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Using Dropbox to Share Photos with Family and Friends

One of the limitations of trying to share photos with friends or family is the size limitations imposed by many email servers. Who hasn’t attached a photo to an email and had a warning appear that the attachment was too large? Well, there are several ways around this problem. You could copy the photo to a CD and mail the CD to your relatives. But what if you want to share the photo with several relatives at once? This could mean making and mailing multiple copies of the photos.

There is a solution. Using an online file transfer and storage program such as Dropbox.com. By opening an account with Dropbox.com, you get a free account with up to 2 GigaBytes (GB) of storage, enough to send dozens, if not hundreds of photos. You can also obtain additional free storage, up to 18GB by referring new users to the program.

To begin using Dropbox.com, go to the website and sign up for a free account. Be sure to record your login and password in a place where you can easily find it, if you forget. You must have an Internet connection for this program to work. When you install the Dropbox.com program on your computer’s hard drive, it will create a Dropbox folder. You can put any kind of file in your Dropbox folder and it will be automatically stored online.

To share items in your folder with others, it is a good idea to create a folder specifically for sharing, such as “Family Photos” or whatever. It is important to keep originals of your documents and photos in another place on your computer because once you have shared a file, someone receiving the file can drag the file out of the folder on Dropbox.com and the copy will disappear from Dropbox.

To share, you put a copy of the photo or photos to be shared in the folder you create inside the Dropbox folder and then you go to the Dropbox.com website and login. Usually, the program will put an icon on your computer to allow you to go directly to the website. Your new folder with the photos should appear on your list of files. You then click on the sharing icon, choose the folder you want to share and invite participants by adding their email addresses to a list and then sending the invitation. If you want to share the photos or files with more than one person, remember that the files need to be copies and that the recipients need to make a copy of the file and leave your copy in the folder.

The recipients, your relatives or friends, will then receive an invitation to share the Dropbox folder you have created. If they already have Dropbox on their computer, they simply open the folder, make a copy of the files onto their computer and voila! You have shared a huge number of large files. Depending on your Internet speed, sharing can take some time to load large files, but the convenience of using Dropbox.com will immediately become evident. If you still have questions, go to the Dropbox.com website and view their introductory video.

Filed under: Family History Education, Research Tips

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