Dropbox for Business gets two new collaboration tools

Users can now comment on shared files and keep Microsoft Office documents synchronized more easily

The new commenting feature in Dropbox for Business

The new commenting feature in Dropbox for Business

Long email threads can be an occupational hazard for those who collaborate frequently, but Dropbox on Tuesday announced two new features in its business offering that are designed specifically to help address that problem: in-file commenting capabilities and a tool known as the Dropbox badge.

Dropbox for Business's new commenting feature offers the ability to keep discussions together in one place with the shared files they focus on.

Essentially, anyone with access to a shared file can comment in a new sidebar dedicated to that purpose. Users can comment generally, or they can direct comments to particular people using the "@" symbol plus their email address, causing the recipient to be notified via email and mobile.

"No more searching through emails to find the latest round of feedback on a presentation or the updated image your design team sent over," explained Dropbox product manager Matteus Pan.

The new comment feature will be available to early access users in the next week or so.

The Dropbox badge, meanwhile, is actually a feature that participants in Dropbox's early access program have been able to use since late last year. It focuses on Microsoft Office documents -- including Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- and offers a way for users to do a few key things without having to leave the file they're working on or send an email.

Specifically, users working on a shared Office file on the desktop need only click on a Dropbox badge icon in the right screen margin to see who else is viewing the same file at the same time, for example. If the other user makes changes but hasn't yet saved the file, the badge delivers an alert to avoid creating multiple versions. When those changes are saved, users can click on the badge to get the updated version.

Also through the Dropbox badge, users can view file history and shared folder settings and copy links to the clipboard for sharing once their edits are finished.

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Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
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