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Cloud-based file sharing remains an important way to collaborate with people, no matter where they are in the world. But what if you want to share a Dropbox file with someone who doesn’t have an account and doesn’t want to create one? Here are a few options.
Share the Link With Anyone
With Dropbox, if you want to share a file or folder with someone who doesn’t have an account, open it and click the Share button. In the dialog box, click create a link. A link will be created immediately, with the default setting that anyone with access to the link can view the folder.
If you have a premium Dropbox account, clicking Link settings allows you to password protect your link and add an expiration date. If you want to revoke access completely, you can delete the link under Link settings.
2. Google Drive
To share a file or folder in Google Drive with anyone, right-click it and select Get shareable link. Sharing will immediately be turned on and a shareable link will be generated. You can also click Sharing settings to adjust how people can interact with that file. You can choose from the ability to edit, comment, or view.
If you want to make the link public so that anyone on the internet can find the file in a Google search and access it, click More in the drop-down menu and select Public. If you want to change the settings at a later date, just click on Get shareable link > More and turn sharing off.
To share a file or folder on Box, right-click it and select Sharing > Share link. (If you hover over the file, a share link should also automatically pop up.) A dialog box will pop up with the link. You can adjust the access type to either people with the link or people who already have access to the folder.
If you want to adjust how people can interact with the file or folder, click the Advanced Settings button and there you can choose a custom URL and choose whether to allow users to download the file. Premium users have access to advanced settings like password protecting the link.
To unshare the file, navigate back to the file or folder and click on Share. In the drop-down menu under access type, click Remove link.
Tracking Who Opened the Link
If you have a premium account on Box, you can see details on how many times a link has been clicked or how many times a file has been downloaded. Dropbox and Google Drive don’t have similar features.
If you want to keep track of these statistics anyway, one workaround is to use a URL shortener like Bitly. Before you share the link, plug it into Bitly and you can get a shortened link that you can track. You won’t necessarily be able to track actual downloads, but at least you can see how many times the link has been clicked.
Share Without Signing Up
If you’re the one who doesn’t have a cloud account and want to share a file with someone else, there are quite a few services that will allow you to do just that. You can use one of these four apps to upload your file to the cloud temporarily for sharing.
If you don’t want to have to create an account at all, you can opt for Send Anywhere. If you prefer not to upload your file to the cloud at all, Takeafile makes it easy to transfer files directly between two machines, regardless of where you’re both located.
What’s the easiest way you’ve found to share files with just about anyone? Let us know in the comments.