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Creating shortcuts within a Dropbox folder

Creating shortcuts within a Dropbox folder

su_su_su
New member | Level 2
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Dear Community,

 

I am working with several other people in a share Dropbox folder, which contains several subfolders. Now I wanted to create a shortcut from one subfolder to another subfolder within this Dropbox (everybody has access to every folder) to save space - is this possible without .ink-files appearing in the shortcut?

 

Best,

Susanna

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Sanchez
Dropbox Staff
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Hey @su_su_su, welcome to our community! 

If you’re attempting to create shortcuts (.lnk files) from within Windows in your local Dropbox folder, this will not work. When you do this, the shortcut will work for you, on your computer, but not for other users whom you are sharing the file with. Dropbox will sync the shortcut as a shortcut file, rather than the file that the shortcut points to, and it is pointing to a location on your computer. 

We suggest that you remove these .lnk files in order to avoid any confusion. You can identify a shortcut by looking for a small arrow overlaid on the file icon. If Dropbox is running, the Dropbox syncing icon may cover the shortcut icon, so you will need to quit Dropbox temporarily if you want to check on the files you currently have stored in your local Dropbox folder. Alternatively, you can use the Windows search function to search for all .lnk files within your Dropbox folder, and then delete them. 
 
What you could do is to create a document into which you can paste the addresses of these folders from your browser. As you open each folder location in your account online, copy the address from your browser’s address bar, and paste it into the document. Then, you can save the document as a PDF, and place it in the top level folder, or any other location in your Dropbox. All links will be live, clickable, and will directly take the user to the linked location. This will only work at Dropbox.com, and if you move folders around, the links will break, and you’ll have to modify the original document, and save again as a PDF. 

Another way to do this would be with Paper. If all your collaborators are using Dropbox Paper, you can create this document here, and just share it to everyone, without needing to save or export it to PDF. Any edits you make to this document will be instantly seen, in real time, by all users, ensuring that all users have the same information. 
We hope this helps! 

@Walter & Sanchez

Sanchez
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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11 Replies 11

Sanchez
Dropbox Staff
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Hey @su_su_su, welcome to our community! 

If you’re attempting to create shortcuts (.lnk files) from within Windows in your local Dropbox folder, this will not work. When you do this, the shortcut will work for you, on your computer, but not for other users whom you are sharing the file with. Dropbox will sync the shortcut as a shortcut file, rather than the file that the shortcut points to, and it is pointing to a location on your computer. 

We suggest that you remove these .lnk files in order to avoid any confusion. You can identify a shortcut by looking for a small arrow overlaid on the file icon. If Dropbox is running, the Dropbox syncing icon may cover the shortcut icon, so you will need to quit Dropbox temporarily if you want to check on the files you currently have stored in your local Dropbox folder. Alternatively, you can use the Windows search function to search for all .lnk files within your Dropbox folder, and then delete them. 
 
What you could do is to create a document into which you can paste the addresses of these folders from your browser. As you open each folder location in your account online, copy the address from your browser’s address bar, and paste it into the document. Then, you can save the document as a PDF, and place it in the top level folder, or any other location in your Dropbox. All links will be live, clickable, and will directly take the user to the linked location. This will only work at Dropbox.com, and if you move folders around, the links will break, and you’ll have to modify the original document, and save again as a PDF. 

Another way to do this would be with Paper. If all your collaborators are using Dropbox Paper, you can create this document here, and just share it to everyone, without needing to save or export it to PDF. Any edits you make to this document will be instantly seen, in real time, by all users, ensuring that all users have the same information. 
We hope this helps! 

@Walter & Sanchez

Sanchez
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, give it a Like below to let us know.
:arrows_counterclockwise: Need help with something else? Ask me a question!
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:arrows_counterclockwise: What do you think about the Community? Fill out our survey here!

qubitstx
New member | Level 2
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Actually, yes, you can do this as a standard Windows shortcut link (.lnk), but only works with the Dropbox App. 

 

First create the shortcut as you would normally do.  Then in file properties, change the target to replace the "C:\...\Dropbox\ ..." to %USERPROFILE%\\Dropbox\... where the ellipsis is the rest of the file location.  You can also change the "Start in" to C:"^%UserProfile^%\\Dropbox\".

 

When the system synchronizes, the other users will get the updated location, which automatically replaces the %USERPROFILE% variable with the appropriate location for them.  Note, this only works within the app, as the sync'd files are locally stored.  Effectively, the link customizes itself for the given user.  This also works for file links.

Rich
Super User II
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@qubitstx wrote:

First create the shortcut as you would normally do.  Then in file properties, change the target to replace the "C:\...\Dropbox\ ..." to %USERPROFILE%\\Dropbox\... where the ellipsis is the rest of the file location.


This will only work if Dropbox is located in their user profile, and will only work on Windows comptuers. Many people use a different location for their Dropbox folder, and many more use a different OS. Also, if this is in a shared folder, the shared folder location isn't the same for all members. Any member of a share can move and rename a shared folder to anything they want without affecting the other members. This would mean their copy of a file is in a different location compared to yours.

 

In all of those cases, the updated shortcuts will not work.

OtherBruce
New member | Level 2
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Does this come off as kludgy from the provider end?  It does from this end.

I'm in a workgroup of five people that all have all the same Dropbox access.  When a job converts from a quote to an approved job, it gets a job number & a new directory (not my choice).  To make life easier I started putting a link in the new folder to get to the quote folder - then discovered they were of no use to anyone else. 

As many questions as I found on this here - it seems like it should be a priority to create a path for this. 

qubitstx had a logical solution I'm going to try.  If it was auto-created as "%UserName%" life would be a lot simpler, and be as useful to the creator as the current version that has the creator's name in the path wouldn't it?  

We can be responsible for broken links if some sombish moves files.

Just my 2¢

 

 

fbab
New member | Level 2
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Hi,

Thx for your answer but I don't expect you tell me that I don't need shortcuts. The trick that is proposed can overcome the problem in some situations but not in mine. I do need shortcut that display the file on the local directory of Dropbox.

Regards, Fred.

 

limonene
New member | Level 2
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Just came to this page after trying to Google the solution, to confirm that this feature should be in the next Dropbox update!

Shortcuts were designed for an important, time-saving purpose on PCs. Dropbox can't be a cloud-based replacement of that service without it.

 

 Please undo the "Solved" comment on this post. This problem is not solved even after trying the recommendations. Qubit's response is a good workaround, but you should be able to create links that are active even if the file path changes, just like if you link a Dropbox file on other programs.

limonene
New member | Level 2
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Hello qubitstx, I tried your solution, and noticed it was the best workaround until Dropbox sorts this out!

Unfortunately when using the %USERPROFILE% trick, my PC doesn't accept that it is a valid file path. I think I must be doing something wrong. Do we keep the "Users" part of the file path? i.e.

C:\Users\%USERPROFILE%\Dropbox\...

I'm trying to set this up for my team, and pray that they're all on C:\!

qubitstx
New member | Level 2
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Limonene,

Just like Rich said, it all depends on where Dropbox is storing files on your computer.

If you go to Dropbox preferences-->Sync-->Dropbox folder location, this is what you are trying to emulate with a system variable.  In the default Windows install case, this is where it dumped all of my files.

You might be able to hack around this restriction by having all users create a %DROPBOX% environment/system variable (specific to their computer), and using this variable in the link, instead of the %USERPROFILE% variable.

https://superuser.com/questions/813280/windows-how-to-use-user-defined-environment-variables-in-syst...

(FYI, you shouldn't need the C:\Users\ before %USERPROFILE%, as the variable should contain that portion already.  Running echo cd %USERPROFILE% should help you figure out what's in the variable.)

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/API-Support-Feedback/Query-for-local-dropbox-folder-location/m-p/169...

 

 

ghostwheel
New member | Level 2
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I had the same problem. When you edit the Target path in Properties, notice that the path starts with a double quote "C:\Users\... So, you should replace only the part after the double quote, leave the quotes there: "%USERPROFILE%\Dropbox\... This worked for me.
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