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Edit a text (*.txt) file in Chrome browser

Edit a text (*.txt) file in Chrome browser

jb43
Helpful | Level 6

Hi there,

 

I'm struggling to edit a TXT file in Chrome browser on Dropbox. I'm sure I've done it with a .docx file before. 

When I search for this feature, Google returns results asking for it back to 2012, but there's nothing recently, the feature requests such as this one have been closed, so I'm assuming I'm having an issue with my account. Especially since Dropbox is pushing Family plans, signature, and other feature way more complex and less universal as a simple TXT editor. I've been using link removed it has looked the same for years and works fine, but I find it extra weird that a giant company like Dropbox doesn't have a similar feature.

 

How do you usually edit a TXT file in the browser? I only have a few lines to add/remove, when I'm on a machine without the Dropbox app/daemon installed, and don't want to leave any file traces on that machine.

 

See my environment in Chrome on a Macbook air, as a Dropbox Plus paying client. On TXT files, I have an "Open in" Menu, but the arrow only opens a 2px high line. This is definitely not expected behavior, as if the submenu was empty, it should not appear with an arrow in the first place. What could I be I missing here?

 

jb43_0-1676218379770.png

 

 

21 Replies 21

Megan
Dropbox Staff

Hi @jb43, happy Monday! 

 

In your post, you mentioned that you've tried to edit both .docx files, and .txt too. You're right, at the moment Dropbox doesn't have a built-in .txt file editor. 

 

Now, the dropdown options that you have when you try to click on "Open in" depend on the kind of file you’re trying to open. If the app you need doesn’t appear, click Connect apps and follow the prompts to connect an app, in order to then be able to open your files online. Have you tried that?

 

Some helpful Help Center articles are this one, and this one too.

 

Keep me posted!


Megan
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jb43
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks for your reply Megan,

 

> In your post, you mentioned that you've tried to edit both .docx files, and .txt too. You're right, at the moment Dropbox doesn't have a built-in .txt file editor. 

 

Can you precise what you mean by "at the moment"? Asking as the threads about it, the feature requests, have been marked as solved without a solution, or recently just closed:

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Delete-edit-and-organize/Edit-text-files/td-p/504160

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox-ideas/Edit-text-file-in-browser-window/idi-p/19795

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox-ideas/Add-universal-txt-file-edit-interface/idi-p/550439 

 

I think I may be going crazy, as I recall having done it before with Dropbox. Maybe it was another platform? People have been asking a simple text editor on Twitter and Reddit since 2012 ... Anyway it must be a valid user pain point, as it allows a dev is asking 12 USD/year for that feature: https://textdropapp.com/

 

> Now, the dropdown options that you have when you try to click on "Open in" depend on the kind of file you’re trying to open. If the app you need doesn’t appear, click Connect apps and follow the prompts to connect an app, in order to then be able to open your files online. Have you tried that?

 

I still think the "Open In" button has a bug.

See two screenshots, without clicking on it, and with clicking on it. When clicking on it, it only shows a line of a few pixels. Looks like it tries to open a menu, but that menu has no items.

 

jb43_0-1676292901213.png

jb43_1-1676292920938.png

 

I can find the "Connect Apps" option through another menu, and it takes me to https://www.dropbox.com/apps. Is there anything in there that allows editing TXT files? It's way simpler than all the proprietary formats supported like DOCX, even PDF editors are there, yet I can't find a .txt editor (a 50-line HTML page with a textbox would do!)

 

> Some helpful Help Center articles are this one, and this one too.

 

Yes! With Dropbox I can edit a .docx file in the browser, and the experience is great. The menu "Open in" has options for  "Word for web" and "Google Docs". Yet, a file with a .txt extension doesn't trigger any editor. How do you do it? 

Hannah
Dropbox Staff

Hey @jb43, sorry to jump in here.

 

Indeed, it's not possible to edit a .txt file through Dropbox.

 

We appreciate your feedback on this, however, and I will make sure that your comments are passed along to our team.

 

Regarding what you see when you click on the "open in" button, do you see this behavior on other browsers/private browsing windows as well?


Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jb43
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks Hannah.

 

Can you please share the response from your product team?

 

> We appreciate your feedback on this, however, and I will make sure that your comments are passed along to our team.

 

It's important to know if the inability to edit .TXT files is a honest mistake (since more complex file types are handled successfully, and text files like logs, code, .ini .cfg, ... can be seen as the basics of an operating system) or a voluntary decision (since there's no app to do this, even MS Word refuses to handle text documents that are not .doc(x)).

 

> Regarding what you see when you click on the "open in" button, do you see this behavior on other browsers/private browsing windows as well?

 
I observe that behavior with Chrome, on both MacOS and Windows.
 

 

Nancy
Dropbox Staff

Hi from me too, @jb43!

 

As mentioned above, there isn’t currently a built-in function to edit .txt files via your web browser. We’ve passed your feedback along to our team, but we can’t share something more for the time being.

 

As per the “Open in” menu, can you please try to clear your browser’s cache, check if there are any pending updates on your browser and also, open an incognito window and let me know if you see any difference there?


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jb43
Helpful | Level 6
Thanks for the reply @Nancy .
 
As mentioned above, there isn’t currently a built-in function to edit .txt files via your web browser. We’ve passed your feedback along to our team, but we can’t share something more for the time being.
 
After some research, I found an app, StackEdit.io, a markdown editor, allowing me to edit Text Files in my Dropbox: https://stackedit.io/app
It's not part of the Dropbox App center (https://www.dropbox.com/apps). Since I connected with it, it appears in my connected apps at https://www.dropbox.com/account/connected_apps, but is it possible to get it to appear in the "Open With" menu when viewing a text file on Dropbox web?
 
Incidentally, looking for web-based markdown editors syncing with Dropbox, I also learnt that Dropbox Paper is one of them! Likely built over Hackpad. However today, Dropbox Paper cannot open and edit text files already in my Dropbox. In my opinion it's a bit of a shame: Dropbox Paper is overlapping with Google Docs, with no "killer feature". It has actually dropped its differentiating feature, which is seemingly missing from the Dropbox App center: the ability to edit text files already in Dropbox.
 

> As per the “Open in” menu, can you please try to clear your browser’s cache, check if there are any pending updates on your browser and also, open an incognito window and let me know if you see any difference there?

 
Sure. I logged in in an incognito window (latest Chrome version on MacOS) and observed the same behavior happens (menu opens but is empty and shows a narrow line). 

Jay
Dropbox Staff

Hi @jb43, we appreciate the feedback about how to improve the service.

 

Regarding the 'Open with' menu, it only applies to a few authorized apps, and it wouldn't be possible to manually add another app to that list.


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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jb43
Helpful | Level 6

Hi all,

 

Are you aware of any changes on this front?

 

I have noticed that, for .txt files in my Dropbox, using the latest Chrome browser versions:

- on iOS, the button "Open In" shows "Connect Apps" button, instead of nothing

- on Windows, the same button also shows "Connect Apps", and it now shows "Notepad" and "File Explorer". See screenshot.

 

jb43_0-1677690677628.png

 

 

Update: When changing my default application for TXT from Notepad to Notepad++, it also updates that menu on Dropbox website.  

That's very good news!

Nancy
Dropbox Staff

At the moment, I’m afraid we don’t have any further updates on this.  

 

I’d glad to hear though you’re seeing the correct app after updating it on your device!


Nancy
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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