How-To-Automatically-Sync-Google-Docs-With-Dropbox

Keeping files and information synced across multiple services is a great way to back up important documents. Currently, there is no easy way to sync Google Docs with Dropbox. You either have to pay for a service or actively remember to upload your files. If Google Docs/Drive had an option to automatically sync files from your PC (passively), then achieving sync using the steps we’ve described below wouldn’t be a big deal, but unfortunately, they don’t.

However, there are simple ways to achieve 2-way sync between Google Docs and Dropbox. We talk about how to automatically move files from Dropbox to Google Docs and vice versa.

We can use the popular IFTTT service to automatically copy files from Dropbox to Google Docs and use Zapier to ensure Google Docs are always backed up to Dropbox. Using either service makes the automation effective and easy to forget, resulting in a nice flow of data between these two services.

Automatically Transfer Dropbox Files to Google Docs

Sync Google Docs With Dropbox Using IFTTT

Use this recipe at IFTTT to automatically add files from Dropbox to Google Drive. Before getting started, a few things need to be tweaked and given proper access. Here’s how to set is up:

Give IFTTT Required Access

Once you click on the above link – begin by selecting the “Activate” button to activate the “Dropbox Channel.”

Activate-the-Dropbox-channel-for-IFTTT

Next, confirm that IFTTT should have full read/write access to Dropbox. This is needed for the syncing to work correctly.

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Modify the Trigger and Action in IFTTT

Instead of keeping the defaults, we’re going to make a small change to how IFTTT accesses Dropbox.

For the “Trigger,” you can specify the folder IFTTT looks at in Dropbox to grab the files from. The default root folder is “Public”. In this tutorial, we’re going to define a subfolder called “Documents.” 

This can be altered to fit any subfolder or left unchanged to monitor the Public folder.

Choose-a-subfolder-for-IFTTT-to-search-for-in-Dropbox

So for this instance, IFTTT will look in Dropbox at “Public/Documents.”

The “Action” portion of this recipe has three configurable fields. We’re going to leave these unchanged because they seem to work best with the functionality of the entire process. IFTTT will grab the URL of any file in the Documents folder, upload it to Google Docs with the same filename, and place it in a folder called “Dropbox.”

The destination folder can be changed to anything, including a path to a subfolder. For example, “Files/Important/Dropbox/Documents.”

Modify-the-IFTTT-Google-Drive-settings

The final result of this recipe is a file originating in Dropbox to be uploaded and stored in Google Docs without further intervention.

Use-IFTTT-to-automatically-copy-Dropbox-files-to-Google-Drive

See Also: Edit Google Docs From Your Desktop with IDrive Connect

Option 2: Sync Dropbox Files To Google Docs

Use this Zap at Zapier to automatically add files from Dropbox to Google Drive. Zapier gives more flexibility as compared to IFTTT. Before beginning this process, we advise you to sign into Zapier in a new tab so that you can follow this process without any interference.

Once signed in – start by selecting the cause and effect Zapier should operate under.

Select “Dropbox” for when a “New File in Directory” is detected and choose the result to be “Copy Document from Trigger” in “Google Docs.”

Modify-the-cause-and-effect-in-Zapier

Click continue and login to Dropbox to give Zapier full access.

Give-Zapier-access-to-Dropbox

Continue on to give full access to Google Drive as well by accepting the prompt after logging into the Google account.

Give-Zapier-full-access-to-Google-Drive

Modify the Cause and Effect in Zapier

Zapier gives full freedom for selecting any folder to monitor in Dropbox. Browse through the actual folders your Dropbox account has and select one to be used as the trigger.

Next, Choose the very last option to enter a custom folder, like for subfolders.

Select-a-folder-to-be-used-by-Zapier-in-Dropbox

Just as when using an RSS trigger in Zapier, a ton of custom filters are available to truly specify what indeed should exist before the trigger will be set in motion. The same is present for Dropbox, where you can choose a modified date/size/name filter for determining when the trigger starts.

Because we want to sync every file found in Dropbox, we’ll keep the filters inactive. Continue on to the Google Docs trigger to specify the details of the operation.

We want the file name to be the same as that which is found in Dropbox, so choose the “Title” to be the “File Name” by clicking the small Dropbox icon to the right of the text field for the drop-down menu.

Select-File-Name-to-ensure-the-Title-of-the-file-retains-it's-basic-structure

For the “File” field, choose “File.” This will select the true path of the Dropbox file as the file object in Google Docs, making an exact match.

Continue to the last step to try the Zap, and to ensure it identifies and extracts the correct information.

Automatically Sync Google Docs to Dropbox

To completely reverse the above scenarios, we can actually send a newly created document from Google Docs into a Dropbox account. This is great for automatic file backups and having access to Google docs for offline editing.

Because this transfer method doesn’t yet work for IFTTT, we’ll need to set up a Zap with Zapier to trigger a “New Document” in “Google Docs” and the result to be to “Copy File from Trigger” to the “Dropbox” account.

Set-Zapier-to-backup-Google-Docs-to-Dropbox-automatically

Select a Google Docs and Dropbox account from the corresponding sections to select the correct accounts to be used.

These should already be present and not require any additional authentication if you followed along in the previous steps to give Zapier access to the accounts.

If you haven’t, give the required access and proceed.

Give-Zapier-access-to-Google-Drive-and-Dropbox

An Optional Approach

Optionally add a filter for Google Docs so Zapier only copies over particular files. For example, we’ve selected a filter that will only find files with a “title” that “contains” the word “Random.” No other file will be found and used except that which has been defined in the “Custom Filters” section.

Manage-custom-filters-in-Zapier

Moving on to step five, choose the destination folder in Dropbox, what file to select from in Google Docs, and whether to overwrite the copied file in the event of a matched file name.

Choose-what-files-Zapier-should-look-for-in-Google-Drive

Try out the Zap in step six or make it live in step seven to finalize the Zap.

Which is better – IFTTT or Zapier?

For the functions explained above, I’d say Zapier is better. Here are some reasons:

  • While IFTTT can choose the default location for the synced files in Google Docs, it can’t do so for Dropbox.
  • Zapier can specify any folder in Dropbox to be the source.
  • Zapier has a plethora of options for identifying which Dropbox files should be carried over to Google Docs. An interesting one includes the filter for the actual content contained in the file.
  • Transfer from Google Docs to Dropbox is only available with Zapier. IFTTT doesn’t yet include the ability to create triggers with Google Docs.

Conclusion

Whether you’re wanting to upload Dropbox files to Google Docs or backup Google Drive files to your Dropbox account, either of these services will do. Zapier seems to have more features and can do both the Google Drive > Dropbox as well as the Dropbox > Google Drive transfer.