Dropbox is a popular cloud-based filing system, and while it is great for when you’re on the go, it can chew through your computer’s space. They did address this issue with their ‘Smart Sync‘ feature whereby files can by online-only or sync’d to your local computer. On my desktop, I use smart sync, online-only option for a folder that stores photos for social media.

There is another option, which I often choose when I’m travelling and that is syncing only certain folders to my laptop. I find that when I’m travelling I don’t need access to all files, and I have also found it doesn’t chew through the wifi options when my Dropbox folder isn’t updating thousands of files.

Here are the instructions to selectively sync certain folders for Windows and Mac computers.

For Windows Users

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon on the bottom-right of your computer (near the time and date)
  2. On the window that pops up, click on the down arrow (on the upper right of this window beside an icon with your account initials or photo)
  3. Click on “Preferences”
  4. Click on the “Sync” icon, then click on the “Selective Sync” button (this will open a window showing all the folders in your Dropbox account)
  5. Click on the box to add a check mark on the folders you want to sync with your computer (unchecked folders will not be synced)
  6. After selecting all the folders, click on “Update”, then on “Apply”, and then on “OK” (your Dropbox will automatically sync)

A blue icon with rotating arrows will show on your Dropbox icon. Once this icon disappears, Dropbox has completed syncing.

For Mac Users

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon on the upper-right of your computer (near the time and date)
  2. On the window that pops up, click on the down arrow (on the upper right of this window beside an icon with your account initials or photo)
  3. Click on “Preferences”
  4. Click on the “Sync” icon, then on “Choose folders to sync” button (this will open a window showing all the folders in your Dropbox account)
  5. Click on the box to add a check mark on the folders you want to sync with your computer (unchecked folders will not be synced)
  6. After selecting all the folders, click on “Update”, then close this window by clicking on the red button (your Dropbox will automatically sync)

A blue icon with rotating arrows will show on your Dropbox icon. Once this icon disappears, Dropbox has completed syncing.

Whether a Window User or Mac User, if a folder has subfolders and you wish to only sync subfolders, click on the triangle icon on the left of the folder to pull down the subfolders. Tick the subfolders you wish to sync.

To view other folders in your Dropbox folder, you will need to log onto Dropbox via an Internet browser. This approach is perfect if you have limited Internet data when your travelling.

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