I have most of my important files under Dropbox, like Pictures and Documents. It would be great if I could set the default Documents and Pictures directories to either point under the respective directory under my Dropbox folder, or (if their path is important) have my real directories being symlinked under ~/Documents and ~/Pictures.

Is this possible somehow?

2 Answers 2


You can do the opposite way round: add a symlink of the defaults Documents and Pictures to your Dropbox folder.

Full instructions can be found here, but basically, in the Terminal, just change directory to your Dropbox folder, and then create the links there.

cd ~/Dropbox
ln -s ~/Documents
ln -s ~/Pictures

Obviously, this will overwrite the existing Dropbox subfolders. You can either rename those folders, or you can create a new name for the symlink in the ln command:

ln -s ~/Documents symDocuments

It sort of depends what you mean by “default”.

If you want to set the default folder that each app uses, I recommend Default Folder X and setting them to ~/Dropbox/Documents/ or ~/Dropbox/Photos/.

I would also remove the ~/Pictures/ and ~/Documents/ folders from your Finder sidebar and replace them with the ones from Dropbox.

Deleting the official folders and replacing them with links is possible, but I tend to try to avoid mucking around with things as a low level like that if I can avoid it. {See comment by Matthew Barclay}

  • Actually, most versions of Mac will crash if you somehow manage to symlink Documents (it is necessary to create the link on another installation of OS X, as Mac will not let you make a symlink overwriting Documents). Source: Personal Experience Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 0:45
  • Well that's pretty bad. I haven't done it for years, maybe back when Dropbox first came out, and it was a very bad experience, but it sounds even worse now. Will update answer.
    – TJ Luoma
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 16:42

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