Dropbox is an internet based file hosting and sharing service which allows users to store files and folders on the Internet. What is special about Dropbox is its ability to synchronize documents across multiple computers and devices, and it does so in a very clever way: when you add or change a document in the “Dropbox” folder on your computer, the changes will immediately be synchronized with the server on the Internet. Similarly, when changes are made on the server, they are immediately synchronized to your computer. This happens almost instantly, within just a couple of moments.

Once set up, Notebooks’ Dropbox sync can take place in the background and hardly requires your attention any more.

Setup

Setting up Dropbox synchronization in Notebooks takes just a few moments:

  • In Notebooks’ Settings > Sync > Dropbox turn on Dropbox Sync
  • Open Dropbox Settings and log in to Dropbox; you may be temporarily transferred to the Dropbox application if you have that installed. This is for safety reasons and to make sure that Notebooks never gets your username and password. If you do not yet have a Dropbox account, you can use this referral link, which will give you extra 500MB of free space.
  • By default, Notebooks uses the folder Notebooks at the top level of your Dropbox to store its books and documents, but you can select any other folder on Dropbox as well.

With these few steps you are ready to start syncing Notebooks with Dropbox. For automatic sync, please read on.

Manual Synchronization

After activating Dropbox sync, the action menu of each book shows a new option Sync – Dropbox. Select it to sync the contents of the current book – its documents and all of its sub books – with the corresponding folder on Dropbox (by default, it is the folder Notebooks at the root level of your Dropbox account).

If you have the Dropbox application installed on your computer, the files uploaded by Notebooks will appear in your local Dropbox folder a few seconds later. You can make additions and changes to the documents in your computer’s Dropbox folder, and these modifications will be synced to Dropbox and on to Notebooks on your other devices.

Manual synchronization is deep and syncs the current book and all of its sub books.

Automatic Synchronization with Delta Sync

To make synchronization more comfortable, Notebooks can automatically connect to Dropbox at regular intervals, detect changes and initiate a sync when necessary. We call this sync method delta sync. Automatic synchronization is made active by turning on the corresponding switch in Notebooks’ Dropbox settings.

To initialize delta sync, perform a manual sync from Notebooks’ top level first. When finished, delta sync is set up.

Background Refresh

While you are working in another app or not using the device at all, iOS wakes up Notebooks at irregular intervals, allows it to perform a delta sync and import any changes you may have made on other devices in the meantime. So as you are working in Notebooks on your Mac, for example, Notebooks on your iPad silently imports your changes and updates its contents. When you then open Notebooks on your iPad, your changes are already there.

It is important to know that iOS controls when and how often it wakes up Notebooks, and it does so based on your usage pattern. So the more often you use Notebooks, the more often it is allowed to refresh in the background.

If you want to ensure that Notebooks is in sync because you are about to leave for a meeting, for example, just open Notebooks with auto sync enabled and it will immediately perform a delta sync (provided you have online access). A few moments later its contents is up to date and you can leave.

Activate background refresh

To take advantage of background refresh, please make sure that

  1. Automatic Synchronization is turned in in Notebooks’ Dropbox settings
  2. Background App Refresh is enabled for your device and for Notebooks in iOS settings.

Trigger Delta Sync Manually

If you prefer to stay in control and decide when Notebooks should sync your documents, you can turn off automatic sync and use the pull-to-sync gesture in any book to trigger a delta sync. Delta sync needs to be initialized, though.

Windows Incompatible Characters

As mentioned in other sections, there is a set of characters that should be avoided in the titles of documents when syncing with Dropbox. The illegal characters are < > : \” / \ | ? * . You can read more about this on the Dropbox website.

For more details, please refer to our handbook.