The Best Ways to Share Your Work Files

A primary function of technology is to enable us to communicate easily, quickly, and efficiently. Luckily, there are many options available for sharing files — still, many of us aren’t aware of the best options for certain situations. Work is a breeze with quick file transfers, especially for larger projects that are information heavy.

Below are a few options based on different situations; after all, not everyone has the same tools to work with. Hopefully you find yourself in an office with at least a couple of these choices. Before you read on, however, you will need to set your computer up for sharing.

This is different for the specific type of computer you own, but there are many guides available on the Internet that will walk you through this very easy process for any type of computer you may have.

Sharing on the Same Local Network

Computer lab at Waimea College

Image via Flickr by Kristina D. C. Hoeppner

If you’re on the same local area network, or LAN, as a coworker or friend, you can generally share by finding each other’s public folders and swapping files that way. While this is very convenient, especially if your company is using an actual shared hard drive on an entire network, it’s not always the quickest.

Finding a public folder should be as simple as opening up your operating system’s main window. On most PCs, you should see all computers available for sharing under the “Network” spot on the sidebar. Clicking one will allow you to get access to public folders, so you can take or leave files there.

Other operating systems don’t allow you to actively change files that are in someone else’s public folder, so you may have to edit the document and then put it in your own public folder for a coworker to re-download.

Sharing on the Internet With No LAN

While being on a local area network is helpful and convenient, sometimes you need to share files with a coworker while on the go or at home. For these cases you can go the traditional route and send files via email or messenger.

The only problem with email, other than loading speed, is that there is usually a size limit on the files you can send. This means that larger PDFs or image based files may not make the cut if you need to send them to a coworker.

Messaging applications, like BlackBerry Messenger, allow for a bigger file to be sent. For instance, BBM for Android allows you to transfer 6 MB files over messages to you coworkers. Subsequently, you’ll be able to share larger files more quickly without having to compress them or resort to some other means of transferring them.

For larger files, try using a cloud based website. There are many to choose from, and they usually include app support if you need to use a smartphone while on the go. The beauty of using a cloud storage system is the ease in which you can upload something and have it backed up for your later without taking up space on any of your devices.

Another option in utilizing the Internet is by using upload sites that allow you to upload a large file and provide a download link to a coworker. This isn’t the same as a cloud device, but it does work if you need to get a file to someone quickly.

Sharing With External Devices

This is by far the quickest way to share files, but it is also one of the least convenient. To share with external devices, you will need to be near your coworkers and actually own one of these types of devices — either an external hard drive or thumb drive.

Thumb drives are easy to carry because of their small size — many people put these on their set of keys. However, for the convenience of small size, you sacrifice storage capabilities. Thumb drives are rarely able to carry more than 16 GB of information, but for many work files you won’t need more than that.

For those of you who need to transfer mounds of data, you could invest in an external hard drive and connect the device straight to the computer you want the files to end up on. These devices are pretty cheap for a reasonable storage size, and the speed here can’t be beat.

The type of cable makes a big difference, too. FireWire is the fastest option, but it’s not generally available on every computer. Many old computers come with this ability, but many have stopped carrying it in recent times. Ethernet is a great way to transfer data, as well, but you might need a crossover adapter to create the network.

Sharing With Old External Devices

There are still other ways to share documents — while floppy disks are no longer a relevant object to own, their cousins, the CD and DVD, are still used. If you have files that you need to share with a coworker and have spare time to prepare it for them without having to use the Internet, you can burn your files to a CD or DVD and allow them to keep the disk.

The beauty of burning something to a disk is its ability to be recalled and used later or on other devices, if your coworker will needs the files in the future. It’s also a great way to share media files or large presentations. CDs generally hold about 700 MB, which isn’t much storage for today’s standards, but they are also extremely cheap to come by.

DVDs can hold about 4.7 GB, which isn’t much, considering that your thumb drives can hold much more. Still, the permanence of having something safely tucked away on a disk is still a nice comfort.

While technology has improved the ways in which we communicate and send data to one another, many are still unaware of the best ways to do it themselves. Depending on your work situation — telecommuting, working in a big office or small office, working with people internationally — there may be one choice that sticks out to you. What are your favorite ways to share files with your coworkers?

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