Here's the best way to use Dropbox on a Chromebook

Accessing Dropbox from Chrome OS's file manager is preferable than accessing it through the Chrome browser.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Buying a Chromebook doesn't necessarily mean you need to make Google Drive your cloud-storage boo. There is no reason to severe a long and meaningful relationship with Dropbox just because Google Drive is baked into Google 's Chrome OS. You can always access Dropbox via the Web on a Chromebook, but a better way is to use a Chrome extension that integrates Dropbox into Chrome OS, putting it right alongside Google Drive.

When you open Chrome OS's file manager (click the Launcher button in the lower-left corner and click Files), you will see two items listed in the left panel: Google Drive and Downloads. These two folders contain your files stored in Google's cloud and locally on your Chromebook, respectively. You can, however, add a Dropbox folder to this left panel to make it easier to access your Dropbox Files.

To do so, you will need to install the File System for Dropbox extension from the Chrome Web Store. The extension isn't from Dropbox but a Japanese developer by the name of Yoichiro Tanaka.

After installing the extension and granting it access to your Dropbox account, it will mount Dropbox to Chrome OS and add a Dropbox folder to the left panel of your Chromebook's file manager. With Dropbox added to the file manager, it's easy to drag and drop files from the Downloads and Google Drive folders to Dropbox, and vice versa.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The File System for Dropbox extension provides access to all of your Dropbox folders, including folders others have shared with you. It does not offer offline access to your Dropbox files, but it stays mounted through a shutdown and restart. Should Dropbox go missing from your file manager, you can always remount it by finding the extension among your apps via the Launcher button. (It's simply labeled Dropbox with a navy blue folder icon.)

A similar extension from the same developer is available for those who use Microsoft's cloud service; check out File System for OneDrive.