(Update: Dropbox Shareable Links was a passing concept on the path of development. It’s much simplified now. See Dropbox Links.)
Someone emailed me last weekend for some help with linking web pages in a particular way. It wasn’t a difficult question but she had a list of requirements for how she wanted it to work and how she didn’t. So, having knocked every other option out of the ring, what was left was Dropbox Shareable Links.
Get a free Dropbox account. Install Dropbox on your computer. You’ll get a folder called My Dropbox. Inside My Dropbox will be a folder called Public and another one called Photos. These are special-use folders. Otherwise, it’s just My Dropbox. If you’ve been thinking about installing Dropbox and haven’t done it yet, just do it.
Then go to How do I share a link to a file in my Dropbox folder? and down in the second paragraph, click the link that makes all your links shareable. Last I looked, this has not yet been added to the installer which is why it’s an extra step.
Formerly, for links to be made public the files had to be in either your Public folder or your Photos folder. Now you can have a link to any file in any Dropbox folder.
If you’re keeping your genealogy files on Dropbox anyway so you can sync between computers you can also share them easily.
I whip together a quick pedigree chart in Legacy and save it directly to My Dropbox. Over at the My Dropbox folder I right-click on the file and Get Shareable Link.
My browser immediately opens giving me the link at the top of the page (in case I want to put it in email or on a web page) and also shows me the pdf embedded in the Scribd viewer which is exactly what everyone else will see.
The Scribd viewer options are scroll, book, slide or thumbnail view, fullscreen, page turning, search box, print, download, magnify, select text. What else could you want? There are also options to further share the file through Facebook or Twitter so if you’re looking to go viral, this will do it. Just make sure to put your contact info inside the document.
The Scribd viewer also works fantastically well with text and rich text files.
Linking to HTML files
If you’re wanting to link an html or html creation like web pages (mini-website) from Legacy or something else, put the files or folder into your Public folder instead and get a Public Link to the index file.
You can embed a pdf directly into the Scribd viewer in your blog as well. You’ve probably seen that around a few places, but that’s a different story. You’ll have to upload your document to Scribd first, install the Scribd viewer plugin to your blog and get an access key and all that. It can be done, it’s pretty, it just takes longer.
Chances are, if I was doing this, I would upload a thumbnail screenshot of my document and then link to it using the Shareable Link option instead.