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I can come up with three different approaches to solving this problem. The first is to use your website.

My church has been using Dropbox for sharing sermons and photos. But when a file is shared with anyone, that person has the ability to edit the files. Because of this, many files are constantly being accidentally deleted and must be restored. Dropbox says it's not currently possible to change this. Are similar sites available that do not have this problem? Thank you.

In this excerpt from Answercast #68, I look at ways that organizations can share files in a way that prevents users from deleting or changing them.

Protecting shared files

I can actually come up with about three different approaches to solving this problem.

Use your website

If your church has its own website, I would actually recommend that you set aside a corner on that website for exactly this.

What you would do is create a page on the website that actually had links to the files and those files would themselves be stored on your church's website. That's probably the easiest in the sense that it gives you the most absolute control over allowing people to view and edit the files and it allows you to remove them when you need to and do whatever else.

Like I said, it does require that you have your own website, but so many churches and facilities do these days that it might very well be the most viable option - and certainly easiest for the folks that you're sharing these files with to be able to use.

Google Docs

Another approach would be to use something like Google Docs.

Google Docs allows you to have documents and photos in the sense of Picasa (we'll talk about Picasa in a minute), but you'll be able to have documents stored online.

It's now called "Google Drive" which means you can store pretty much any kind of file on Google Drive. You can then also specify if the file can be shared with individuals (and give them specific permissions if that's the kind of sharing you're looking to do) or I believe you can also make them public. But the bottom line is then that if they're public, I'm not sure if you can actually control the level of user access.

I know for a fact that if you're sharing only with specific individuals, Google Drive will absolutely let you do that. The important thing to realize here though, of course, is that everybody involved in putting up files and accessing files will need some sort of a Google account.

Photo-sharing sites

Finally, when it comes to photos, this is really, kind-of what photo-sharing sites are all about!

I mentioned Picasa earlier; that's Google's photo sharing site. There are many others - everything from Flickr to Photobucket to any number of other places. They're all about allowing you to upload photographs - and then share them publicly with others: others than cannot make changes to those files.

So, those are the kinds of things that come to mind that solve this particular problem.

It may very well work out that like I said, the website (I'm guessing you've probably got one; in all honesty, most entities should have one) and that, probably, would be my preferred solution to this problem.

Article C6002 - November 7, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
John.P
November 9, 2012 5:57 PM

And of course there is also Skydrive, The more i use it the more i like it.

Theo Deed
November 9, 2012 8:38 PM

I would put the file in the Public Folder (on DropBox) and send everybody a link to that, who has subscribed.
This apart of course of the first suggestion presented by Leo.

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