Inviting people to Dropbox is simple. It’s also a question that gets asked over and over again, so the answer is worth repeating. This post was originally published in May 2012. It’s been updated to reflect the latest version of Dropbox.
Dropbox is, foremost, a way to back up your files online and synchronize them to your other computers and devices. After you install Dropbox and put files into the My Dropbox folder on your computer, those files will be backed up to the Dropbox server.
But you also have the option of sharing those files, or any others, with other people. You cannot, however, add files to someone’s Dropbox unless you’re sharing a folder with them. Either they have to invite you or you have to invite them. This is not a free-for-all. It’s by choice.
If the screenshots below don’t exactly match your experience of Dropbox, chances are you’re running an older version. Just dobwnload the latest and install it over the top of what you already have. It doesn’t update itself automatically.
Sign up for an account. You’ll need a username and password. Download the Dropbox installer. After running the installer you’ll find a folder called My Dropbox in My Documents (on Windows) and an icon in your system tray. You can also access all files and functionality by logging into your Dropbox account online.
Install Dropbox on all your computers and mobile devices so your files will sync between them. You’ll have 2GB of space for free. You can earn extra space – 500MB per referral, for anyone installing Dropbox for the first time through your recommendation up to a maximum of about 18GB.
Put files into your My Dropbox folder for backup or for sharing with others. Create as many sub-folders as you like. These files and folders work the same as any others on your hard-drive; delete, copy, paste, move, search, etc.
Inviting/Adding People To Your Dropbox Folder
In order to invite people to your Dropbox, simply:
1. Create a new folder inside the My Dropbox folder.
2. Give the folder a name. (Like your name and the name of the person you want to invite, eg. John-Jane)
3. Right-click on the folder and, under the Dropbox icon, choose Share this folder
This will automatically open a Dropbox window in your browser where you type in the person’s email address (and a message if you like.) Then click the blue button that says Share folder. Then you have to wait.
Accepting A Dropbox Invitation
What happens next is the other person receives an email asking them to view the folder you’ve invited them to. If they already have Dropbox installed, this link will take them straight to their online account where they’ll have the option to Accept or Decline your invitation.
If they don’t yet have Dropbox installed they’ll have to do that first.
The invitation will also show up in the system tray menu if Dropbox is already installed.
After installation and acceptance of the invitation, both parties will have a folder called, for instance, ‘John-Jane’ in their My Dropbox folder.
Whatever you put in the folder will show up on their computer and whatever they put in the folder will show up on your computer. Up to the maximum of space you have. You both start with 2GB free plus a 500MB bonus for them accepting your invitation. You only get a bonus if they’re setting up a Dropbox account for the first time.
You can invite more than one person to a Shared folder by repeating the process above or adding several email addresses to the same initial invitation.
And you can create as many Shared folders as you like. I use Shared folders as a way-station. When I get something new I move it out of there to make more space for something else.
If you need to you can follow the step-by-step instructions at Dropbox: Inviting, Accessing & Sharing.