The Best Apps for your Dropbox
Dropbox has made our digital lives so much easier. You put a file in your Dropbox folder and it becomes available on mobile phone, your tablet and on all your other computers. If you have shared a Dropbox folder with another person, say your mom, any files that you add to the shared folder instantaneously appear on her computer. So useful!
Dropbox has 50 million users worldwide and, because of such immense popularity, an entire ecosystem of apps has been created around Dropbox that add new functionality and extend the service beyond the realms of online storage. Here are some of the best apps that you should try with your Dropbox account.
Alternatively, if you want a more simple solution, check out apps like DropPages.com, Scriptogr.am and Pancake.io all of which let you publish simple websites using Dropbox for free. DropPages and Pancake are more suitable for publishing regular web pages while Scriptogram is geared towards the blog (reverse chronological) format.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could write a document inside Google Docs and access it offline inside your Dropbox folder. Or vice-versa where you add one or more files to Dropbox and they magically appear inside your Google Docs account?
There’s an excellent service called insync that keeps your Google Docs files in sync with your desktop folders and with a little trick, you can get it to work with Dropbox as well. Launch the Insync utility (it’s available on Mac and Windows) and under Preferences, just change the default Insync directory to one of your Dropbox folders. The other alternative is cloudHQ though their free plan has a few limitations.
With attachments.me, you can quickly save file attachments available in your Gmail account to your Dropbox folder with one click.
There are two ways of doing that. You can either install the attachments.me Chrome extension and, as you are reading a message thread in Gmail, send any of attached files to your Dropbox without leaving Gmail. Alternatively, you can use the attachments.me website to save any of your email attachments to Dropbox.
Gimme Bar is a neat bookmarking service that lets you clip web pages, photos and everything else that you see on the web. It even grabs screenshots of whole web pages so the archived pages look exactly like what you see on your screen.
You can connect your Gimme Bar account with Dropbox and it will periodically dump all your saved web clippings to your Dropbox folder. The backups aren’t instant though.
With URL Droplet, you can download any of the online files to your Dropbox folder even from a remote computer.
Simply copy and paste the URL of any web file to URL Droplet and the app will save that file to your Dropbox folder in the background. This is especially useful when you want to download an online file to Dropbox but the computer you are working on, say your office computer, is not linked to your personal Dropbox account.
Do you want other people – like your clients - to upload files to your Dropbox but without having to share any of your Dropbox folders with them?
There’s a free service called DropItToMe that lets you receive files from anyone, anywhere and the files are added straight to your Dropbox. Alternatively, you can create an online form using JotForm and any files uploaded through this form are again sent to your Dropbox.
If you are looking for any easy way to transfer files across different cloud services like Dropbox, Google Docs, Picasa, etc. or if you need to move files between Dropbox and an FTP server, Otixo is a near perfect solution.
Otixo connects to all popular cloud services, including Dropbox, and lets you access all your online files at one place. Then, like Windows Explorer or Apple’s Finder, you can copy or move files from service to another using easy drag and drop.
Dropbox, unlike SugarSync, doesn’t offer an option to upload files by email but there’s a free app called Send To Dropbox that can help you do that.
Once you connect your Dropbox account with the app, it will provide a unique email address and any files sent to that address will get saved to your Dropbox account. This is useful for uploading files to Dropbox from a mobile phone or when you want to quickly save Gmail attachments to your Dropbox. There’s a DIY alternative as well.
Related tip: Print Files from Mobile Phone using Dropbox
Write Box is a minimal writing app for your browser that auto-saves your text document into any of your Dropbox folders. You can also open any of the existing Dropbox text files into Write Box and edit them in the browser.
The app has no toolbars and you can switch to your browser’s full-screen mode (press F11) for more comfortable and distraction-free writing. Press Ctrl+S anytime to quickly sync your edits with Dropbox.
With tools like IFTTT and Dropbox Automator, you can easily glue your Dropbox with various other services like Facebook, EverNote, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and do some really clever stuff that would otherwise require programming.
For instance, you can setup a task that will auto-upload your pictures to Facebook as soon as you add them to your Dropbox folder. Or a task that will auto-deliver your ebooks and other documents to your Kindle when you put them in a designated Dropbox folder. The possibilities are endless and if you spend some time understanding IFTTT, it will probably be the only add-on that you’ll need for your Dropbox.
One more thing..
These apps connect to Dropbox using OAuth so you’ll never have to share your login credentials with either of them. That said, if you have tried a Dropbox app and don’t plan to use it later, go here and permanently remove that app from your account.
Liked it? Here are some more Dropbox tips and tricks.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.