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How to once and for all organize your mess in Dropbox


Dropbox has introduced new automation tools for users.

Dropbox has introduced new automation tools for users.
Picture: Dropbox

Dropbox is one of those huge, ubiquitous apps — like Gmail, or iMessage, or Spotify—Which constantly adds new features. But meif you do not use the service on a daily basis, you may miss some of the tools which have been added. TThe latest Dropbox upgrade is noteworthy because it is gives you a better way to easily manage your mass of files.

We’re all looking for better ways to organize our digital stuff, whether it’s emails, photos, playlists or important documents, and that’s exactly what the new Dropbox feature is which are called automated folders is designed to do. Once they are folders set, the files sent to them can be automatically named, sorted, or convert as needed.

It is easier to understand how it works once you try. Open up Dropbox on the web, go to where you want your automated folder to live, and then click Create i Automatic folder. You will be asked to name your new folder and select the type of automatic processing you want to apply to the files in it.

Automatic folders can be created on the web.

Automatic folders can be created on the web.
Screenshot: Dropbox

You have six choices: sort files into folders by month and year, rename them, unzip them, or convert them to images, videos, or PDFs. Choose the latter option, for example, and all files added to the automated folder, from Word documents to JPGs, will be converted to PDF using Dropbox’s integrated conversion tool.

Choose automation, click Next, and you can customize it. The options you see here will vary depending on automation. If you rename files, for example, you will be able to set a rename template (for example, you can start file names with a date and include a parent folder name.

The automation you choose applies to new files, no matter how they are added – via a desktop client, via mobile applications, or via a web interface. You can change the folder settings by clicking on the three dots next to it on the web interface and selecting Edit automation.

Bookmarks are another way to organize your files.

Bookmarks are another way to organize your files.
Screenshot: Dropbox

The same dialog allows you to temporarily pause automation, if necessary (via Active / paused switch) or get rid of it completely (via the trash can icon) —even the folder and files remain. You can also add another automation by going to the folder and then clicking on the three dots at the top Add automation. The same option allows you to turn an existing, normal folder into an automated one.

One automation promised Dropbox i mentioned in its accompanying documentation is the ability to automatically tag files as they are added to a folder. This option does not appear to us at the time of writing, although we hope it will appear soon, because this seems to be one of the more useful automations that Dropbox can offer.

You can also organize files using one-time routines.

You can also organize files using one-time routines.
Screenshot: Dropbox

You can also add tags manually, via the Dropbox web interface. Select a folder, file or group of files and you will see a Tags field on the right: Enter your bookmarks here, press Enter after each. The advantage of adding tags is that it makes it easier to find your files later, especially if files related to a particular topic or idea are arranged in multiple folders in your Dropbox account.

The Dropbox web app has a better search function than you might realize (use the search box that appears at the top of each screen). You can narrow the results based on a folder or file type, and if your search terms match a particular tag, you’ll be able to select a tag below the search box.

There is another related feature that Dropbox has added to call organizing multiple files. Automatically sorts files into subfolders based on date, keywords, or frequency of interactions with them. You can use organizing multiple files via a web application in any folder other than an automated folder: click on the three dots at the top, then select Organize multiple files from the list.

There is an automation control panel to manage your folders.

There is an automation control panel to manage your folders.
Screenshot: Dropbox

Some of the options you will see match the automatic folder options. You can choose between Inactivity, The moon, Year, Key word, i A smart move—Dropbox doesn’t say exactly how the smart move option works, but you can at least review the ‘smart’ suggestions on the next screen before they apply.

You also get several customization options. You can choose a keyword to sort, for example, or the length of time that counts as ‘inactivity’ (either 30 days or 90 days). The multi-file organizing feature is more of a one-time operation – when the organization is complete, it’s over. The same rules will not apply to files added to a folder in the future, although in the case of the Month and Year options, you are has the ability to add automation.

To make it easier to manage automatic folders, you can see them all on one screen via the web portal. Click on your profile picture (top right) and then Automation, or go directly to www.dropbox.com/automations to see them. You can see which folders are involved and which automations are being applied, and pause, restart, edit, and delete them as needed.



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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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