How To Easily Share Large Files Using Dropbox

Do you ever have a problem sending files to a colleague or friend because they are too big to be sent as email attachments? If so, you could use Dropbox’s Public Link feature. In a previous Tech Tip I spoke about the convenience of Dropbox’s files sharing services. Most of these services require each person on your team to have their own Dropbox account. Conveniently, Dropbox’s Public Link feature does not require that everybody have a Dropbox account. Thus, it’s a great way to share large files with friends or family. Here are some step-by-step instructions.

Note: These instructions already assume you’ve signed up for a Dropbox account and have installed the Dropbox application on your Mac.

Tip: I often use this method to share a handful of files, like photos. Since I want to only send one Public Link, I’ll put all of the photos into a folder on my Mac, then right-click (or control-click) on the folder and select Compress <folder name> (on older versions of Mac OS X, the command will read “Archive <folder name>”). This compressing will create a .zip file. I then put the .zip file into my Public Folder in Dropbox.

[Update February 2017: As of March 15, 2017, Dropbox will no longer offer a Public folder.  Shared links still work however. I explain how to use Dropbox Shared Links in this article.]

  1. Open your Dropbox folder.
  2. Open the Public folder.
  3. Put the large file into your Public folder. This will trigger the automatic upload of this file onto the Dropbox server.
  4. Right-click (or control-click) on the filename of this large file. A menu will appears. Select Dropbox from the menu, then select Copy Public Link from the sub-menu.
  5. Open your email application and compose a new email message. Address it to your intended recipient.
  6. Go to the Edit menu and select Paste to past the Public Link into the email message. The link will look similar to this:
  7. Send the email.
  8. The recipient can simply click on the link to download the file.

If you chose to sign up for Dropbox¬†please consider using this link to do so, since I’ll earn a referral bonus. Thanks.

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