Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Want to learn some quick and useful tips to make your day easier? Check out how Calvin uses Replay to get feedback from other teams at Dropbox here.

Dropbox API Support & Feedback

Find help with the Dropbox API from other developers.

Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Link to files/folder - not sharing

Link to files/folder - not sharing

Gavin O.2
New member | Level 1

Hello again team,

I'm attempting to write an app that will send people links to items within their Dropbox files and folders.

This app makes use of the delta/metadata endpoints to discover files and folders.

I'm going through your documentation and I'm struggling to find any documented way of constructing URLs to deep link into a Dropbox account.

I see I can create shared links for the purpose of sharing but I don't want to create new links with their own security implications - I just want to provide app users with links to their own Dropbox content in the Dropbox web portal - and secured by the web portal.

Looking closer into the portal I see that I can construct URLs to deep link into a folder that look like this:<path>

Is this a supported mechanism for apps to do this?

  • Are there any gotchas / dropbox features that would make this a bad idea?
  • Is there a preferred way of doing this?
  • How about linking to files?

I did also notice that your windows desktop client makes use of a API to provide the link via a redirect:<path>?<query>
  • Is this a supported API?
  • Can I construct those URLs from the information provided in the /metadata API?

Any guidance on how I might go about doing this would be greatly appreciated.

15 Replies 15

Steve M.
Dropbox Staff

Unfortunately, we don't have a way to hotlink to a file on, but we'll consider this as a feature request.

Things to watch out for if you try to just do "/home/..." is that Dropbox for Business users may have different paths, depending on whether they've linked a work and personal account (and then the path depends on which account is being used).

New member | Level 1

Steve, thanks for your response.

The scenario you describe between linked work and personal accounts is one I hadn't considered, I will look further into this.

Is there a way to detect the correct path today?

Additionally, I would ask if this is something I should do?

eg: if this is not currently a supported use-case for then I can't really build an app that relies on this, right?

Thanks again

Steve M.
Dropbox Staff

I can't think of a reliable way to figure out the path today. Agreed that it's probably not a great idea to build an app that relies on this (since you're unlikely to be able to get it 100% correct today, and we may end up breaking things later).

New member | Level 1

Thanks Steve, I appreciate your openness.

Please do consider deep linking into both files and folders on a feature request 🙂

L. Kelvin
New member | Level 1

Yes, accessing file/folder with direct link is need. As my web hosting has limited storage for me and now looking for other storage solution, if it works, I think Dropbox will be alternative web storage with a web hosting.

Best regards,


Dag B.1
New member | Level 2

I would like to second this request for linking. This is something our app would benefit from!

Best regards,


Craig L.15
New member | Level 2

I am also looking for a method to deep link to a file.  Just not on the website - but on the desktop.



We are 3 users, and we use Wunderlist (and Gmail, and other apps)

I would love to attach files to an Task, Email etc that will open up the file or location in the Desktop Application.

The problem is our shared folders all live in different local path locations.


User 1, has a Mac so the path is \usr\dropbox\sharedfoldersX\sharedfolder1\subfolder\file.txt

User 2, has a PC and the path is C:\Users\dropbox\sharedfoldersY\sharedfolder1\subfolder\file.txt

User 3, has a PC and the path is D:\dropbox\sharedfolder1\subfolder\file.txt


So there is no clean way to give a Local File Path easily.

We currently share it like this 


But that is a pain to get, especially on a Mac.

If the App could work this out, like this.

file.txt has ID 44444

User 1 clicks\?openlocation=44444

It Either Opens the file on the local system (as it knows the location as per above)


Opens location in Finder/ File Explorer



So\openlocation= is a Webhook to open the Desktop Application, if it is not there, it opens the Web location.

That would be super helpful and maintain file integrity across applications like Task lists and Email 🙂


Kinda like a "Share with Colleague" button in the Context menu.

Helpful | Level 6

Any progress on this? Badly needed. Someone posted the recommendation to modify the link url by using "dl." instead of "www."  but I am not sure whether that is a reliable long term URL or things might break at some point?

Dropbox Staff
No update on deep links like this.

(The URL transformation you're referring to only applies to shared links, as a way to control the behavior of the shared link itself. The officially documented way to do that is found here: )
Need more support?
Who's talking

Top contributors to this post

  • User avatar
    Greg-DB Dropbox Staff
  • User avatar
    MrHastings New member | Level 2
  • User avatar
    Lucben Helpful | Level 6
What do Dropbox user levels mean?