Dropbox is a convenient way to store your files in an easy to use cloud environment. You may be using it right now to store your most precious data files and other information in the likely event that your PC suffers a major hiccup. Dropbox now has another wonderful option for collaborating with the people you may be sharing excel sheets with. Microsoft and Dropbox revealed that you can now make Office documents such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel with a group of people. It works just like Google Drive’s version of collaboration only this time with Microsoft products. Dropbox also created a brand new Windows 10 exclusive application and I’ve covered all the main features to show you what they have to offer.
This new app is only available to download through the Windows 10 store. You get nifty features just like you would with other cloud services such as Drag & Drop, Notifications, and accessing files from any machine you sync with whether that be a tablet, phone, or PC. Dropbox for Windows 10 has a few features that sets it apart from other cloud services like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. You can also add comments to discuss files in collaboration with others like Google Drive. For this article, I’ll be showcasing a few examples using a “dummy doc” of what you can do with their features.
You can “Quick Search” by just typing for what you are looking for if you have a bunch of files and you can’t seem to figure out which folder you stored it in. You don’t have to use the search icon at all. Just being typing anywhere within the Dropbox program and it will find what you need in seconds.
Making documents for offline reading is another useful feature if you happen to be in a place where you can’t access any internet services.
On the top right of the window there is a toggle button for quickly making documents and other files for offline use. One click and it shows a purple tiny icon next to the file of choice in the Dropbox listing on the left panel. You can also access the offline documents by clicking the last icon on the left side of the window to find all your offline files in a separate folder/area. This comes pretty handy especially if you go through tons of important files and decide to make a lot of them for offline use.
Kind of a gimmicky feature but impressive nevertheless, “Windows Hello” can be used to secure your Dropbox with fingerprint, facial recognition, or eye scan. I don’t have a camera device capable of this feature on any of my current machines so I can’t really say whether or not this actually works well enough to use or recommend. But hey, feel free to let me know in the comments section if you have this feature on your Windows 10 device and how well it works.
“Jump List” is now integrated into Dropbox for quickly accessing your files by right-clicking the app on the taskbar. You don’t have to go through your windows file system just to see your recent files you opened. I find this feature pretty handy when I need to access a file quickly and with ease. There are a couple other programs that do this as well for other purposes and I find that the Windows 10 operating system excels at. I’m within reach of all my recent files by two clicks on my taskbar.
Want to save your camera roll on Dropbox instead of locally on your device? Well now they include an option to sync all your pictures taken to Dropbox directly so you don’t have to worry about your local storage being used up by vacation pictures and cats.
It even comes with an option to “use any connection type”, if you want your photos uploading on any connection you’re on and not caring whether or not you’ll go over your data plan limits on the device being used. I would highly suggest that you consider this option if you’re a photographer nut that needs to upload everything directly to Dropbox, as well as buying extra storage space through Dropbox because I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the device you have takes some pretty high caliber shots. Those pictures come out to look amazing but at the cost of really big file sizes.
I took this picture of myself using my pretty OK built in webcam on my laptop. Once I took the picture Dropbox automatically found it and uploaded it in seconds to the cloud. So yeah this feature is pretty neat and works as expected.
The added comment system is probably the shining feature of their new application. You can collaborate with others easily by messaging others who use the Dropbox system or send messages via email tagging right within the program. Not quite like annotation from Google Drive’s version of their collaboration system, but a nice start for Dropbox productive situations.
Here’s when things got a little messy…
I had trouble testing the messaging system for about a week and a half until Dropbox finally contacted my about my problem. None of the messages I created to any of my email addresses worked. I don’t normally use Dropbox and I had never had friends that used Dropbox exclusively enough to use their contacts list feature. Just to get the ball rolling though, I decided to test the feature without local contacts from Dropbox and use my other email addresses for communicating.
As you can see above on the left of the window, there is a tiny red circle with an exclamation in the center. This problem kept persisting no matter what email address I used for testing…that is until I found the solution on my own.
For whatever reason, Dropbox thought that I had never verified my account. When I logged into the site to test this same feature using the browser web-based version, it asked me immediately to verify my email. Once that was done, a miracle happened. I was able to see the message without the same program and I received the email in my inbox.
So if you happen to run into this same issue, make sure to verify your email address or else your comments or messages won’t go through.
Dropbox and Microsoft also mentioned that they are indeed working on a Windows 10 Mobile version as well for people who use Windows Phones. So if you use a Windows Phone, look out for the mobile version in the coming weeks, hopefully ready soon. We’ll keep you guys up to date on when it releases.
There seems to be a lot more in store being hinted at for the future of their new partnership with Microsoft. Actual documentation editing in real-time collaboration unfortunately has not completely made it’s way from the core website onto the new program, which is something they could possibly add down the road. If you want to be able to edit files with your partner, go here and find out how to do it. They have a pretty simple guide to follow so I didn’t have any reason to replicate any of it for our followers. So why use this new handy feature over using Dropbox instead of OneDrive? Yes, OneDrive has had this feature for quite some time now, but if you don’t have a OneDrive account and use Dropbox exclusively, then that’s most likely why you’ll stick to Dropbox.
Dropbox app for Windows 10 is accessible via the Windows Store for download on Windows 10 devices.
Dropbox Collaboration is available ONLY through the web-based version, just to make it clear once more.