Digital Sharing for Apple Users: A Take Control Crash Course
by Joe Kissell

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When I speak at conferences, I sometimes want to give attendees PDF handouts or other digital goodies. Or, I might want to give away something on Twitter or in an email promotion, for a short time only. In cases like these, I don’t want to Sync Folders with Others (as in the previous chapter) or Send Files to Others (as in the next). I want to make the files available to an indeterminate number of people without my having to contact or approve each one individually—and without requiring anyone to sign up for an account with a cloud provider or download special software.

While I want to make it simple for recipients, I also want to be able to limit access to the files (say, require a password or make them available only for a limited time) while remaining able to modify the original file (for example, to correct an error).

The easiest way to do all this is to store the file in the cloud and then publicize a link to that file. In years past, this may have involved uploading files to a Web or FTP server and then managing it manually. But with Dropbox (or, in some situations, iCloud Drive), nearly the whole process can be automated.

First, make sure the file(s) to which you want to broadcast links are located in your Dropbox folder (or one of its subfolders). Then…

Share from a Mac

  1. Select a file.
  2. Right-click (or Control-click) a file and choose Share Dropbox Link from the contextual menu .
**①** This menu command is the fastest way to share a Dropbox link from a Mac.
This menu command is the fastest way to share a Dropbox link from a Mac.

The URL for the shared item is copied to your Clipboard, and you can then paste it wherever it’s needed.

Share from an iOS Device

  1. In the iOS Dropbox app, select a file.
  2. Tap the Share icon followed by Copy Link.

The URL for the shared item is copied to your Clipboard.

Share from the Web

  1. Log in to your account at dropbox.com.
  2. Select a file by clicking in its row but not on the filename directly.
  3. Click Share > Share Link. A link appears, which you can copy and paste—or fill in email address(es) and a comment to send it to someone.
  4. Optionally click the Change Permissions / Add Expiration link to modify sharing options (discussed in more detail just ahead).

Modify Sharing Options

On the Dropbox Web site, you can make two important modifications to a shared item—either as you’re sharing it from the site, or after the fact. (Mac shortcut: in the Finder, right-click or Control-click a shared file and choose View on Dropbox.com.) Then click the file’s Share button followed by Change Permissions / Add Expiration. Your options are:

**②** Optionally add a password or expiration date to a link in this dialog.
Optionally add a password or expiration date to a link in this dialog.
  1. Log in to your account at dropbox.com.
  2. Click the Links item in the sidebar.
  3. Click the X icon next to the link you want to stop sharing.
  4. Click Remove Link to confirm.

Certain iOS and OS X apps, such as Apple’s iWork apps, contain a Share Link feature for any of their documents stored in iCloud Drive. (This does not apply to documents you’ve stored locally on your Mac’s disk.)

**④** The iOS Share sheet lets you send the URL for a shared document in various ways.
The iOS Share sheet lets you send the URL for a shared document in various ways.
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