How to Use Dropbox on a Mac

by Sophie Southern

Dropbox provides both free and paid online hosting services, and it's one of the most practical ways to send large files besides FTP. Dropbox is technically a website, but has a supplementary desktop client for easy uploads and quick access. Unlike most other applications on Mac OS X, the Dropbox installation actually creates a shortcut link and options menu in your Finder. To use Dropbox and its services, you will need to create a Dropbox account.

Navigate to the Dropbox website (dropbox.com). Click the "Download Dropbox" button. Dropbox will automatically detect that you are on Mac OS X and direct you to the proper download link.

Double-click the disk icon to mount if it doesn't mount automatically. Drag the Dropbox application icon and, still holding your mouse, move it to your "Applications" folder. Release your mouse when you see the green "+" sign.

Navigate to your "Applications" folder and double-click the Dropbox icon to open the application. Click the "I don't have a Dropbox account" button and click "Continue" to create a new account.

Enter your first name, last name, email, desired password and the name of your computer. Click the "Continue" button.

Select your account type. You can create a free account on Dropbox for 2 GB of storage online. If you invite friends and they join Dropbox, you can an acquire an extra free 250 MB on online storage per friend, up to 8 GB. As of March 2011, paid accounts are available with Dropbox for 50 GB of storage at $9.99 per month or 100 GB of storage for $19.99 per month. Click the "Continue" button.

Select "Typical" as your setup type. Use the "Advanced" setup only if you have experience with Dropbox. Click the "Continue" button. Click the "Continue" button again to take a five-step tour of the Dropbox application. Click the "Skip Tour" button to skip the tour, then click the "Finish" button. Dropbox creates a shortcut link under the "Places" heading in the right-side menu of your "Finder" window for easy and direct access.

Create new folders in your Dropbox or drag and drop files to add them to the existing folders. Your "Public" and "Photos" folder are automatically shared, but you can create new folders and share them only with specific people. When you add files or folders to Dropbox, you must wait until you see the green check mark next to the files to confirm that they have been uploaded before attempting to share.

Access application options and settings by using the Dropbox menu in your Finder. The Dropbox menu appears in the top of your Finder window after installation and features the Dropbox logo with a small, gray arrow next to it. The menu lets you share folders and browse them on the Dropbox website.

About the Author

Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Zlio.com. Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.