Take back control of your cloud: 4 ways to automate your cloud file management

Consolidate the files scattered across your cloud apps.
Ben Chappell · April 17th 2019

We started building Publist because the more apps we use, the more trouble we have keeping track of where our files live. Unfortunately, ‘earnings18.csv’ and ‘landingpagecopy3.sketch’ are never where we thought we put them in Dropbox or Google Drive. Each of our apps comes with a different file manager, some good, some bad, and, as our files have become more scattered, we keep asking ourselves the same questions. Was it shared on Dropbox or Google drive? Did someone send it to me on Slack? Is it waiting for a signature in DocuSign? Or maybe it was in Box? Did my boss attach it to an email? Our apps involve more files than ever, but rarely do they provide features focused on making your files in them easy to access and browse.

As SaaS has replaced desktop apps as the place we get work done, we left our files behind. Before, they were right on our hard drive, and we only needed a few folders to keep them organized. The cloud brought many fantastic tools, but our apps and data have begun to pile up. We believe your work apps should make life more organized, not cluttered, so we set out to build one file manager for all of our apps.

We’ve enjoyed learning from hundreds of people who want to take back control of their cloud files, and, in doing so, we have learned that many of them have already found creative ways to consolidate their files. They use these creative solutions to solve all kinds of problems caused by files becoming more scattered and isolated as we use more apps in the cloud, such as:

  • Opening four different file browsers to find one file
  • Downloading and uploading files to move them between apps
  • Waiting for credentials to download files
  • Needing to know when a file was sent to find it in the message history
  • The inability to quickly preview or open files
  • Difficulty sharing files on teams using multiple cloud storage services

Given what we’ve learned, here are some of the most effective ways to overcome these problems:

Zapier

Automating many common tasks with Zapier is the most comprehensive way to centralize your cloud files, but also requires the most technical knowledge and is the most time consuming to get started. For those of you who haven’t used Zapier, it enables you to create “Zaps” between your application to move data from one app to another.

For example, you can automatically move files from all of your cloud apps into your favorite cloud storage with a series of Zaps.

Zapier File Integrations

Once you have set up a zap for every app you use, all of your files will end up in one place. You can also use Zapier to automatically back up files from cloud apps like Typeform, Evernote, RightSignature documents, and many more.

Zapier File Integrations

Zapier File Integrations

You can then use Zapier to create new project folders automatically. For example, every time you create a new Typeform, you can have the results automatically sent to a folder in your Google Drive. Or, you could create new folders for a batch of incoming clients on your CRM.

Zapier File Integrations

Finally, you can use Zapier to copy files from one cloud storage app to another to ensure they are accessible to your entire team.

Zapier File Integrations

Using Zapier, you can automate a lot of your file management. Unfortunately, you will not be able to manually perform any of these actions and will have to set them up for each member of your team.

Trello

Trello boards were a favorite among people who had to keep track of files between multiple apps. In addition to indexing files from various apps on boards, teams can take advantage of other native features like due dates, team functionality, checklists, and the ability to drag and drop files across a kanban board.

There are two ways to organize files in Trello.

First, you can use the “attachments” feature within a card to attach a file from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive, or Box. If a project expands beyond a single document, you can also attach entire folders to Trello cards, and a preview of each document in the folder is visible on the back of the card. You can also use this feature when planning team projects, so every team member knows the materials for which they are responsible.

Trello

Second, you can also use Trello cards to hold links to documents from apps that are not supported by the attachments feature. For example, if I wanted to link to a task in Todoist or a PDF from DocuSign, I can do so by pasting its URL directly into a card. There is even a chrome plugin dedicated to creating clickable links on your Trello cards.

Trello

We also noticed many Trello users include a “resources” column that is used to store relevant files for each of their team boards.

Trello

Slack

There are many file management slackbots you can use to share or get notifications about new files automatically. Slack bots support all major cloud-based file management systems, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Microsoft OneDrive and Sharepoint Online. When pasting links to files from any of your cloud storages

When you work with files in Slack, you can have related discussions and make decisions in one place. For example, if someone shares a google sheet into a Slack channel, the rest of your team can comment and discuss right away making it easy for teams to provide context with each document they share.

Publist

Publist is the only platform that makes working with your files in the cloud exactly like files on your desktop. With Publist, you don’t have to worry about creating Zaps, adding Slack bots, or adding all of your files as attachments to Trello cards because your files can be easily accessed, moved, stored, and viewed on your new Cloud Desktop.

We are currently in beta and working with cohorts of early users to make the experience completely seamless. If you want to take control of your cloud files and stop spending a minute more hunting through different file browsers feel free to request access.

Let me know if you have found any other easy ways to manage cloud files at ben@publist.app!

Want to keep in touch?

Stay up to date with Publist and get early access

LogoCreated with Sketch.

A desktop for the cloud.

hello@publist.app

1233 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

© 2019 Publist. Made in San Francisco, CA.