Dropbox gets a tune-up

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Dropbox gets a tune-up

The file syncing service gets more collaboration tools, preview support for more file types and, for the iOS app, scanning capabilities.

If it seems like every other person you know is a Dropbox user, you're probably right. According to Dropbox, one in two internet users in Australia are Dropbox users. That's quite easy to believe, as the file sync and share service is easy and convenient, and comes in free and paid tiers.

And the company has been working to make it even more attractive with a bunch of new features.

The iOS app provides a mechanism for 'scanning' photos directly into the Dropbox folder of choice. So if you're capturing a receipt, for example, it can go straight into your Receipts folder. Existing photos can also be converted to scans.

The key feature of scans is that they are digitised using optical character recognition (OCR), making it possible to search for text within such documents – providing you have a Dropbox Business account.

For regular photos and videos, the Android and iOS apps let you choose the destination folder.

Another iOS-specific change is that new Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents can be created within the Dropbox app and – naturally – saved to your Dropbox.

Collaboration features have been enhanced too.

It's now possible to share a file or folder directly from the Windows or Mac desktop with a right-click, Dropbox's web preview has been enhanced with support for additional file types (CSV, audio and OpenOffice), and selected document types (such as PDF) can be annotated in a browser.

Forthcoming changes in this area will allow commenting on an Office document via its Dropbox badge, and the ability to see who is currently viewing their file, who has already viewed it, and how many times it has been viewed.

Access controls have been modified, and it is now possible to share a file with particular users who must be logged in to see it. View-only access is now available to Dropbox Basic users, not just paying customers.

The ability to restore old versions of files has been enhanced with the ability to preview before restoring, which should help get the particular version you needed.

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