Sync, link, and share your files!

Take Control of

Second Edition
Joe Kissell

Whether you’re already among the millions of people who sync and share files with Dropbox or you plan to join their ranks soon, this book will teach you about the many features—especially the non-obvious ones!—that make Dropbox an exceptionally popular Internet service.

This product has been discontinued.

This title has been discontinued, and we currently have no plans to update it or return it to sale.

Because Dropbox is so simple to use for basic file syncing, it’s easy to forget that you can do far more with it than just sync files between two computers. If that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out!

Author Joe Kissell explains why Dropbox is cool, shares best practices for using Dropbox on your own or with a group, helps you avoid common mistakes, clues you in to newer and advanced collaboration features, teaches you how to secure your Dropbox account, and describes unusual uses of Dropbox.

Readers can quickly benefit from the book: new users can start in the Dropbox Quick Start, which directs you to beginner basics or to special information for people who just want to access a shared Dropbox document.

But, for those who already know Dropbox basics, Check Your Dropbox Skills routes you immediately to help with exciting new features that you may not yet have mastered — or even been aware of(!) — such as Dropbox Team, Dropbox Paper collaboration, file requests, and Office integration/collaboration.

Joe focuses on using Dropbox from a Macintosh or Windows PC, or Linux, but part of why this book has crept up to 151 pages in its second edition is that he has included helpful details for integrating a mobile device (primarily iOS and Android) into your Dropbox workflow.

You’ll find out how to:

  • Recover accidentally deleted or revised files.
  • Put new photos and videos into Dropbox with Camera Upload and share them easily.
  • Sync data from Dropbox-savvy apps on all your devices (apps like 1Password, DEVONthink, and GoodReader).
  • Make sure you’re set up optimally by checking a few account-related details. These include security settings and methods of getting more storage space.
  • Edit shared Office documents on the Dropbox Web site — you don’t need to have Office installed locally on your computer or subscribe to Office 365.
  • Work with the Dropbox badge if you are editing a Dropbox-shared Office file on your local computer.
  • Open PDFs from Dropbox from within Adobe Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader DC — and save any changes back to Dropbox.
  • Set up a Dropbox team: learn how it works, and how to control who can do what and when.
  • Create a Dropbox folder that other people can drop files into, but not see inside of.
  • Unlink and remote-wipe Dropbox from a stolen device.

Joe also shares examples of interesting Internet services that can interact with files that you put in your Dropbox folder to publish a blog, automate Web activities, automate your Mac, sync with other cloud services, and even publish a book like this one!

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife and their two sons.

What’s New in the Second Edition

This fully revised and greatly expanded second edition brings the book up to date with the many changes that have occurred on the Dropbox Web site and in its apps since the previous version of this book was published. The most significant changes to the book are as follows:

  • Replaced all the graphics and, in most cases, their accompanying instructions, in order to match changes made by Dropbox

  • Added a brief chapter for people who are already familiar with Dropbox but want to make sure they’re up to speed on the latest features; see Check Your Dropbox Skills

  • Reworked the chapter formerly called “Sync Your Files” so as to focus on Mac and PC only; see Sync Files on a Mac or PC

  • Created a new chapter with additional details about using Dropbox in a browser; see Use the Dropbox Web Site

  • Expanded the coverage of Dropbox on smartphones and tablets; see Use Dropbox on a Mobile Device

  • Added information on how to determine who can do what with shared files and folders and for how long; see Manage Permissions and Expiration

  • Added a chapter describing the Dropbox Badge, Acrobat integration, desktop notifications, and Mac Finder integration; see Use Special Mac and PC Features

  • Added a chapter covering Dropbox’s collaboration features, including Dropbox Team, comments, file requests, and Dropbox Paper; see Collaborate with Others

  • In the discussion of recovering old and deleted files, added a topic about recovering multiple files at once; see Undo a Deletion Event

  • Included a new topic, Publish a Podcast, in the chapter Do Cool Things with Dropbox

  • Added a sidebar explaining how you can Remotely Wipe Dropbox Contents from a Device in the event that it’s lost or stolen

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Dropbox Quick Start
  • Sync Your Files
  • Share Files and Folders
  • Recover Older and Deleted Files
  • Work with Photos and Videos
  • Work with Apps
  • Manage Your Account
  • Do Cool Things with Dropbox
  • Teach This Book
  • About This Book
  • Joe Drops in to MacVoices

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on March 11, 2016

    Sure, you can read about what’s new in the second edition of Joe’s Dropbox book right here on this page (click the What’s New link just above), but it’s more fun to hear him explain it all to Chuck Joiner on MacVoices.

    Dropbox to Close Carousel and Mailbox

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on December 9, 2015

    Dropbox has announced that it is closing its Carousel photo sharing app and service, and its Mailbox mobile email service. If you have used or have planned to use either of these services, read the Dropbox’s blog post that explains these closings and provides links for more information for users of either service.

    A MacVoices Triple-Decker: Joe and Chuck Discuss Three Books

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on February 16, 2015

    Joe made his first MacVoices interview of the year a triple-decker, discussing his Take Control of Dropbox, Take Control of File Vault, and his latest book, currently streaming a new chapter every week on TidBITS for TidBITS members, Take Control of Security for Mac Users. No need to feel insecure: you’re welcome to drop in on the discussion.

    Joe Talks about How to Think inside the (Drop)box

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen on April 29, 2013

    Fresh from pioneering a new Take Control authoring workflow for his Dropbox book, Joe Kissell (virtually) sits down with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices to discuss some of the lesser-known benefits of using Dropbox for cloud storage and file sharing and to describe the educational extras that come with the book.


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    Be the first to review “Take Control of Dropbox”

    I just couldn't put it down. EXCELLENT JOB!
    —Joe Gudac, President of the Uniontown Apple Computer Club

    I've used (and endorsed) Dropbox for years, but I could still find myself mystified by some of the less well-documented features. As usual, Joe has been able to shed light on the unclear, the complex, and the poorly implemented. The one-page cheat sheet has already proven to be a handy resource and the snazzy new cover design is a nice touch too. Kudos to the Take Control team for another nerdy, but illuminating title.
    — Peter Tatikian, TidBITS reader

    After purchasing the title it's obvious to me that this is a very good read. There's miles of stuff that I knew about Dropbox and use (Dropbox junkie here), but there's still a few tricks that I wasn't aware of.
    — Rodger L.

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