Skip to content

Document Management: Using DropBox for PDFs, Word, etc. Files

Storage space, bandwidth, and download speeds are all things that you must think about when adding documents and files to your webpage. In order to save our web servers from the large amounts of storage required and our users from long download times for documents (MSWord, PDF, Excel, etc.), we are using Microsoft DropBox as our main document storage device in conjuncture with Document Manager, which will still maintain a "forever link," as well as keep records of how many times a file was downloaded.

Set Up Your Personal Georgia State DropBox

The first step is to register/log into DropBox ( using your university ID and single sign-on password. This is free for all faculty and staff, but you still need to register your account.

Let Digital Strategy Know You Need Access to Your Site's DropBox

We are working with IT to set up website DropBoxes for all major colleges, schools, and units. These DropBoxes will only be used for documents (MSWord, PDF, Excel, etc.) and large image libraries. Your Communications Director will need to reach out to us to let us know that you require access to your site's DropBox.

Add Your Site's DropBox to Your Personal DropBox folder

Once you have been added to your site's DropBox, you will log into DropBox (at and look for the option on the left side labeled "Shared." Click on it. You will now see all of the available DropBox folders available to you.

Put your mouse over any folder you have not added to your DropBox list yet, and the button to "Add to Dropbox" will appear. Click on that button.

You can now see this folder under your "All Files" option in the left column.

Now you have access to your website's DropBox and can add documents to it.

Setting Up Your Website DropBox - Best Practices

Subfolders can be set up by the Communications Directors in charge of them, in order to keep the items being stored streamlined and sorted properly. Subfolder directories should be discussed and planned out ahead of time in order to keep them as organized and future-proof as possible.

**We urge you to come up with a specific naming/ordering convention (by category/date/etc.) for your folders that is clear to all your users and makes sure that every file can be easily found within your DropBox without any effort.**

(NOTE: Dropbox has a feature where you can create automated folders and have uploaded documents auto-organized by means of category, renaming files and adding tags, among other means.)

To add subfolders, click on the Website DropBox in your "All files" folder that you want to add them to, and then click on the "+Create" button, and select "Folder".

You then have the chance to name the folder, and also select the people with whom you would like to share this specific folder.  You can choose who has access to view or edit each folder. This is a great feature that will allow colleges and schools to break up their main folder into their different programs by making each program a sub-folder, and then adding sub-folders to those programs for things like CVs, Forms, Documents for Students, Documents for Staff, etc.

Once again, we ask that each Communications Director responsible for each College, School or Unit plans out their folders and sub-folders before even placing a single document in them. This will hopefully prevent any naming and location issues in the future.

NOTE: Comm Directors, you have the option to organize your folders with Multi-file Organizing options, by setting Naming Conventions, and by adding Automation. Each option is self-explanatory and easy to set up. These organizing options should be fully explored in order to make the setup and ongoing usage optimized.

Adding Documents to Your Folders

Once you have your folders set up, it's time to fill them up with all the documents and image albums that you have waiting. To do this, open the folder that you want, and you will see options to upload your items. You can either use your browser, the DropBox mobile app, or the Desktop app.  They all function in the same way.

Upload your document(s).

Sharing the Document (Copying the Link to Insert in WordPress)

Once your document has been uploaded, you need to give everyone who has its URL access, thereby making the documents "public."  To to this, put your mouse over the document that you want to make public and you'll see an icon to "Share." Click on that.

A window will appear showing you the current people who have access to the document. Click on "Settings" to change it. Then, on the next screen you should be able to see "People with this link can view," and "There isn't a link for viewing. Create link." Click on "Create Link."

Under "Who has access," change the option to "Anyone with link." Then "SAVE".

On the next window that pops up, you will see an option for "Copy link." Click on it to copy the link URL.  The option to copy the link is also always available on the document list next to each document. You can view the option by putting your mouse over whichever document you want to get the link for.


If the document is an MSWord or Excel file, the "Copy link" button opens up a window that is initially set to "Link for editing." Click on the tab to the right of that option for "Link for Viewing." This is where you will be able to change the document to be viewable (but not editable) to all who have the URL.


Once you have made your documents available to "Anyone with link" you need to add the following "Tag" to all the documents now publicly linked. (This can be done by selecting all of the checkboxes next to all the documents in a folder and then typing in "public_link" in the Tag option in the far right column.)

This is to ensure that everyone can see that these documents that you've completed have a public link and are viewable to anyone who has the URL. DropBox currently only allows the person who created the public link to actually see that the documents have public links.

Adding the Link into Download Manager on WordPress

Now, go to your WordPress site and log into the dashboard.  Open up Download Manager, and if you're going to replace an already existing Document Package, click on "All Packages," and if you're going to add a new Document Package, click on "Add New."

Replace a Document Package With Your DropBox Link

Replacing an already-existing document in Download Manager in WordPress will ensure that the URL to it will never change, meaning you can add or replace the file with an updated version and not worry about having to update the URL -- the URL will not change.

Firstly, find the Document Package in the list that you want to replace with your DropBox Link. Click on it to open it.

Scroll down the page that opens until you see "Attached Files." Delete the file that you are going to replace with the DropBox Link by clicking on the red delete button.

Then scroll back up to the top and find the "Attach File" section in the right column. Paste in the DropBox Link in the "Insert URL" field, then click on the blue plus icon. The URL has now been added to the Document Package. If you need to add more Dropbox Links to the Document Package, just add them one at a time to this field.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the Attached Files section again in order to verify that the old file has been deleted and the new file is now listed. Then, make sure you save by clicking on the UPDATE button.

Adding a New Document Package With Your DropBox Link

Click on the "Add New" option under Download Manager. Fill in the title of the new Document Package, and then, under "Attach File" in the right column, paste in the DropBox Link in the "Insert URL" field. Then click on the blue plus icon. The URL has now been added to the Document Package. If you need to add more Dropbox Links to the Document Package, just add them one at a time to this field.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the Attached Files section again in order to verify that the new file is now listed. Then, make sure you save by clicking on the PUBLISH button.

For help on adding individual links to your pages, please see our article on how to add Download Manager documents to your webpages.

Feedback and Knowledge Base