[one_half last=”no”]images[/one_half][one_half last=”yes”]Dropbox has become very popular with educators. I myself have… selflessly… invited countless faculty members to share in this cloud based fun.

“Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!” ~ developer’s quote


[title size=”2″]The Public Folder[/title]

public folderMost people make use of the basic functions of Dropbox without realizing that there is a little secret hiding in Dropbox’s “Public” folder. The Public folder is a small built-in Web server, providing each user with the ability to serve mp3s, images and even whole websites, all without sharing folders. No more worries about colleagues “accidentally” deleting everyones’ work!

**Important: Apparently free Dropbox accounts no longer come with a Public folder installed automatically. Following the steps below will allow you to “share” files with anyone, though these shared files will open within Dropbox’s website. However, if you want to “serve” files you will still need a Public folder. When you share a file, you are giving people the ability to download the file in question. When you serve a file, you are allowing people to view the file, website, video, mp3, in question.

In order to create/activate a Public folder in your Dropbox account, click here.
(If you have a pre-2012 Dropbox account, you will most likely already have a Public folder).

[one_half last=”no”]
Example of Shared File[/one_half][one_half last=”yes”]Example of Served File[/one_half]

[title size=”2″]Steps to Follow[/title]
[one_half last=”no”]dropdown[/one_half][one_half last=”yes”]

  2. Drop the file you wish to serve into your Public folder.
  3. Right-Click of CTRL-Click on the file you wish to serve.
  4. Select “Copy Public Link” from the drop-down list. There’s will be a little Dropbox icon next to it.
  5. You will now have the URL for the file you wish to serve in your computer’s clipboard.
  6. Paste the URL into an email, webpage, web browser, or onto whatever platform you choose.


[title size=”2″]Further Considerations[/title]

  1. If you retitle or remove the served file, the link will be broken.
  2. There is no limit to the size or number of the files you can serve, but there is a limit on how much data you can serve from your public folder (20GB per day for a free account).
  3. Webpages can be served from the public folder, but the links within the HTML must reflect the location of these pages within the public folder.
  4. Serving materials onto the web that you don’t own the copyright to, can land you in the hoosegow.