Highlight the folder or file you want to pin.
2️⃣ Click on the ellipsis and scroll down to pin to Dropbox.
Use the 🧹 Tidy Up feature to help organise your Dropbox
How many times have you wished that you could hide all of those old files cluttering up your Dropbox so that you could get to the ones you actively use faster? Tidy Up is one of those features that many seem to forget about or overlook altogether.
Utilizing the Tidy Up function to ‘group inactive content’ within the last 30 or 90 days is super useful. Doing this identifies files that haven’t been modified in a specified timeframe and stores them in a dated archive subfolder. This leaves you with only current and important files. This is a useful Dropbox document management tip, that will make finding the feels you need less chaotic.
View and recover 🚫 deleted files
We’ve all felt the joy that is hitting the delete button on files that we don’t need anymore. But we’ve also felt that sense of panic that comes from accidentally deleting files that are still important.
You don’t have to freak out over mistakenly deleting files. Both Dropbox Business and Professional plans save deleted files for 180 days.
Recover a file in two steps:
1️⃣ Show deleted files.
2️⃣ Select a particular file and right-click on the ellipse to restore or permanently delete it.
In these screenshots below, you can see that recent files can be retrieved within their original folders.
Section 2: Commonly asked Dropbox questions
Dropbox has a great deal of functionality that people often get confused by, or may not even be aware of. Let’s explore some of the common questions about how Dropbox functions, some of its features, and let you in on some tips to help you out.
Can you delete Dropbox files without leaving traces?
For those using the Dropbox desktop app who accidentally save a confidential file to a Dropbox cloud account, a simple delete will not remove all traces of the file. Dropbox has a hidden folder named “.dropbox.cache” inside the “Dropbox” folder. Dropbox maintains a cache version of files for efficiency and emergencies. If you delete a file from your Dropbox it may still be stored in this Dropbox cache folder.
To manually clear the cache and scrub confidential files through the Dropbox desktop app follow these steps:
1️⃣ Open the file manager, and enter the following in the location bar “%HOMEPATH%\Dropbox\.dropbox.cache” (without quotes) then click Enter.
2️⃣ Once you’re in Dropbox’s cache folder you can delete the file.
Is it possible to quickly direct ⬇️ download share link files?
When you receive share links from third parties, you may want to download the files to your local drive. A share link can easily be accessed as a direct download through one simple step. Just copy the Dropbox share link into your browser bar and simply change the last digit from a 1 to 0. This is the fastest way to download a Dropbox file.
Here’s an example of this simple hack:
Dropbox Share Link
Is Dropbox Paper a good product for business?
Dropbox Paper is a convenient way to take notes and to keep track of them with your business documents.
Dropbox Paper is designed for teammates to create, organise, and review content in a collaborative manner. If your team struggles with collaborating on media files or code snippets, Dropbox Paper is worth considering.
Dropbox Paper’s support of these two file types even surpasses that of Microsoft and Google. Dropbox Paper is in its infancy which makes it a very simple tool to learn and use. Dropbox Paper also includes useful templates for brainstorming, meeting notes, project plans, and a to-do list. However, it must be noted that Dropbox paper lacks the editing, mark-up capabilities, and more sophisticated features that Microsoft Word and Google Docs offer. If you’re curious what type of companies have adopted Dropbox paper check out this market share study.
How do you identify large files to clear storage space?
Do you need to figure out your Dropbox storage breakdown and what files are eating into your storage space?
Your Dropbox storage quota is calculated by adding up the total amount of data in your Dropbox account. This includes all shared folders you are a member of, files collected from file requests, and Dropbox Paper files.
It can be hard to figure out how to do this if you’ve never done it before, but can be accomplished through the following steps:
1️⃣ Click on ‘All Files’.
2️⃣ At the top of the column, move your cursor/mouse right horizontally from ‘Name’ past ‘Modified’. In the carat drop-down attached to ‘Modified’ you’ll find additional ways to sort your columns including size.
What are Dropbox Beta Features?
You can sign up as a participant for Dropbox Beta Features, which means you’ll receive early access to new features before they’re widely released.
Here’s how to sign up for early access to Dropbox Business features:
1️⃣ Sign in to dropbox.com with your admin credentials.
2️⃣ Click ‘Admin Console’.
3️⃣ Select the Setting tab.
4️⃣ Click on ‘Early Access’.
5️⃣ Click on ‘Enroll’ next to the feature you’re interested in.
What is Dropbox file 📜 history?
This feature provides an easy way to see all of the changes made to files in a folder. It’s useful to have this type of record, especially in seeing any changes colleagues may have made.
Dropbox file history provides a breakdown of file changes by date and who made them. You can view the history for up to 180 days.
Dropbox file history tracks these file actions:
If a file has been moved within a folder
Edits to files
If files in a folder have been renamed
If files have been added
Files that have been deleted
What is Dropbox ⏪ Rewind?
This is one of those features you’re not aware of until you need it. Dropbox Rewind lets you undo a large number of changes in bulk all at once. Dropbox Rewind uses your version history to undo changes made to your files and folders that are controlled by your company’s Dropbox administrator.
What is the difference between Dropbox Smart Sync and Dropbox Desktop App?
The Dropbox Desktop App allows you to sync and access files and folders stored in your Dropbox cloud account. Dropbox Smart Sync is actually a part of the Dropbox Desktop app. With Dropbox Smart Sync, you can specify which files remain stored as online-only in the cloud without taking up space on your local hard drive.
The main advantage of Dropbox Smart Sync is that you maintain visibility over your entire set of files and shared team files. Another benefit is that any file or folder designated as online-only can be downloaded and accessed locally. Keep in mind that anything in the cloud counts towards your storage limit.
What is Dropbox Vault?
Dropbox Vault enables you to create a PIN code-protected folder. It lets you safeguard confidential materials like human resource documents, employee reviews, accounting & financial records, as well general intellectual property that requires an extra layer of security in the cloud. Dropbox Vault files and folders are not visible in the company’s standard folder structure for better privacy.
Dropbox team folders offer more control and improved organisation
Dropbox team folders set up companies and their team members up for success in keeping files in order and discoverable. Let’s take a look at how Dropbox team folders function.
Section 3: The value of implementing Dropbox team folders for businesses
What is the difference between Dropbox shared folders and Dropbox team folders?
A Dropbox shared folder can be created by anyone with a Dropbox personal free account or a business account.
A Dropbox team folder is available exclusively for business accounts. It can only be created by a business team administrator who oversees folder creation and selects team members to have permissions to the folder.
Now that we know the differences, let’s explore how Dropbox team folders are beneficial to businesses.
The main benefits of Dropbox team folders:
Dropbox Team folders allow your team to work smoothly and more efficiently
Dropbox Team folders are faster to navigate, saving time
Dropbox Team folders provide direct access to the files team members need
Setting up shared files and folders is a simple process
Okay! Let’s now take a look at the best ways to keep your Dropbox team folders organised.
What you need to know about deploying Dropbox team folders
Before you create any type of Dropbox shared team folders you should know the ins and outs of using them. Let’s dive into some of the essential information you should be aware of.
Dropbox team folders offer plenty of great functionality:
Allows for greater control for the company and department leads. Only administrators can move folders.
Makes it possible to find files and folders after an employee leaves. Your organisation owns the files in a shared drive, not an individual. When an employee leaves and an admin deletes their account, their files remain in shared drives.
Offers enhanced file-sharing rules.
Enables content discovery. Adding a user to a group in Dropbox Groups automatically adds them to all the shared drives that include that group.
Allows for external users on shared drives. It’s possible to add users outside of your organisation to a shared drive.
Content can be synced to a desktop as well as in the cloud, with access through the Dropbox desktop app.
Dropbox safeguards files from being deleted or moved by people assigned to the team folders.
What are Dropbox groups?
To help you manage and organise your Dropbox business team folders you can manage members through company-managed groups or user-managed groups.
Let’s look at the differences.
|Dropbox Group Feature||Company-managed groups||User-managed groups|
|Group creation||Only admins can create||Admins and team members can create (if allowed by admins)|
|Ask to join||Team members cannot request to join||Team members can request to join|
|Leave a group||Team members cannot leave a group on their own||Team members can choose to leave a group|
|Add/remove members||Only admins can add/remove team members to a group||Both admins and group managers can add/remove members to/from a group|
|Transfer group ownership||Admins can change a company-managed group to a user-managed group, and assign a new manager||Admins can change a user-managed group to a company-managed group to take control of it|
How to use Dropbox team folders to improve file organisation
Setting your company Dropbox Team Folders up so that it’s easy to navigate, allows your team to work smoothly, and to keep up their productivity.
With multiple people having access to these shared team folders, there can be a constant flow of changes to files and folders. How do you keep things organised logically so that team members can get to what they need fast, and make their workflow more efficient? Not to mention, colleagues don’t have to worry about how to share files on Dropbox with shared folders.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to keep your Dropbox organised.
Dropbox shared folders best practices
Dropbox file management depends on having in place protocols for naming and tagging files and designating specific people in overseeing this.
Figure out a system
You might make it a policy to have team members always save files directly to the shared drive instead of on their computers so that the most up-to-date versions can be accessed at any time by whoever needs them. Every employee should have the Dropbox Desktop App set up to ensure local and cloud files are always accessible and in sync. Create procedures employees should follow in saving their files.
Put someone in charge of file management
Designate an administrator responsible for controlling who has access to view, edit, or delete files on your company’s Dropbox.
They should also be in charge of tidying up the files when needed, keeping up their organisation, and adding any folders when necessary.
Develop a migration process
Determine who is going to set up the initial folder and file structure for the company and its teams. Come up with a plan to ensure that everyone is following through in migrating their files. Make sure that everyone is in the know about where each other is at in the migration process. Companies need to understand the benefits of transitioning to a Dropbox team folder versus using a shared folder. It may seem obvious, but there are limitations that companies should be aware of when they’re setting up Dropbox team folders.
Folder permissions drive organisation
Before you create your Dropbox shared folder for teams it’s important to know how permissions work before you create one.
Dropbox recently made it possible to add permissions for departmental and team folders as well as subfolders with different tiers including viewer, commenter, and content manager. It’s even possible to give a team member view-only access to the shared folder rights to edit a specific file within it. People who can only access a subfolder inside the team folder don’t have access to the team folder and do not have visibility into the team folder structure. If files in a team folder are deleted, only administrators have permissions in Dropbox to restore deleted files.
In one of Digitile’s use cases, everyone on our sales team had viewer rights to the Sales folder with all our sales collateral, meaning they couldn’t make edits to any of these files. However, we assigned our Sales Manager commenter rights. We did this so our Sales Manager could provide feedback to his team and the marketing team on these files while making sure that no one else could alter them.
Section 4: How to organise Dropbox folders for business
Every company looks for new ways to boost employee productivity. But along with finding more efficient ways to work, it’s also important to recognize and take care of anything that may be causing frustration.
One of the most common complaints in the workplace is how much time is wasted searching for information to manage everyday tasks. With all the available technology, you’d think that this wouldn’t be an issue. But employees spend an average of 25% of their workweek hunting down information buried in some file stored in their cloud storage. This is a huge chunk of time.
The goal is to make information quickly accessible and discoverable for every team member that needs it. But if you’re new to Dropbox document management there are a few things you need to learn to make this happen.
Here are some tips to remedy Dropbox document management woes. Keep in mind these four elements in improving file discoverability:
A well-organised folder structure makes intuitive navigation
Folder naming conventions should be universally recognizable
Utilize the powerful search engine
Use tags and filters
Most companies’ cloud storage drives have been implemented without much ongoing maintenance and governance. This is one of the reasons why folder structures can end up being a nightmare. A company’s most widely accessed repository amasses layers of subfolders and files that become a black hole of files lost to the void.
A well-organised folder structure will:
Save people time finding the items they need
Reduce the risk of people using outdated file versions
Contribute to an overall good employee experience
Encourage people to think about where they store their documents
Makes the overall file repository easier to manage and more sustainable
Tips to create and maintain a Dropbox business folder structure
Okay, we’ve laid out the basics about why your company should pay attention to Dropbox file management. But let’s go a bit deeper into how it can help.
Improved file organisation has long term benefits:
It helps employees find what they need quickly and with confidence
It leads employees to store files where they should be in the file directory
It is sustainable and easy to change without having to completely reorganise
A Dropbox folder structure should have the following attributes:
So folders are easy to understand, reflecting the subject of the files within them and guiding the user to what is below these files in the hierarchy.
A combination of granularity and discoverability
You want the right number of folders and an appropriate number of items within them. For example, you don’t want to create hundreds of folders with just one document in each, but you also don’t want to create a few folders with hundreds of documents in each one
Contains the right subfolder depth
How many levels does a person need to go down to find what they need? You probably don’t want a hierarchy that goes beyond more than 5-6 layers, but at the same time, you don’t want too few levels as this may not be deep enough to contain all your content.
A consistent approach helps employees navigate a folder structure through an inherent logic, however, there may be different elements of your folder structure that may have to be organised differently. This may be the case where you are working across a wider folder structure serving several different audiences and purposes.
Flexibility to evolve as the company expands
For example, you can add further categories and more documents without breaking the original folder structure.
You want to make sure you have the right security permissions in place, that somebody is tasked with keeping the integrity of the original structure and perhaps add different owners of parts of the structure.
Dropbox Business Folder Structures Examples
There are a few different ways to organise your folders. Let’s take a look at a variety of ways to take care of this.
This works best for departments and teams that lead their own projects. Work with managers to create subfolders that best meet each team’s needs. Marketing would have folders like Campaigns, Ads, Budget, and Logos, while IT might have folders like Installers, Network, and Inventory.
For businesses like digital agencies, consultancies, freelancers, real estate brokers, and law firms, there are typically folders for general-purpose files at the top level of their team space, as well as one for clients. Inside the client folders, you can add a subfolder for each client, with additional subfolders for individual projects.
For businesses with several revenue streams — like sales, support, and consulting, it may make sense to let them guide the folder structure. Within each type, you can choose a subfolder structure.
Section 5: Google Drive Versus Dropbox: Which should you choose?
Here at Digitile, our entire mission is to improve how businesses find and manage their files. We’ve spent our time researching what’s out there, and want to share with you our expertise. Here’s our take on both these respective platforms.
Dropbox and Google Drive have their differences
We’ve reviewed two of the leading cloud storage solutions to help you understand the key differences between Dropbox versus Google Drive. There are dozens of published comparisons that provide an overview of all the typical categories from price, storage space, and security for Dropbox vs Google Drive. Therefore, we’ve decided to hone in on the depth and breadth of features business users need to manage their everyday tasks to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.
Usability is a measure of how well a specific user in a specific context can navigate a product/design to achieve a defined goal effectively, efficiently, and satisfactorily. Although this is a pretty clear description of what usability means it leaves out ‘in the eye of the beholder’. For most of us, usability goes beyond the general user experience and delves into questions like, “Does the software cover the main use cases my team needs to perform to be efficient and productive?”
Dropbox File Sharing vs Google Drive
For businesses with several revenue streams — like sales, support, and consulting, it may make sense to let them guide the folder structure. Within each type, you can choose a subfolder structure.
Interestingly enough, Google Drive includes a more robust set of link-sharing capabilities designed for businesses. With Dropbox, users have the option to require a password or set a link expiration date. These features provide a higher level of security and control that Google Drive does not offer. Lastly, both providers offer file owners and editors the ability to turn off the download, print, or copy feature to control file distribution. For businesses, Google Drive has a deeper set of file sharing options than Dropbox file sharing.
Shared drive folders
Team folders offer a single content hub for all of your teams to work. It’s more secure and makes content easier to find and share. There is an important difference between Google Drive and Dropbox team folder permissions that should interest business users. Google Drive has a broader set of shared folder permissions beyond the standard editor and viewer. Google Drive offers Commenter, Content Manager, and Manager. These are handy for different use cases. For example, giving a third party the ability to comment without editing rights is very useful.
One other practical Shared Drive Folder feature is themes. The folder admin can set up a theme for each folder to make them easier to identify with a visual image for Marketing, Sales, HR, Accounting, and so on. In the Dropbox vs Google Drive bake-off for Shared Drive Folders, Google Drive offers deeper use cases around permissions.
It takes on average eight attempts for employees to find the right file. Therefore, a powerful search engine is an essential organ to the central nervous system of any file storage solution. Once our research team dug in, it became evident why employees waste valuable time searching for files.
Dropbox search embraced a robust multi-threaded search methodology designed to generate highly efficient search results. To our surprise, the quality of search results generated by Dropbox’s search engine tends to leave users hanging with no or low-scoring search match results and unfortunately, poor search results lead to lost momentum.
|Search Methodology||Google Drive Search||Dropbox Search|
|📖 Natural Language Processing|
|👓 Optical Character Recognition|
|📷 Image Recognition|
|Filters||Dropbox Search Filters||Dropbox Search Filters|
|📍 Folder Location|
|👍 Workflow Approvals|
Google Drive vs Dropbox Native Ecosystem
Google Drive’s native ecosystem, GSuite offers far more than Dropbox. Dropbox attempted to take on Google and Microsoft with the release of Dropbox Paper, however, its feature-depth is lacking and hasn’t been widely adopted.
Google Drive vs Dropbox 3rd party 🌐 Ecosystem
Both companies have a vast set of partners that provide a wide range of services and plugins to enhance your user experience with their solutions. It’s difficult to quantify who has the better third-party integrations out there.
👉 Final Thoughts: How to organise Dropbox shared folders with tags👈
For any company, Dropbox provides a multitude of functionality and capabilities to keep digital files and assets organised. Dropbox has plenty of potentials, but many businesses don’t take the opportunity to explore all it has to offer and to put it into action.
We hope we’ve given you a greater understanding of how to optimize Dropbox shared folders to help your team stay organised, and how Digitile can be the catalyst to bring your Dropbox file management to the next level.