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Our new Dropbox updates make your online life easier. See how you can store online-only files, edit photos in Dropbox and annotate PDFs with these updates.

Dropbox tips & tricks

Learn how to get the most out of Dropbox with other users like you.

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How to free up space with online and offline file options

How to free up space with online and offline file options

Community Manager
Storing and saving your files is important, and making sure your files are available where you need them can help with that. So, let’s figure out if you need to have your files available online or offline.

Why should I make my Dropbox files available offline?

Whatever device you’re using with Dropbox, whether it’s a computer, tablet, or phone, you can make your files and folders available offline. This is similar to downloading your files, except it also keeps them in Dropbox. This way, your files are saved offline on your device as well as online in your Dropbox account. So, whether you’re on the move, or you have wifi that drops, you can make your files available offline and keep on working. 
While you’re offline, changes made to your offline files won’t “sync”. This means that the changes you make offline won’t sync between your offline device and everywhere else you access your files in Dropbox. Once you are back online, Dropbox will sync the changes you made to your offline files everywhere you access them in Dropbox.

How do I make files available offline?

The short version of it is, within your Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), find the file you’re looking for and right-click on it, and then simply choose Make available offline. Easy! For more info, you can head over here.

What are Dropbox online-only files?

As the name suggests, these files are available only when you’re online. Since this frees up space on your computer or your hard drive, it is the perfect option if your laptop is at capacity, but you still want to access your files. 
If you set a file or folder to online-only, you’ll still see the file or folder in the Dropbox folder on your computer, but it’s just a placeholder. You can only open it if you’re connected to internet. Dropbox removes it from your computer’s hard drive, so that it only takes up space in your Dropbox account online.

How to make a file or folder online-only:

To set a file or folder to online-only manually:
  1. Open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
  2. Open the Dropbox folder.
  3. Right-click the file or folder you’d like to set to online-only.
  4. Under Quick Actions, click Make online-only.
    • If you’d like to save your file or folder back to your computer’s hard drive, repeat this step and click Make available offline.
So, now you know the difference between online-only and offline files and when each one might suit better. So, why not look at your files and folders and see if you can free up some space?
Do you separate your files depending on where and when you need them? 
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