If you’ve ever had to email a document that exceeded an attachment’s maximum data allowance, you know how frustrating it can be to receive an email “bounceback” alerting you that the file was too large and did not make it to the intended recipient. To work around this issue, I use a file storage and syncing service called Dropbox. The program is free, and you are provided with 2MB of storage when you sign up for an account. You can work directly from the website to collaborate with others and share your documents, or you can download the program’s user-friendly desktop application.

My colleague, Scott McIntosh, recently created an excellent video tutorial on how to use Skype. Before publishing the video to YouTube, he shared the video with me via Dropbox, since the video file was too large to send through traditional email.

When someone sends you a document through Dropbox, you will receive an email like the one above. Click the link to view it, and the file will automatically download to your account. After the file downloads, you can view the shared file in your account on the Dropbox website, or, if you’ve downloaded the desktop application, it will appear in your Dropbox file, as shown below.

Now the Skype video is in my Dropbox folder. From here I can watch it, save it to my computer, or share it with others. Now that I’ve seen the video, I want to share it with another colleague. I’ll first move “How to Set up Skype” into the Public folder.

Now the movie is in the “Public” folder and is ready to share.

Right click the “How to Set up Skype” folder and hover over Dropbox. Two options will appear – click on the one that says “Share this folder” as shown in the image above. Once you click on “Share this folder” you’ll have the option to add recipients, who will then receive a message like the one we saw from Scott in the beginning. Any time you add files or folders from your computer to the public folder, you’ll go about sharing the documents the same way. Dropbox also recently added a feature that allows you to share read-only links to files and folders, in case you want your audience to view, but not edit, your materials.

For more information about Dropbox, view the “Getting Started” PDF in the Dropbox desktop application.

Happy sharing!