3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About

Bakari Chavanu 02-05-2011

3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About dropboxicon 11
Our favorite, all-time file sharing service, Dropbox, generously provides up to 2 gigs of file space for free. For many users this might be enough, but now that Dropbox is becoming the central cloud syncing service for shuffling and sharing stuff between computers and mobile devices, the allotted free space may fill up rather quickly if it’s not probably managed and organized.


If you’re finding yourself using Dropbox on a regular basis, you might want to check out of some of the following tips for both locating and managing lost Dropbox files on your account.  If you’re new to Dropbox, download our free PDF Unofficial Guide to Dropbox What Is Dropbox? The Unofficial Dropbox User Guide What is Dropbox and how do you use it? Our Dropbox user guide will explain everything you need to know to get started. Read More

3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About accountoverview

Locating File Activity

If you upload, download, and share files to your Dropbox account on a regular basis, you may sometimes forget where you saved pieces of content. You can launch your Dropbox account and use what is called the Events tab to see all the latest activity related to your account.

3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About events

Clicking on the Events tab, you can quickly locate recently added, deleted, or shared files to your account. Surprisingly, you can jump back and view several months of file activity on your account.


Permanently Deleting Files

I didn’t realize this until recently, but Dropbox has sort of an Apple Time Machine feature, in that keeps a copy of your deleted files for 30 days before they are permanently deleted. So if you need to retrieve a trashed file, just click on the “Show deleted files” tab, and all your deleted files will show up as grayed out.

3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About permanentlydelete

Click on the file/folder and then click on the little triangle which will reveal two buttons, one for restoring the lost Dropbox file or folder to its original folder, and the other for permanently deleting it. If your computer is shared with other users you will want to make sure sensitive files are permanently deleted from your account.

Automatically Move Files

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t fill your allotted free space on Dropbox to the brim is to, well, clean it up sometimes. Yes, that can be hassle to do manually. Who among us is looking for more house chores? If you’re a Mac user, let’s quickly learn how you can use Automator, installed by default in OS X, to build a folder action to automatically move files added to your Dropbox account to another place on your computer. This is especially useful if you‘re uploading lots of photos to your Dropbox account and you want to move them to preserve space in your account.


Here’s how you set up a folder action for Dropbox. I assume that you have Dropbox installed on your Mac.

  1. Open Automator in your Application’s folder. Choose Folder Action in the drop-down template window, and then click, Choose.
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  3. At the top of the workflow area, where it says, “Folder Action receives files and folders added to,” click the drop-down button and locate the local folder in your Dropbox account in which you want the content of added files automatically moved or copied to this selected folder.
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  5. In the Automator search field, type “Move Finder Items,” to locate that workflow action. Drag that action into the main workflow area.
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  7. In the action, click the drop-down button next “To” and locate or create a folder where you want your designated files automatically moved to.
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  9. Save the workflow. Now when new files are added to your designated Dropbox folder (say by using a mobile app that syncs to your account) they will be moved to the selected folder on your computer.

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    If you no longer want to use the folder action, you can simply delete the folder from your Dropbox account, or locate the Automator workflow action in your Home Library > Workflows > Applications > Folder Actions. In there, you can delete the workflow action.

Let us know if you find these tips useful for managing your Dropbox. Also let us know about other ways you use to keep your Dropbox account well managed and under the free space limit.

Related topics: Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, Computer Automation, Data Backup, Dropbox.

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  1. Ramon Hamm
    November 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    There is lots of good info here, thanks! ...but...
    It would be super helpful if you specify which device the features work in, eg. Android on regular or 'request desktop site" or Android Dropbox App, or PC on Chrome, PC Dropbox App, IOS etc, these all can have drastic differences in capabilities, most articles about software do this and it turns the help from useful to frustrating. I wish developers would just make their programs the same on everything, how hard can it be? Seems harder to make more versions of help files for each device type, but I'm just logical :)
    Thanks for letting me rant :)

  2. Jörg Oyen
    May 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

    thx for the hint "perm. del". Have thought about Automator... In the meantime you may use my free a-b-c folders for spring cleaning your Dropbox files and folders ... [Broken URL Removed]

    • Tina
      May 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing A-B-C folders, Jörg.

  3. Jonathan Cohen
    May 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    On Windows, the freeware app Download Mover makes it even easier. You can specify multiple watched folders, and choose to move different filetypes to different locations. For example, I have it set on my desktop to move any torrent files I place in Dropbox remotely into the watch folder I've set up for uTorrent.

  4. Jonathan Cohen
    May 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Download Mover works in a similar (but easier) fashion on Windows - you can specify watch folders, types of files to move, and destinations by type of file.

    • Bakari
      May 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks, Jonathan, for letting us know this.