How to use Dropbox Transfer to securely share files with others

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Dropbox Transfers encrypts the files you share to protect them from unwanted access.

Image: Nicole Lienemann/Adobe Stock

You need to share files with others outside your organization and you need a way to do it securely. A host of different file sharing sites are available, but one service that can help is Dropbox Transfer.

Included with any Dropbox account, Dropbox Transfer lets you share local or online files with others. After you upload or select the file(s) you want to transfer, you email or copy and paste a link to the file. The recipient then receives a link to download the file from your Dropbox space. Dropbox uses 256-bit AES encryption for files at rest and TLS encryption for files in transit.

SEE: Mobile Device Security Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The size of the file(s) you can share varies depending on your Dropbox account. With a free Dropbox Basic account, you’re limited to files of 100MB or less per transfer. With a paid Dropbox Plus, Family, or Standard account, you can share files up to 2 GB. And with a paid Dropbox Professional, Advanced, Enterprise, Education, or Transfer account, you can share files up to 100 GB. can share individual files or entire folders at once.

To get started, log in to your Dropbox homepage. Click the menu icon in the upper left corner and select Dropbox Transfer from the list of items (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.

On the next page, click the Create Transfer button. You can now add the file to share in different ways. To share one or more files from your PC, drag them from the File Explorer to the window or click the Upload Files button and select the local file(s) you want to share.

You can also click the down arrow to display a menu with three choices. Select Upload Files to upload one or more files. Select Upload Folders to upload an entire folder. Select Add from Dropbox to share files from your Dropbox storage (Figure B).

Figure B

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After adding the files or folder, click the Settings icon. There are two options you can enable here, but only if you have a paid Dropbox Professional account. If you subscribe to this type of account, click the Set custom expiration link to set a specific expiration date after which the file will no longer be available to the recipient. Click the Add password link to set a password the recipient would need to access the file (Figure C).

Figure C

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.

Back in the main window, click the Create Transfer button (Figure D).

Figure D

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.

Next, decide if you want to send a link to the files via email or create a link to share via a different method. To opt in to email, click the Send Email button, add the recipient(s), type a message, then click Send (Figure E).

Figure E

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To create a shareable link, click the Copy Link button. You can then paste the link into a separate email, text message, or other communication and send it to the recipient (Figure F).

Figure F

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.

The recipient receives an email with a link to the file. Clicking the Upload Files button takes them to your Dropbox page with the shared files. A File Explorer window appears automatically, prompting the recipient to download the file.

If you shared a single file, Dropbox leaves the file as is. The recipient can then download it directly to their PC. If you’ve shared multiple files or a folder, Dropbox generates a zip archive of the files. The recipient can then download and extract the zip and view the shared files (G-figure).

G-figure

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.

Finally, you can manage your shared files and folders. Return to the Dropbox Transfer page where your shared items appear. For each file or folder, click the Send Email icon to email a link to the item. Click the Copy:ink icon to create a shareable link. Click the plus icon and select Remove File from Dropbox Transfer (H-figure).

H-figure

Image: Lance Whitney/TechRepublic.
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