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Five free Dropbox tools you're not using (but should be)

Liane Cassavoy | Aug. 30, 2013
Easier sharing. Simpler sending. Secure encryption. Make Dropbox even better with any of these handy utilities.

IFTTT lets you create "recipes" using channels, which consist of the Web services that are the building blocks of all that IFTTT can do. Channels include Facebook, Evernote, Email--and, of course, Dropbox. As of this writing, 68 channels are available on IFTTT. To create a recipe, you select the first channel and then the trigger (the "If This" part). Once you've chosen a channel, IFTTT displays applicable triggers. The trigger is the action that must occur for the result to happen. In the case of Dropbox, a trigger could be a file or photo arriving in your Dropbox.

After selecting the trigger, you choose the channel and the action (the "Then That" part)--what IFTTT will do when the trigger occurs. You can use IFTTT to automate much of the work you do in Dropbox, or ask it to notify you when actions occur. You could, for example, ask to receive a text message anytime a photo is saved in your Dropbox. Or you could automatically save all Gmail attachments to Dropbox, or save all of your Instagram snapshots to Dropbox.

The list goes on and on, but the end result is the same: You save time while getting things done. IFTTT is a complex but extremely powerful service that can make Dropbox a lot more flexible and useful. It does take some time to understand, though, and I recommend browsing the wide selection of public recipes that the service shares. They're very helpful for demonstrating just what IFTTT can do, and you can use any of them on your own account.

Send to Dropbox

IFTTT offers plenty of options for adding content to your Dropbox automatically--enough options to overwhelm. If you're seeking a simpler way to send content directly to Dropbox, Send to Dropbox has you covered. This free service generates an email address, and any attachments sent to that address automatically get saved to Dropbox.

Getting started with Send to Dropbox is a breeze: Just connect it to your Dropbox account, and it instantly generates an email address for you. Remembering it may be a challenge, though: My address contained a short, but random, string of numbers and letters.

Upgrading to the $29-per-year Pro account lets you customize your email address, which is a nice feature for business users--especially for sharing the address with colleagues. The Pro account also provides for multiple addresses and an email whitelist, so you can control who can send files to your Dropbox.

By default, Send to Dropbox saves your files to a new folder it creates in your Dropbox called "Apps/Attachments." You can change this name and add subfolders that contain the name of the sender and the subject line, if you prefer. However, you can't share this folder with other Dropbox users, as it is a special type of folder for Dropbox applications.

 

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