I know that when I edit a file from within Dropbox (using an external application), after I close said file Dropbox uploads the updated version. Does this also work if, once I have accessed the file from within Dropbox once, I open the file from within the editor app (e.g. using a "recent files" menu?)

If this is not the case, I'd be looking for a way to achieve this effect.

  • Why don't you test it? Its a simple thing... – user3303 Apr 4 '13 at 16:39
  • For solid Desktop type experience, I would recommend Dropsync and FolderSync... – user3303 Apr 4 '13 at 16:40

For Dropbox and OfficeSuite (if you edit from the recent files), they seem to sync.

I'm not sure with other apps. In any case, if you need a two-way sync, you can always use DropSpace. See this similar question: How do I sync with DropBox?

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    OfficeSuite seems to have Dropbox support according to the description in Play – Erik Apr 4 '13 at 16:15

I don't know if the Dropbox app does this or not - last time I looked (shortly after it came out), Dropbox's app wasn't really doing sync on Android, it was more of a nice version of the web interface.

I use Dropsync to achieve this effect - you can even set how aggressive it is on downloading/uploading vs. battery status. I use it to keep my KeePass database synced across devices, so I have it set to upload right away if it notices changes, but only download when things are good, battery wise.


There's an important distinction that needs to be made: Accessing a file vs Downloading/exporting a file...

The Dropbox app and other 3rd party apps that use the Dropbox API allow you to "Access" files in their cloud location. Everything you do to this file is synced (assuming the app is well made and working correctly). Essentially the file is being downloaded in the background so you can open and work on the file and then reuploaded in the background when you are done (ie syncing). I use apps like Estrong File Explorer and several note taking apps that use the Dropbox API and every change I make to a file is synced when I save the file.

Downloading/exporting the file is different. In the Dropbox app you can "Export" a file which means download it to a local directory on your device. Apps like DocsToGo don't support the Dropbox API so there is no way to directly access Dropbox files from within the app. In cases like this you have to download the file to your device to access it with this app. This downloaded file is not monitored by or synced by Dropbox so you'd need to upload it or sync it manually somehow. There are third party apps that do this, I use DropSync.

TL;DR: If you are editing a file directly in an app that has built in access to Dropbox you don't need to worry syncing, it will happen on it's own. If you are downloading a file from Dropbox to edit it in an app that doesn't access Dropbox directly, like DocsToGo, you'll need to use a 3rd party syncing app like DropSync.

EDIT: I think this is the scenario that you have... You open a file "example.txt" through Dropbox and it opens a dialog that lets you choose the default app and you choose "XYZyadayada" app and the file opens in that app. You make changes and save them, Dropbox will detect this and will sync the changes. If you skip Dropbox next time and just open up XYZyadayada and see example.txt in the "recent files" list, that is probably a locally cached file. If XYZyadayada truly doesn't communicate with a Dropbox API then that file is saved locally, probably in it's own directory and opening and editing that file will not be detected or synced by Dropbox because it's a copy of the cloud file that is saved locally on your device.

  • What I did was tapping the file inside dropbox; it opened the file with the default application which is not Dropbox aware AFAIK. When I returned to dropbox it uploaded the file at least once. – Erik Apr 4 '13 at 15:51
  • Since I'm able to open the same file later using an app that knows nothing of the cloud, Dropbox obviously doesn't delete the local (semi-temporary) copy it creates for the app. – Erik Apr 4 '13 at 16:14
  • Yes, once. I want to know if Dropbox continues to monitor the file it downloaded for changes later. – Erik Apr 4 '13 at 16:16
  • If the app is automatically caching the file and the next time you open it you open it from the cached location Dropbox will not pick up on the change because it is a change to the local file, not the dropbox file. It would be helpful if you mentioned the app you are talking about. – Matt Apr 4 '13 at 16:18
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    No it does not. If you want Dropbox to detect the change you'll need to open the file with Dropbox like you did originally or use a third party app the accesses Dropbox directly. – Matt Apr 4 '13 at 16:19

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