If you are a frequent Dropbox user, you probably know how cluttered it can get at times. You can’t find the file you need or you’re wondering which version is the last one and who you share
Along with freeing up space in your Dropbox and putting your files in order, you may also benefit from turning some of them into business apps for your team and your clients, with Open as App. This will help you to organize your files better and, when it comes to spreadsheets, reduce their number.
Using Open as App can help you see your data differently and change the way you work – regardless if you are a freelancer or work at a company.
Turning your spreadsheets into apps can also lead to significant productivity increases and save time. Apps are much easier to use than spreadsheets, and if the spreadsheet contains no errors, your app will never fail either. Nor can you damage the spreadsheet through the app or expose sensitive information.
Moreover, Open as App’s service can also help you to deliver innovation in a very simple, yet highly useful way. This will allow you to meet the rising expectations of customers toward business digitalization. And if you are part of a team, it will help you enable your team members too!
So if you’re thinking how to organize Dropbox for business, here’s how Open as App can help you with your spreadsheets!
Table of Content
- Why you should manage spreadsheets in order to organize Dropbox for business efficiency?
- How to organize Dropbox for business?
- How to create an app with Open as App based on your Dropbox files?
- Types of apps you can create with Open as App
- Start to organize your Dropbox for business now
Why you should manage spreadsheets in order to organize Dropbox for business efficiency?
Frequently, the problem with spreadsheets is that there are just too many of them. The same file may have several different versions. It depends on who the file is shared with, and what its purpose is. Alternatively, it may have been copied and modified by others for their own purposes and then reshared or posted in a shared folder of your team.
To clean this up, and avoid destroying important data, you are left with having to check file after file and compare the differences between them.
At the same time, if the information in these spreadsheets is sensitive, you’re also facing the issue that you don’t know who it has been shared with unless you check each file and user separately.
Finally, bad handling of spreadsheets can also result in their breaking. Not all users understand Excel alike, especially if the files are big and complex, and can inadvertently end up corrupting the data. Once that occurs, the information may be irretrievable.
Instead, here is how things could look like if you were to create apps out of your spreadsheets.
The benefits of organizing Dropbox for business
There are several good reasons why you should consider managing spreadsheets in your Dropbox with Open as App. These include:
- Reducing the size of your Dropbox, as well as the number of files (providing you with greater overview)
- More transparency and clarity, and understanding which data is actually being used and which isn’t
- Finding new ways of using your data more productively so it doesn’t end up cluttering your Dropbox all over again
- Being up to date – by cleaning up old files and making apps out of them, you will have a better overview of them
- Reducing excessive amounts of copies and different versions of your spreadsheets
- Gaining greater control over the data and improving security by limiting access to spreadsheets only to authorized users
Creating apps from your spreadsheets may also make you rethink the way you are using your Dropbox for business. Instead of a place to simply store files, it may become more like a hub in which you organize the data that you use for your apps.
This will turn it into an active part of your day-to-day communications with clients and team members. Updating a spreadsheet in your Dropbox will have immediate results in your app, and in this way, you will be more aware of the type of data your are storing, and how you are making use of it.
How to organize Dropbox for business?
/To organize Dropbox for business, you need to figure out what you want to do with your files when you turn them into apps. Here are some questions you could consider, to help you plan your apps more efficiently:
- When creating an app out of a spreadsheet, what do you want your data to do? Do you want it to serve as a list, as a calculator, or as something else?
- Who will need to have access to the original data? Which person will serve as an administrator? Who will need to use the data but does not require access that allows them to make changes?
- Which Excel sheets are you sharing regularly in the form of a PDF file? Would you like to be able to continue sharing them in this way?
- What amount of your know-how or intellectual property is being shared through your files? Do they contain very sensitive information or can they be shared fairly freely?
As you will see, depending on your answers to these questions, you will be able to organize your apps differently, with Open as App. You can create different types of apps, based on the logic and purpose of your spreadsheets. You can determine varying levels of access to your apps, and you can hide certain fields that you don’t want users to be able to see.
How Open as App can help you to organize Dropbox for business efficiency
Once you start making apps out of the spreadsheets you store in your Dropbox, you will be able to use that data in ways that are different from simply using a spreadsheet. Here is what Open as App will enable you to do with your spreadsheets:
- Share the data in the spreadsheets along with their functionalities in a highly user-friendly app
- Empower your team and/or customers with new solutions to problems, and easily accessible know-how
- Create apps automatically, in a matter of minutes, without the need for any coding skills whatsoever
- Retain your data in Dropbox at all times, with full functionality, while increasing its security
- Have full control over users, create user groups, allow different degrees of access and permissions
So what you get with Open as App is an additional layer of functionality and usability on top of your spreadsheets. You retain your workflow but avoid some of the “side effects” of using spreadsheets, such as their multiplication, the lack of control over who has access, and the danger of losing or breaking data.
How to create an app with Open as App based on your Dropbox files?
If you’ve prepared a spreadsheet that you’d like to turn into an app, here are the initial steps you need to take.
- Begin by opening the app wizard and copying the link of your file or connecting via Dropbox authentication. See our support page about connecting your data source if you have any questions about this step.
- Authenticate with your Dropbox login to enable Open as App to access the file you wish to turn into an app. Note that Open as App will not save your Dropbox data at any point in the app creation process! Nor will Open as App have access to your Dropbox. The only thing which the platform does is to analyze the logic of your spreadsheet and use that logic to create an app.
- Once you’ve connected the data source, the app wizard will take you through the steps required to create your app. These steps will allow you to select which cells you wish to feature in the app – such as input or output cells. The rest will remain hidden from view but will provide the necessary logic (i.e. calculations) to allow the app to function.
- When you’ve configured your app, you can proceed with publishing it. Your app will then become available to you, after which you can change its sharing options to enable others to use it as well.
- When you create and share an app, it will be available on every platform, both as a mobile and web app. Apart from allowing you to create apps, Open as App also functions as an app management platform, allowing you to share apps, collaborate on them, and more.
Want to read more about the full process of creating an app? See our App Creation 101 guide!
Types of apps you can create with Open as App
Below are several examples from the Open as App community to give you an idea of what you can do with the spreadsheets you store in your Dropbox.
Keep in mind that to create an app, you need to be the owner of the app, i.e. to use your own data and spreadsheet, and go through the app creation process in the platform. In the examples below, you can run the apps, and see how they work, but you will not be able to edit them.
Apps for data that is regularly updated
Spreadsheets are often used for planning projects, assigning tasks, calculating budgets, and more. By creating an app out of such spreadsheets, you will be able to more quickly navigate data that is frequently updated.
Project Plan app
Here is an example of a project planning app created through with the Open as App platform. The tool allows teams to keep track of progress on projects, assign tasks, and more. It also features a calendar, a data analysis functionality, and a comprehensive pivot evaluation option. Push notifications for changes are also implemented.
Budget Tool app
This budgeting app enables companies to organize their budgets and retain an overview of their financial goals. The app includes options to make revenue estimates, plan expenditures, and more.
The app also efficiently highlights strengths and weaknesses, thanks to a variety of charts that are included, and help with decision-making.
Marketing Report app
A marketing report app can help your company track, at a glance, the performance of its campaigns, the number of visits to your website, and “likes” of your Facebook page. It can also display sales numbers and costs. Making all of this data more comprehensive and easily accessible, companies can share their achievements with the team and support data-based decisions.
Collaboration and tracking apps
Frequently spreadsheets are used for collaborative purposes – to register attendance, availability, track time, or more. Here are some of the applications of Open as App for team collaboration and tracking.
Team availability / Out-of-office app
Instead of using an Excel sheet to track when team members have days off, you can turn the sheet in a simple team availability app. This makes input much easier and reduces the possible errors that can occur when everyone uses the same sheet for the purpose.
This app can also be used to monitor productivity and plan resources for certain tasks or projects, based on availability.
Time Tracking app
This time tracking app is designed to help users track the time they spend working on a certain project and monitor their billable hours. The data can be used for reports to clients and for billing purposes.
Alternatively, it can also be used to measure one’s own productivity and determine which tasks or projects are the most time-consuming.
Apps for easy access to information
Sometimes, quick access to certain types of information is important. This may include information to be reported, compliance information, emergency procedure information, or something else. In these cases, you can create an app to serve that function
Safety Reporting app
An example of an app that provides easy access to information is the safety reporting app. This tool is tailored to tracking incidents or incident near-misses on construction sites, and identify problems that need to be addressed to avoid such incidents. The app is also helpful to easily provide information during inspections.
Start to organize your Dropbox for business now
These are some of the ways in which you can make use of the spreadsheets that you are storing in your Dropbox. This will change how you organize Dropbox for business and help you become more efficient and innovative in your day-to-day tasks.
With Open as App, you can also create sales quotes and ROI calculators, interest rate calculators, contact lists, and much more. See the full list of publicly available sample apps that were created by others with Open as App to get a sense of the many different applications you can create with the platform.
Are you curious to try creating your own apps? Go to the Open as App creation wizard, connect your dropbox or the Cloud storage of your choice, and get started right away!