1b. Dropbox and Dropsync

If you regularly work with a group of other musicians or you use OpenSong or OpenSongApp for projecting during church services, it often makes sense to create a shared Dropbox resource. This allows all users to have an up to date version of songs, sets and other settings saved with the songs. To use this, you will need to create a free Dropbox account that becomes a shared resource. Each member using this shared resource will need access to the Dropbox username and password - use something sensible!

Sign up for Dropbox
To create a Dropbox account, go to
www.dropbox.com and fill in the appropriate details and sign up. Dropbox offers free and business accounts. You get 2Gb storage on the free account - which is more than enough for OpenSong. I strongly recommend also installing the Dropbox desktop software using the link from the Dropbox website. This lets you easily manage songs from your PC as it creates a Dropbox folder on your computer that you can access using your standard file manager. It also saves you having to work via the web browser every time. If you also run the desktop version of OpenSong, you can tell it to use the Dropbox folder as well.




Once you have installed the Dropbox desktop software, browse to your Dropbox folder on your computer (it will be in your home folder somewhere). If you haven't used this before, it will be empty. Create a folder in here called OpenSong. This is where all of your shared resources will be stored. I'll show you how to get the app to synchronise with this folder later.

To set up the desktop version of OpenSong (freely available from http://www.opensong.org), run the program and whilst in 'Song Mode' (I'm using version 2.1 on Ubuntu, so it may look different to your version).   The desktop application (running on a full PC with keyboard and large screen) makes creating songs from scratch much easier than using the Android app.

OpenSong desktop edit

OpenSong desktop file locations
Go to the settings menu and select General settings. Under the File Locations tab you will see where OpenSong currently stores your files (*note where this is if you want to move your current desktop OpenSong files to the Dropbox folder). Click on 'Custom' and browse to the /Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder you have just created then click on 'OK'. 

If you already have songs in your OpenSong desktop program and want to move them to the shared Dropbox folder, use your computer's file manager and copy the contents of the default storage location (*noted earlier) into the Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder.

I would strongly recommend that you copy this folder rather than moving it - this will be a backup should you need it!

You may have to restart the desktop version of OpenSong for any changes to take effect.

To check everything is working, try creating a simple song on the desktop app and browse to your /Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder to look for it. It will be inside the /Songs/ subfolder. If all is well, your PC is now set up correctly!



Now onto OpenSongApp..............
Before continuing, decide which option best suits your needs:
  1. You already have songs and sets stored in a Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder and you want the app to use these as the main resource.
    • I strongly advise you to reset the local Songs folder on your Android device.  OBVIOUSLY DON'T DO THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DELETE THE SONGS ON YOUR TABLET!
    • Open the right hand options menu, choose the Storage category and select 'Manage storage'.  Clicking on the red button will wipe your Android songs folder - This will prevent the upload of my version of songs which may overwrite the ones you already have in your Dropbox account.
  2. You have an empty Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder and you want to use the songs on your app to fill this shared folder - no further action needed.
  3. You want to merge the songs on your app with other songs stored in a Dropbox/OpenSong/ folder - no further action needed.

To check where OpenSongApp currently stores your files, go the
the right hand options menu, choose the Storage category and select 'Manage storage'.  The storage folder being used is noted next to the internal or external storage choices.  Keep a note of this location.  All of your OpenSong files will be inside a folder called OpenSong at the specified storage location.


Unfortunately the official Dropbox app for Android is quite limited and doesn't do full synchronisation (this is to avoid running out of storage on your device). However, since OpenSong files are small, we can use a free app called Dropsync to help us. Other apps are available from the Play Store, but I've used this app without issues and can recommend it.


Dropsync app
Manage storage
This app allows you to sync a selected folder on your device with a Dropbox account (as Dropbox does by default on the desktop application) and vice-versa.

Download and install the Dropsync app then run it.  Log in with the Dropbox account you wish to use (you will need to give it permission).   The Dropsync app will take you through the set up process, but make sure you sync with the correct folders:


Online Dropbox folder
  • OpenSong/
Local Android folder: 
  • /storage/****/documents/OpenSong/  (**** varies depending on your device and if you are using internal or external storage).

By syncing these top level folders, the Songs, Sets, Backgrounds, Notes and Slides folders within these are synchronised.

It is likely that you will want to set it up with full 2 way synchronisation.  This means that songs/sets changed on your tablet are updated locally and on Dropbox.  Also songs/sets changed or created by others in the Dropbox folder are automatically downloaded to your device.  The default sync schedule with Dropsync is 1 hour, although you can adjust this to suit.  You can also manually tell it to sychronise if you know there has been a change.

If you have lots of songs to synchronise, it will take a while.  However, future updates or changes are much quicker.


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