Simple Network File Sharing Techniques for Home and Office

People use computers for lots of different reasons. To create content, to run a business, to organize family activities... regardless of how you use your computer, there's one thing that we all have in common. We share information. This information can be in the form of movies, photos, drawings, spreadsheets, etc.

Unfortunately, many people still struggle to find the most efficient way to share files with others, especially when they're on the same network (whether home or office). For many, the easiest way to share a file with someone else is by attaching it to an email. This is fine for the occasional small file, but what about large files? Here are two ways to easily send files from one Mac on your network to another.


AirDrop is a relatively new zero-configuration technology included in Mac OS X. It's called "zero-configuration" because there's nothing you need to do in order to use it. It just works. It's primary purpose is to allow person A to easily transfer a file or folder to person B using a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi signals. This file transfer is usually ad-hoc, meaning both parties know about the expected transfer.

To AirDrop a file or folder from one Mac user to another, both users will need to open Finder and select "AirDrop" from the left pane. At this point, each person will see an icon for the other person (as well as others who are also using AirDrop at the same time).

Simply drag and drop a file onto another user's icon, and the file transfer will begin (after the recipient has agreed to receive the file). It's that simple.

One of the really, really cool things about AirDrop is that as long as you have Bluetooth and WiFi turned on, you don't even need to be connected to a wireless network to use it. Connectivity as based on location. AirDrop will only work with those who are within a certain distance form you (30 feet, give or take). It even works on a flight with no WiFi at all.

AirDrop requires OS X 10.7 or later as well as a newer Mac (2008/2010 or later, depending on the model).

Click here for more information about AirDrop.

Traditional File Sharing

As convenient as AirDrop is, traditional file sharing still has it's place when sending files to others. Unlike AirDrop, traditional network file sharing doesn't require the other person to be at their computer to open Finder, enable AirDrop and receive files. It does, however, require some configuration work in order to use it.

To enable File Sharing on a Mac, open System Preferences, then click on the "Sharing" button. On the left side, you will need to place a check in the box next to "File Sharing". This will enable the service and turn on basic file sharing.

To the right of the list of services, you will see a list of folders that are shared, as well as their corresponding rights. Everyone structures their file sharing differently, but this is where you can make changes to who has what kind of access to your shared folders. To add a new folder to be shared, simply click the [+] button to add that folder to the list, then adjust user access permissions to include only those who will need access to that folder.

Once your sharing options have been set, it's time to access the shared directory from another computer. To do this, you will open a Finder window on another Mac on the same network. On the left-hand side under "Shared", you will see a listing for the Mac that is sharing a folder. Highlight that resource then navigate to the folder that is being shared. Anything you place in this folder will be copied to the other Mac. Likewise, anything removed from this folder will also be removed from the source location (being the Mac that is sharing its folder)

Posted on February 27, 2014 and filed under How To, Mac.