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Use Automator To Create Symbolic Links To Dropbox [Mac]

If you’re lucky enough to have two or more computers and mobile devices, you will know the biggest challenge is keeping files synced between your computers and devices.


For some applications in which you regularly update their libraries with new data – such as text expansion programs like TextExpander, Typinator, or 1Password – it’s a lot less time consuming to keep those application’s data in sync between computers so you don’t have to re-enter the information more than once. Using a file sharing service like Dropbox is a very powerful and free way to keep files in sync between computers.

We’ve already explained how to sync files and folders between computers using Dropbox.  But there are some applications which see where the file points to rather than the alias itself. To make the data of those applications work in Dropbox, you need to create what’s called a “symbolic link” to your Dropbox drive.

Don’t let the fancy term turn you off, symbolic links simply rely on specific path information to locate a file. A Mac alias of a file sometimes will not be enough. There are Command line ways to create symbolic links, but if you’d rather not get your hands dirty with that, you can use a good old Automator hack to create dropbox symbolic links for you.

For this tutorial, I’m going to show you to create a symbolic link for Typinator, but this how-to can also apply to TextExpander, 1Password, and other similar applications.

Taking the trouble to set this up will pay off in the end when you see how quickly your selected files update on your computers via Dropbox. This tutorial assumes that you already have the Dropbox client installed on your Mac. If you’re new to Dropbox, download the free PDF MUO guide, The First Unofficial Guide to Dropbox.

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