How I Use Dropbox


I don’t really do the whole, you know, “productivity” thing when it comes to blogging, but I figured I’d make an exception because I’ve been doing a Thing with Dropbox at work that has been working out quite nicely for me. (This might be how *everyone* uses Dropbox, I have no idea.)

Most of our stuff at work happens on file servers inside our internal network, or email on an Outlook server. Neither of those are particularly cloud-friendly (especially when my main mobile device is an iPad rather than a laptop). I do use Google Docs for a few things, but because most of my contributors are submitting Word docs via Outlook, I don’t always want to move all that stuff into Docs. (Once Google Drive drops for iPad, I may switch over.) So I use Dropbox to sync my work files between my iPad, home PC, work PC, and work Mac.

I’ve designated one folder on my Dropbox as my “Capture Pile”, which is basically where I keep anything I might need to work on. As soon as I get a draft in, it goes to the Capture Pile along with whatever related art assets I have. Ditto goes for notes taken in text editors or pretty much anything. Over the course of an issue, my Capture Pile inevitably grows to contain the latest version of each doc (before it hits InDesign, anyway) plus whatever else I’m working on. Once I’ve completed an issue, I can file the entire contents of the Capture Pile in its own folder, which I leave on my Dropbox (but not in the Capture Pile) until I need to free up space (and since each issue is usually less than 100mb on my end, I haven’t had to do that yet).

That way, I basically don’t have to worry about ever not being able to access what I need to work on because Dropbox is integrated into my workflow from the very beginning. (It’s also handy for copying books/PDFs over to my iPad without dealing with iTunes, but that’s a different matter.) I was in a Chipotle for an hour yesterday waiting for LensCrafters to finish my new glasses (long story) and I managed to edit a column without having to plan that out in advance at all. Very handy.

Eventually, I’m hoping that Google Drive on iOS will arrive, be as good as Dropbox, and sort out its yucky EULA issues so I can have a drag-and-drop interface for my Docs stuff and use it on the iPad without it sucking horribly.

If you bothered to read this to the end and you don’t have Dropbox, sign up with my referral link! You’ll get extra space, and so will I.

One thought on “How I Use Dropbox

  1. I’m excited about Google Drive even though I think the actual Google Docs interface for editing/updating documents has a long ways to go. I still don’t feel as comfortable updating a spreadsheet or presentation in Google Docs as I do with Excel/Word.

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