Did you know that Dropbox has a lot more features than just cloud storage? It’s great for storing your files in a place where you can always access them. In addition, Dropbox offers some great productivity tools.
Here, we’ll take a look at five of our favorite ways to boost productivity with Dropbox. Let us know in the comments which ones you like, and if we missed any good ones!
1. Store Ideas With Dropbox Paper
Dropbox’s Paper app is an alternative to Evernote, OneNote, and other note-taking apps. It’s most like Google Drive’s Docs, but places a stronger focus on productivity. Each note in Dropbox Paper can contain text, images, embedded videos, Dropbox files, task lists, and even highlighted code. A single click activates the insertion menu, and you just need to select what you’re looking for.
You can sort your notes into folders, and you can control access to those folders like you would for any other Dropbox file or folder. And, like many other Dropbox features, there’s a strong emphasis on sharing and collaboration. Each line or section is marked with the name of the person who wrote it. Comments can be left on each line and, again, are clearly marked with their authors’ names.
Sharing, commenting, and keeping track of updates and changes is easy. Even if you don’t need all of the sharing capabilities, however, the easy syncing and clean interface make this a great free replacement for your current note-taking app. The free iOS and Android apps also let you easily take notes on the go.
Download — Dropbox Paper for iOS (Free)
Download — Dropbox Paper for Android (Free)
2. Add Files With the Dropbox App
You might use the Dropbox app to find files and take a quick look at them while you’re on the go, but it can also be really useful for creating, too. Just hit the plus button at the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see a short menu. That menu lets you scan a document, upload a photo, upload a file, or create a new Microsoft Office document right from your phone.
There are plenty of good document-scanning apps, but when you can scan the file directly into Dropbox instead of adding it later, you can get things to where you want them more quickly. The support for Microsoft Office file formats directly from your phone is great for creating things that are well-formatted. Moreover, desktop users can easily access and edit these files. You’ll just need to download the free Microsoft Office apps first.
And, of course, the Dropbox app lets you view your files on the go. This is great for PDFs, photos, and any document types stored in your Dropbox. Contracts, spreadsheets, photos from your trip, wish lists, music… the app gives you access to it everywhere.
Download — Dropbox for iOS (Free)
Download — Dropbox for Android (Free)
3. Save Time With Version History
Everyone types the wrong thing sometimes. Or deletes important parts of a document. Or just totally messes up on something else. Whatever the reason, getting a previous version of a document back can be a huge time saver. And Dropbox makes it easy to roll your documents back to previous versions. Just edit a document stored in the Dropbox folder on your computer, and a new version will be saved in Dropbox.
Right-click a file in your Dropbox and select Version History, and you’ll see each version available. Click on one to take a look at that version, and select Restore if you want to restore it. There’s no change highlighting, so if you want to see exactly what’s been updated, you’ll want to keep Track Changes on in your Microsoft Office files.
4. Keep Your Current Documents in Dropbox
Where do you store the files you’re currently working on? On your desktop? Your documents folder? Instead, try keeping them in Dropbox. That way, you have access to them wherever and whenever you need them. Even if you almost always have your laptop with you, there are probably times when you don’t. And being able to edit Microsoft Office files from your phone is a great way to stay productive when you’re stuck at the airport or the bus stop.
Storing the files you’re currently working on in Dropbox makes it easy to instantly share and collaborate on them, as well. Need some feedback on something you’re writing? Send it off and ask for comments. Want someone’s input on a PowerPoint presentation? They can whip up a new slide right from their phone.
5. Take Advantage of Collaboration Tools
Much like Google Docs, Dropbox allows you to collaborate in real-time on your files. But Dropbox lets you work directly in Microsoft Office. Using this to work together in real time can be a huge time-saver when the alternative is passing a document back and forth with comments and markups. Just use Skype, Google Hangouts, or Appear.in to talk to each other, and get to work on the same document.
When you have a document from your Dropbox folder open, and someone else makes a change to it, the Dropbox badge will turn red so you know that there’s a change you haven’t seen yet. (You can check out this guide to see the various states of the badge and what they mean.) Use this feature to keep both copies of the document up-to-date. These collaborative features are great for companies with employees everywhere, whether they’re freelance digital nomads or just in different buildings.
The badge also allows you to access sharing tools and the version history of your document.
How Do You Use Dropbox?
These five ideas just scratch the surface of how you can use Dropbox to be more productive. But with storage, sharing, and collaboration capabilities, there are probably tons of different ways that people are using it to get more done. And we want to hear your best tips!
How do you use Dropbox to be more productive? Do you use it for work, for personal things, or both? Share your best tips and tricks in the comments below!
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