Selective sync of Dropbox files on my MacBookAir

I am preparing for an annual form and function zoology session with International Biology Olympiad (IBO) students later but my LSM3261 Life Form and Function slides no longer reside on my MacBook Air’s hardisk. With the SSD hardisk at just a 500GB capacity, I have had to selectively sync files with my 1TB Dropbox Drive to keep some space free.

My missing Module Archive is one such folder.

There are two ways I can access the files from that absent folder. The first is to look it up on Dropbox and download the files I need:

Screenshot 58

It likely I will update the files, so it is easier to turn on selective sync with the relevant folder to have a copy on my MacBook Air’s hardisk which will update the cloud version effortlessly. So I took the following steps:

  1. Go to the Dropbox icon in the menu bar and select the gear icon at the bottom right, and then select “Preferences…” from the dropdown menu
  2. Select the “Account” icon at the top of the Preferences window which appears
  3. Select “Selective Sync”
  4. After a few seconds, my folder list appears and I selected the relevant folder, in this case, my 2015 IBO slides in “My Modules Archive > LSM3261 > 2014”
Selecting Dropbox’s preferences
Screenshot 65

Accessing “Selective Sync” in the Dropbox preferences menu
Screenshot 56

Turning on Selective Sync with just one folder in My Modules Archive
Screenshot 57

In a short while, the >2GB folder was waiting for me, nested within the “My Modules Archive” folder. Edits I introduce to the files, i.e. a 2016 IBO version of the slides, will sync with Dropbox, placing a copy on the cloud drive. When I turn off the Selective Sync later today, it will free up what would now be ~4 GB of space of the folder on my hardrive, until I access it again next year.

This has been a useful way to keep large archives on Dropbox without cluttering up my laptop’s SSD drive.

See Dropbox Help Centre’s “Use Selective Sync on your desktop“.