Dropbox is adding folders that will automatically organize for you

Dropbox is adding a feature that will let you add automation to folders so new files are automatically renamed, grouped into subfolders, or more. The feature is called, perhaps unsurprisingly, Automated Folders, and Dropbox says it can help you (and any co-workers you share files with) stay organized with standardized names and tags.

The automation you add to folders can be configured with various rules, so you can tell the system to rename any files you add to the folder following a certain pattern or to sort them into subfolders based on the date the file was uploaded to Dropbox. The rules are currently predefined, but Dropbox says it’s working to make the system more customizable.

You can have Dropbox automatically sort your files by month, a system that I’ve hacked together on my own computer but could now just have built in.
GIF: Dropbox

Dropbox has also added a new tagging system, letting you add words to files and folders (either manually or automatically) that you can search for later.

Dropbox says its tagging system is rolling out to all users.
Image: Dropbox

In addition to the automatic actions, Dropbox is also adding what it calls Naming Conventions and Multi-file organize actions. Naming Conventions will let you batch renamed files in a folder following a pattern that you choose — for example, you could rename photos to have the date the picture was taken in the file name itself. The Multi-file organize feature will let you have Dropbox sort files into subfolders based on how often people make changes to them, the date they were created, and more. Dropbox says you’ll be able to preview the changes before they’re made, so you don’t end up with files placed somewhere you won’t be able to find them.

Naming conventions can be set for individual folders, so you don’t have to pick one for your entire system.
GIF: Dropbox

According to Dropbox, there’s also a dashboard to help you manage automated folders, which could be handy if you can’t remember everything that happens in your system. File automation, along with Naming Conventions and Multi-file organization, is coming first to Dropbox for Teams users starting today and will be available for people with individual or family plans “soon,” according to the company.

This kind of automation has been possible before using programs like Hazel or custom scripts, it’s nice to see Dropbox building it into its service. Like Apple’s Shortcuts, it may not be as powerful as some other options, but it can offer people an easy way to start thinking about automation. And, even more importantly, these features could help cut down on the amount of boring file and folder shuffling you have to do to organize your Dropbox (provided you actually have a system and don’t just search for everything).

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