I have found Dropbox to be one of the most useful tools I depend on each day. I use it to easily backup and share documents with co-workers, clients, and between my iPad/iPhone/Mac. This particular feature is just one more way it proves its value.

Sending large attachments via email is a mess. Many times the emails will fail due to mail limitations. On the receiving end, getting huge attachments can slow your email down or bring it to a halt altogether. It’s just not a good thing to do. In the past, I’ve used a service such as YouSendIt.com but gave up on that a few months ago when I found an easier, more effective, and free way to do this utilizing Dropbox for files up to 2GB in size.

First, go out and get a Dropbox account if you do not already have one and install it on your computer. You’ll need to attach your Dropbox account to an email address. If you want, you can create a new free email address with Gmail for just this purpose.

Here’s how to share a large file with anyone:

  1. Drag the file you want to share into the “Public” folder in the special Dropbox folder. Note: Anything you drop in this folder is potentially available to the world. Do not use this method for confidential or sensitive documents.
  2. Right click (or hold down the Control key and click if you have a 1 button mouse) on the document.
  3. From the Dropbox sub menu choose “Copy Public Link”. This will place an internet URL on the clipboard.
  4. Create your mail message and text in your mail application of choice. From the Edit menu, choose Paste. This will paste the link into your email. When your email recipient clicks on this link they will download a copy of your document.

This is a great way to send a large PDF file, audio clip, etc. Another advantage to this method is that you can easily update the document without resending it to people. Just replace the file in your Dropbox public folder with one that has exactly the same name. The next time it is downloaded the user will get the latest version.

Macworld has even more info about using Dropbox…and some new features just released in April 2012.

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with FileMaker (certified in all versions) for macOS, Windows, iPad/iPhone and web app integration with WordPress. He also knows Apple technology inside and out.