Path Finder's integration with Dropbox works in a very similar way it works in Apple's Finder; it works in combination with Dropbox application linked to any of your Dropbox accounts. Therefore, in order to integrate Path Finder with Dropbox, you need to have Dropbox application installed and linked to a Dropbox account. Path Finder will use the same Dropbox account your Dropbox application is linked to, that is the same account you would regularly access from within Apple's Finder.
If the conditions mentioned above are not met, the integration with Dropbox will not work. We'll describe the process of linking to your Dropbox account and using it if the conditions are met.
Right upon launch, Path Finder tries to determine if you have Dropbox application installed and linked to a Dropbox account. If not, nothing happens. If yes, Path Finder tries to figure out what is the root folder used by Dropbox application for file syncing. If not successful in that, nothing happens. If successful, Path Finder offers you to link to your Dropbox account like in the picture below:
If you cancel, nothing happens, but Path Finder will repeat this step every time you launch it. If you don’t want to be bothered with that alert, just uncheck Show this message again if not linked checkbox. You can either accept or cancel, but you can always link and unlink Path Finder to Dropbox from the Dropbox preferences in the Features preferences section. I’ll explain in a minute what happens if you decide to link .
Whatever you choose from the alert dialog, you can always link/unlink Path Finder to a Dropbox account (provided that Path Finder has found a proper Dropbox configuration) from the Dropbox preferences. You can also choose to hide or show that alert on startup.
If a proper Dropbox configuration is not found, the Dropbox preferences look like in the picture below:
Dropbox folder path is unknown and all settings are disabled for obvious reason. If a proper Dropbox configuration is found but Path Finder isn’t linked yet, the Dropbox preferences look like in the picture below:
In the example above, the Dropbox root folder path is /Users/milke/Dropbox. You can click the Link button to establish a link (just like you could’ve done from the alert on start-up). When you click Link, you’ll be redirected to the web browser and appropriate application Dropbox page. From then on, Path Finder doesn’t control the process of linking at all, it just listens for a notification if it was successfully linked, or not. The web page you're redirected to looks something like in the picture below:
NOTE: if you have multiple Dropbox accounts, you need to link Path Finder to the account your installed Dropbox application is linked to. If you link to some other account, the integration WILL NOT work.
Once you click Accept on the web page, you should be informed Path Finder was linked successfully and a link to Go back to Path Finder will be offered to you, like in the picture below:
You can make Path Finder an active application either by clicking that link or just activating Path Finder any other usual way. Note that there’s no way to do linking process from within Path Finder (at least not using the Dropbox CoreAPI, which we use). You have to link at the Dropbox web page opened for you in the web browser.
Please note that sometimes the Dropbox web page informs you that Path Finder was successfully linked, even though that is not true. It's not really clear why that happens and, as said earlier, there’s nothing we control in that process. Anyway, you can always go back to Path Finder and confirm in Dropbox preferences whether it’s linked or not. If it’s linked, the Dropbox preference look like in the picture below:
Button's title Unlink indicates Path Finder is linked to the Dropbox account.
Once linked, Path Finder offers the same menu items offered by Apple's Finder (when Dropbox application is installed): Share Dropbox Link, View on Dropbox.com, View Previous Versions (for files only) and Share Dropbox Folder (for folders only). Path Finder puts NOTHING in its Sidebar. The Dropbox application does it on installation and Path Finder should pick it up automatically. Additionally, you can always add your Dropbox folder to the Sidebar by dragging it there like any other folder.
You can see examples of Dropbox menu items in the contextual menu and in the action menu in the pictures below:
The Dropbox menu items will appear ONLY for files located in theDropbox root folder hierarchy ( /Users/milke/Dropbox in the example above). For other files, these items will not appear. If, for some strange reason, they don't appear automatically after you link to a Dropbox account for the first time, or if you're not satisfied with their location in the menu, or you don't want all but only some of them, go to the Contextual Menu preferences in the Features preferences section and configure both contextual and action menu to your liking, see the picture below:
As can be seen, we implemented the Dropbox integration so that it looks similar to the integration between Dropbox application and Apple's Finder. We decided to go this way because that is what most people were asking us to do; they just wanted the same Dropbox menu items they have in Apple's Finder.
We realise the integration could be better; we would like to have icon badging (like in Apple's Finder), we would like not to have confusion to which Dropbox account to link to if you have multiple accounts, we would like to have more control over file syncing in general. For some of these features, we need support from Dropbox guys. We've been asking them for it for the past three years, but they just weren't interested. Therefore this is the maximum we can do at the moment. That is not to say we won't improve Dropbox integration the moment we see the smallest possibility to do so.
Another path would be to create a full Dropbox file browser within Path Finder, not dependant on Dropbox application and capable of linking to multiple accounts. Unfortunately, at the moment Dropbox APIs are too limiting to enable us to provide full file management capabilities for items stored in the Dropbox.