Managing shared storage in Dropbox

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This content is excerpted from "Dropbox In 30 Minutes" by Ian Lamont, part of the In 30 Minutes™ family of technology guides.

Over time, you may find it necessary to reduce the amount of shared folders, files, and other data. Why? It could be your Dropbox account is approaching its storage cap, or there is no space left to add another shared folder.

Here are some tips on how to approach shared storage management:

* Evaluate which folders and files are taking up the most storage space using Windows Explorer (right-click on a file or folder to select “Properties”) or Mac’s Finder application (right-click and use the “Get Info” command).

* Consider the age of files or subfolders. Older content is less likely to be used, shared or accessed again.

* Look for large files that may no longer be needed in Dropbox. Yes, I’m talking about the video from the shared Halloween party folder from a few years back featuring you dressed up as a circa-1978 disco dancer. I love bell-bottoms and cheap sunglasses as much as the next guy, but video files tend to be large and can really eat into your Dropbox allotment. Archive it somewhere else.

* Before deleting shared Dropbox content, check with your colleagues or other people using it — they may still need to access it. Yes, even the disco video!

* Consider unsharing or leaving a shared folder, which will free up space and give other users the options of making a copy of the shared data if they are reluctant to delete it.

More tips on how to use shared folders and files in Dropbox is explained in Chapter 5 of Dropbox In 30 Minutes.

Ian Lamont is an award-winning journalist who launched the In 30 Minutes™ book series after graduating from MIT Sloan. Follow him on twitter at @ilamont.

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