How to set up a Dropbox account with the NVDA screen reader

If you want to store and share files online so that you can access them anywhere, Dropbox is a handy tool for doing so. You have a few options to choose from: either free or paid. You don’t need a credit card if you choose to sign up for the free plan, but one will be required if you choose to sign up to any paid plans.

Where to go to get a Dropbox account

Step 1: Open your Web browser. Press Ctrl + L (to be taken to the location bar). Backspace the current web address and type in

Step 2: When the main website page comes up, locate the Get started now heading.

You will need to type in your information (such as your first name, last name, e-mail address, and a password for your account). Your e-mail address and password will be your account credentials to log into your account. You can tab through each section to enter in your information.

Step 3: Tab to a check box called “Agree to Dropbox Terms” and using your Spacebar, check the check box. NVDA should announce when it has been checked.

Step 4: Next, tab to the “Sign up for free” button, then press the Enter key.

Step 5: On the page called “Choose Your Dropbox Plan”, choose the plan that best suits your needs. As with any account, plan terms and conditions are subject to change.

Dropbox Basic is the free plan that gives you up to 2GB of storage space, plus basic file-sharing features. The free account is what people using it at home for their own personal use usually choose.

Businesses may choose to sign up for other paid plans that are available, dependent upon their needs.

Steps for choosing the free plan

Assuming you want to start out with the free basic service, press the Enter key on the Continue button.

You will be taken to your account on the Dropbox website, and the Dropbox application will download to your computer. You don’t have to install Dropbox on your computer if you don’t want to. If you don’t, you can still use the Dropbox website to upload, store, and download your files. If you do it that way, you will need to locate the Sign in link on the Dropbox website at

Enter in your details to use the web version (for example your email address and password).  If you chose to use the web version you will not have synchronization between your desktop computer and Dropbox online.

If you do decide to download the Dropbox application to your Desktop, the following should happen.  Depending on how you have things set, it may give you the option to open or save the file to your computer. If you do save it, save it somewhere easy to find (for example the Desktop).

The default (usually set in Windows) is to download a file to a downloads folder.

If you choose to install the Dropbox application to your computer, whatever you put into your Dropbox application on your Desktop, it will synchronise with the web version.

After the Dropbox application has been installed onto your desktop

A shortcut will be put onto the Desktop where Dropbox can be accessed. You will also be able to access it through the all apps/programs menu on the computer.

Changing the new Dropbox look back to normal

Try this:
If you do not like the new Dropbox look (where you basically have to tab everywhere in the program), you can change it back to the classic view that most people like, by doing the following:
Press the Windows key + the letter B. Locate the Dropbox icon (either press the Enter key or Spacebar) and a context menu will appear.
Arrow to preferences, then press the Enter key.
Locate the general tab.
Next, tab to: "when starting Dropbox go to the desktop app": uncheck this.
Tab twice, you will hear "badge"; do not use that, then tab twice to "open folders in". It is a combo box. Use the Alt key + down arrow key and change it to File Explorer.
When changed, tab down to the apply button and press the Spacebar; then tab to the ok button and press the Spacebar again. Now you will notice when you go into Dropbox on the desktop, it will be back to normal.

Using the applications key

Dropbox can also be opened from the notification area in Windows. Use the Windows key + letter B to get there. You will need to arrow around there to locate the Dropbox icon. It might be hidden, so may have to be unhidden in that area. When you have located the icon, use the Enter key to open it. A context menu will come up (which you can arrow through) and it will give you some options which you can act upon.

When it is opened, you will notice that the old style menu has been replaced with ribbons. If you have not used ribbons before and want to access them, press the Alt key until the File menu comes up. You can now use the left or right arrow keys to navigate the ribbon tab. To go into any of the sections (depending on how you have the ribbon set) it may just be a matter of locating the tab that you want, then tabbing down the menu. Press the Enter key on the one that you want. The other way to access the menu you want, is while on the main tab, press the Spacebar to open it, then Tab down the menus to the one you want to get to.

You can also Shift/Tab back up, as long as you do not press the Enter key on a menu.

Dropbox layout and getting started file

When Dropbox is opened, there are two folders. One will be for your photos. You can have up to 3 gig of photos in that folder. The second folder will be a Public folder where you can put your files of all types (for example documents, music, videos and so on). The Public folder is only 2 gig maximum for the free account.

Just underneath it is a getting you started PDF file to help you use Dropbox. You can arrow down or up the tree view to go to the photos folder, the public folder, or the getting you started PDF. For the getting you started PDF file, you must have a program to open it with (for example Adobe Acrobat reader).

Then, it is a matter of just pressing the Enter key on the one that you want. If there are files in them, you can then arrow down or up the list of files there. To go back out of the folder, you can either use the Backspace key or the Alt key + left arrow key to do this. This will not work with the PDF document. You must use the Alt + F4 key to close the PDF viewer.

You can copy files from other locations, then paste them into your public folder. This may be either for backup of certain files you want to keep, or to share them with your friends in an email.

Dropbox is used when file attachments are too big to be sent by email; and it also uses less bandwidth.

Some useful shortcut keys for Dropbox


To go into the Public or Photo folder press the Enter key.

To go back out of either of those two folders press the Backspace key or Alt + left arrow key.

To make a new folder press the Alt key + H key, then the letter N.

Sharing a file with someone else using Dropbox

You can share any of the files in your Dropbox account with your friends.

To share a file with a friend, locate the file, then push the applications key until the context menu comes up. Locate the Copy Dropbox link menu, then press the Enter key. It will now be copied to the clipboard (where it can be pasted into an email to a friend).

If you want to share a folder, instead of it being a file, you would choose the folder, then press the applications key. Next, arrow down, until you hear NVDA say copy Dropbox link, then press the Enter key. It will now be copied to the clipboard (where it can be pasted into the email that you are sending to that person).

There are 3 sharing options (when selecting a file and using the applications key). You can (under the Share With option)…stop sharing files, create or join a home group; or (share your files with) specific people.

Accessing the file or folder that got emailed to you from Dropbox


When you press the Enter key on the link that was emailed to you, it will open the browser and take you up to a page where either the file is (or the files are). This will depend on whether you shared the folder (or just the file) that way.

You might have to change NVDA into browse mode so you can arrow through the files. These will have a shortened version of the file name and can be downloaded to your computer; or a sound file can be played.

Locate the file, then press the Enter key on it. You might have to change back into browse mode. Then, arrow until you hear either of the following: the play button (to play the file) or the download button (to download it to your computer). Just press the Enter key on your choice. There are some other options there that you can choose from as well.

What could happen when you press Enter on the link in the email, is that it may give you the option to open or save the file to your computer. If you do save it, save it somewhere easy to find (for example the Desktop).

Dropbox add-on

There is an add-on which you can install to give you extra functionality. It can be found at the following link