Andrew Knightly Brown

Architectural Specification Writer

Using Dropbox

If you do not have an existing file sharing system in place then I recommend the use of Dropbox as a file sharing service, primarily because the software is (a) free to install and (b) works across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

I have no objection to the use of We Transfer if that is your normal method of file sharing.

My preference

This is my preferred method for file transfer, even for those who already use Dropbox

  • Dropbox File Request. Anyone can use this system - you do not need a Dropbox account. I create a Dropbox folder specifically for your files on your project, then send you a link which you can use to upload files at any time during the life of the project.

Alternatives if you already use Dropbox

What works

  • Dropbox Links, for specific issues of information at specific times. I will download the file, or the contents of the folder, using the "Download as .zip" option, and you may then delete the link if you wish. Please remember that you will need to send me a new link if the contents of the folder are updated at any time.
  • Dropbox Shared Folders, but only if you and I are the only people sharing the folder and it is used, in principle, as an alternative to attaching files to emails. Several of my clients have created a specific folder, within their project Dropbox folder, just for file transfer between ourselves, and that has worked well. See "What doesn't work" below.

What doesn't work

  • Dropbox Shared Folders, when these are intended to hold the "latest" issued information on a project, and the folders are shared across a number of disciplines working on the project. Although this may seem an obvious solution, Dropbox is intended primarily for collaboration, and not as a replacement for a project extranet-type document management system. it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to track "who-has-received-what-and-when". Every time that this has been attempted on a project with which I have been involved, it has descended into chaos with individuals resorting to email attachments, especially if the attachment has a limited circulation. Everyone on the project then ends-up with files in multiple locations, with all the confusion that this can cause. But ... if you've made this system work, congratulations, and please convince me how you did it!
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