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Using the Dropbox Groups Feature

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Introduction

MIT’s Dropbox for Business account includes the “Groups” feature that allows you to define a group of users that you and other Dropbox users can use to share folders and files. The Groups feature simplifies the sharing of files with a team or group of collaborators.

For example, let’s say you have a project folder you need to share with a group of Dropbox users. One way to share the folder would be to right-click on the folder, select “Share this folder,” and enter each member individually. However, what happens when group members leave or new members get added? You would have to go back to the shared folder and add or remove them. With the Groups feature, you first create a group, add members, and then share folders and files with that Group. Members can be added or removed from the group so that all shared folders are shared with those who need them.

Things to consider prior to requesting a Group

First, you should decide who will be the “Owner” of the Group. Whoever requests the Group is the Group Owner, but that initial Group Owner can transfer ownership to another Group member later if necessary. Only Group Owners can add and remove other members. Members of the group can remove themselves from the group but cannot add or remove others.

Second, you should think of a name for your Group. If you already maintain a Moira group, it makes sense to replicate that name for your Dropbox Group and to maintain both the membership of the Moira group and the Dropbox group to match each other.

Finally, you should make sure that all of the individuals you need to add to the Group have registered an MIT Dropbox account. Since Groups is a Dropbox for Business feature, you cannot add members who only have personal accounts or do not yet have a Dropbox account.

Requesting a Group

To request a Group, contact the Service Desk

Be sure to include:

  • Desired name of the group
  • Owner of the group
  • Initial group members

Adding Members to a Group

Once the group is created, you can add members. Click the button labeled “Add members” and type the name of the individuals you want to add. You can add more than one member at the same time by typing in more than one name.

Managing Group Members

Owners can transfer ownership to another group member by clicking on the gear icon to the right of the user’s name and select the option labeled “Make owner.” In addition, owners can remove members by selecting the option “Remove user.”

Deleting a Group

If you no longer need a group, you can delete it by clicking the options button found beside the button labeled “Add members” and selecting “Delete group.” Note that only an Owner can delete a group.

Sharing Folders with a Group

The process for sharing files and folders with a Group is just like sharing them with an individual. If you are working from the Dropbox client on your computer, right-click on the folder you want to share, and in the “Name or email” field, type the name of the Group and click Invite.

From the browser-based version at dropbox.com, navigate to the file or folder you want to share and hover to the right until the share button appears. Click it and select “Invite people to collaborate…” Type in the name of the group and click the button labeled “Share folder.”

Additional Information

Dropbox Help Center - What are groups?
Can I share a Dropbox folder with a Moira group?

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

July 06, 2017

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  1. Jan 22, 2015

    Is it possible to create, update and delete groups via an API? Manually keeping our lists current doesn't scale and I'd like to script it.

    1. Jan 23, 2015

      From the dropbox-support@mit.edu team:

      No, there’s no groups API yet, although it is in the pipeline. Once it exists, we intend to use it for Moira -> Dropbox integration so people can use their existing groups.

      1. Jan 23, 2015

        Good to know - without some sort of automation, Dropbox groups are not very useful. It's just too much to maintain.

      2. Aug 10, 2015

        Any update on using Moria groups in Dropbox?

  2. Aug 10, 2015

    If my Athena account gets deleted, what happens to the groups I own? I want to use Dropbox groups for group files, but I do not want a careless president to screw over the group through sheer forgetfulness.

    (Obviously this is a non-issue if the optimal thing - Moira integration - happens.)

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