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Folder structure best practice


Folder structure best practice

Community Manager
Community Manager

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Should I deploy Shared Folders or Team Folders to manage content?

One of the most asked questions on the Dropbox Community is ‘How do I organise my files and folders?’ and we are here to answer that simply and clearly.
The first thing you need to look at is the purpose of the files, and the folders they live in. Is it for sharing with an internal team, and do you want to be in control of permissions, or is for a wider, maybe even external group? Then you can know if a team folder or a shared folder is better for you. 


What is a team folder? 
A team folder is set up by you, the admin, and is shared with the group(s) of your choosing. You can control who has view or edit access, and control sharing with people outside your team.  Team folders have an icon of a building on them and can be managed via the Content tab.
What is a shared folder?
A shared folder can be created by anyone on your team, and external members can be invited- so it is not team specific. When u share a folder with someone, you can decide what permissions they have to your folder. Members of a shared folder can have one of three roles—editor, viewer, or owner. Shared folders have an icon of two people on them.


Ok so that’s a lot of info but how does that actually help you to plan where to put things? Well! 
A team folder is perfect for:
  • A project has data should be owned by company, not an individual
  • Sensitive data that shouldn't be shared outside the team/instance and needs added admin control
  • Sensitive data that needs strict control over who can access (ex 'Only team admins can grant access)
  • A team that needs folder structure with cascading/additive permissions at subfolder level
Things to consider when setting up a folder, to make sure it works well for you and your team. 
  • Name of the folder - it should be clear to all, not too long, specific.
  • Should 'Start as unsynced' be checked? 
  • Who should have access from the beginning of a project? 
  • What permissions should people have? 
A shared folder is perfect for:
  • A project that is a little more open, and you’re happy for people to have more general access. 
  • Flies that will be shared with Dropbox users not part of your team
  • A flexible approach, were users can create and manage them
Things to consider when setting up a folder, to make sure it works well for you and your team. 
  • These folders can be created by anyone, and shared with anyone, via an invite, so an admin does not control the whole thing. 
  • End users can rename them, this change wont reflect across other users
  • Users can retain the last version of the folder when their access is removed
  • As a team admin you will only have visibility on Shared folders that are shared with you




Considerations when setting up your Team Folder
Using groups
A team folder is a folder that is shared with a pre-defined group of people within your Dropbox team. By default you have a group that contains all team members, called “Everyone at [team_name]” . From the Groups tab you can create groups of team members to share a folder with.
Often Admins create groups that mirror their company structure, for example groups called Art Department Staff, Management, or HR. Groups allow a collection of users to be mass added and enable simple permissioning in bulk.
Groups should contain less than 1000 members.
Sync Settings
Next you should decide if the Team Folder should appear by default on all the users in the groups machines. If you select for the Team Folder to start unsynced then it will be visible via the website, and the user can manually choose if it downloads to their device or not.
Should the Team Folder be or grow large then bandwidth and local disk space considerations may make it preferable for the folder to start unsynced. It will however mean the user has no initial visibility to it via their Desktop Dropbox folder.
Naming conventions
Descriptive names, of a reasonable length, will help new users understand and navigate a company folder hierarchy. Unlike Shared Folders, end users cannot locally remain their folder, this will help manage internal documentation and guides.
Via Content tab > Manage (on the TF) > Gear icon you can set a number of restrictions for security purposes. You may want to block external members being added to this folder, via “Folder membership”,  access it from a link, via “Link restrictions”, or restrict who can add members via “Manage access”


Now that you’ve decided which type of folder suits you, how do you set it up? 
Here is how to set up a team folder, and here is how to set up a shared folder.
Whether it’s a project you want to perfect before sharing, a sensitive file, or an open group collaboration, there is a folder that will suit you. 
Does that answer your question? Join the conversation and let us know how you use Dropbox. 
2 Replies 2

Re: Folder structure best practice

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Well, you posed the question, "Should I deploy Shared Folders or Team Folders to manage content?"


I am afraid that's where you lost me.

I have lots of folders in my drop box but where does deploying them fit in? What is deploying them involve and why would I want to do that. In what way does the content need managing and what would that achieve? I'd just like to leave it there for future referrence really so I can access it and send it out if necessary. What else can I do with it?

Perhaps there is a drop box for idiots book which I should buy?



Re: Folder structure best practice


Hey @Asteroid2020, apologies for the delayed reply here!


Dropbox Business teams have a slightly different structure than a personal Dropbox account would have.


While personal accounts would only be able to use shared folders, Business teams can use shared folders and/or team folders.


'Deploying' the folders in this sense is in reference to setting up a folder structure for shared files.


I can suggest checking out some more info on team folders here, and shared folders here.


If you're interested, you can find out more about using Dropbox from here. You can also check out our "Help from Community" area here.


Hope this helps!

Community Moderator @ Dropbox

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