Collect and Share in Style with Dropmark

Sharing files for business or pleasure over the web has become fairly simple these days, with a ton of hosting services that you can use for free. And as a photographer and designer, I’m always on the lookout for the easiest ways to send across files, collaborate with colleagues, get feedback from clients on work and showcase completed projects. There have been a few blips on the radar, but sadly, they’ve never caught on with me owing to a lack of features or usability.

Until now.

I recently came across an elegant solution called Dropmark, that looks great and works even better. Dropmark lets you curate collections of files of all sorts, websites, pictures, audio and video from your computer or the web. It’s dead-simple to use not just for you, but for your audience as well. It’s also extremely flexible and is suitable for a variety of uses – let’s check out a few and see if we can stick with Dropmark.

Uploading a collection on Dropmark

Uploading a collection on Dropmark

Overview

Dropmark is a presentation and collaboration tool that allows you to create collections of files, links and text the way you want your audience to consume them. The app makes it a cinch to add content with a simple drag-and-drop interface, which also recognizes various sources and file types for easy playback. It’s like a file storage/sharing service with an emphasis on showcasing your content elegantly.

Getting started

Signing up for Dropmark is quick and requires you to choose from the Basic and Pro account types. Basic accounts are free, offer 250MB of storage and allow for unlimited items, while Pro accounts cost US$4 a month for 25GB of storage. The short registration is great for when you want to invite others to collaborate with you on a collection and is not necessary for when you want to give others view-only access by sharing the collection link.

Dropmark's elegant, minimalist interface

Dropmark's elegant, minimalist interface

Items and collections

Dropmark not only allows you to share images, audio, documents and all other file types, but also plain text, links and embeddable media. Certain file formats (such as MP3, JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, DOCX, XLSX and PPTX) allows for previewing within the app, while others can only be downloaded. Anything you upload to Dropmark is called an item and any number of items can be put together in a collection. All items are displayed as thumbnails (or file format icons) in a neat grid and can be viewed or downloaded. Files can be dragged into Dropmark from folders, iTunes or iPhoto and even uploaded using Courier for Mac.

Apart from files, you can add links to websites and online media by clicking the + button on the top right, in the action bar. Adding a link to a site will generate a thumbnail of it. You can also paste the URLs of videos from YouTube and Vimeo, tracks from Soundcloud, or images from Flickr and Instagram to add them to your collection so that they play when previewed.

A collection of sites on Dropmark

A collection of sites on Dropmark

If you want to add a quote, a description of your collection, or a note for your audience to read, simply click the + button at the top right to add any plain text you want. This is really useful for when you want to share your collection with a lot of people and need to let them know what it’s about. You can rearrange all your items, including your text items in the collection grid by simply dragging and dropping items into the order you want.

Editing text in Dropmark

Editing text in Dropmark

Using Dropmark

Because it’s so flexible and supports file and web media previews, Dropmark can be used in plenty of ways. Want to take your clients through a multimedia mood board before presenting your designs? Just put together a collection of images, music and video clips that inspired your work or represent your target audience and show it off on a projector screen (doing away with awkward Powerpoint presentations in the process). Or collect references from all over the web for ideas on lighting and composition in your next photo shoot.

Create a portfolio of your work in seconds by adding images, audio and video – great for creative professionals. I also recommend using Dropmark to create auxiliary portfolios of one-off projects (like a photo essay) or areas of expertise that you’re not keen on showcasing on your website – share these privately with clients on request.

If you’re working remotely with a group, Dropmark is a great way to share project resources all in one place. You can invite colleagues to view, download and add files to the group’s collection. When you’re finished, create a new collection with the final output files and share it with your clients. Collections can be marked as private so that only those you invite to collaborate can view the items in them.

Found not one, but several great videos online? Create a playlist by copying the video URLs from YouTube and Vimeo and arranging them in order of awesomeness, add a text note and share the collection with all your friends, and allow them to add their own to the list too. You can similarly share a bunch of websites for fun or work by pasting links or dragging open site tabs into the app – Dropmark’s action bar will stay on the top of the browser window allowing users to scroll through the list by clicking the Back and Forward buttons.

A YouTube playlist on Dropmark

A YouTube playlist on Dropmark

Tips and tricks

Dropmark has a few neat tricks up its sleeve that you should definitely try out. For starters, you can add multiple websites at once by clicking + and pasting all the URLs (one on each line) into the Text tab. If you want to grab images from a page or need to quickly add items to your collections, simply install the Dropmark extension (for Chrome, Safari and Firefox) or use the bookmarklet (great for IE) to pull up a sidebar where you can drag and drop stuff instantly.

The Dropmark sidebar

The Dropmark sidebar

For audio (try Soundcloud) and video playlists, enter your browser’s full-screen mode (usually F11 in Windows/Linux and Cmd-Shift-F in OS X) and enjoy your media like you would with a desktop app (Dropmark automatically launches one item after another). Photo slideshows play by themselves in full-screen mode too. And, yes, the action bar auto-hides.

Conclusion

Dropmark is a delight to use and can be used in many situations – some of which you’ll discover as you use the app. It faces competition from Fluxiom (which also features file previews) and CX (which supports file versions and comments from collaborators) which I’ve reviewed in the past but is probably the most fun to use. My wish list for improvements include more formats supported in preview mode, keyboard shortcuts, batch operations, file versions and comments and background music for collections. Other than that, this app is a gem. It’s very reasonably priced when you compare it to Fluxiom or even Dropbox.

I highly recommend this to anyone who needs to share files and look good while doing so. Try out the Basic plan for free and if you like it, upgrade any time to the Pro plan. Happy Dropmarking!


Summary

Dropmark allows you to share files elegantly and collaborate on them with colleagues and friends.

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  • Dropmark is highly recommended. not the most feature rich solution but very well made and great for batch adding inspiration images and links to share