Dropbox Interface from R
Latest commit 15e59ef Jul 1, 2015 @karthik Fixed version number


rdrop2 - Dropbox interface from R a_box

Build Status Coverage Status CRAN_Status_Badge

This package provides programmatic access to Dropbox from R. The functions in this package provide access to a full suite of file operations, including dir/copy/move/delete operations, account information (including quotas) and the ability to upload and download files from any Dropbox account. This package replaces the old rDrop.


A stable version 0.6 can be installed from CRAN


Development version



# This will launch your browser and request access to your Dropbox account. You will be prompted to log in if you aren't already logged in.
# Once completed, close your browser window and return to R to complete authentication. 
# The credentials are automatically cached (you can prevent this) for future use.

Retrieve Dropbox account information

drop_acc() %>% 
    select(uid, display_name, email_verified, quota_info.quota)

Dropbox directory listing

# or specify a path

Filter directory listing by filetype (e.g. png files)

drop_dir() %>% 
    filter(mime_type == "image/png")

Create folders on Dropbox

# or provide the full path where it needs to be created

Upload a file into Dropbox

csv files

write.csv(mtcars, 'mtcars.csv')
# or upload to a specific folder
drop_upload('mtcars.csv', dest = "drop_test")

You can also do this for any other file type and large files are supported regardless of your memory.

Download a file

# or add path if file is not in root

Delete a file


Move files

drop_move("mtcars.csv", "new_folder/mtcars.csv")

Copy files

drop_copy("new_folder/mtcars.csv", "new_folder2/mtcars.csv")

Search your Dropbox

foo <- drop_search('gif')
# Yes I know I hoard gifs.
# This isn't even the entire lot.
# [1] 751  14
Source: local data frame [6 x 14]
# rev thumb_exists path is_dir
# 1  1b206e7f519 TRUE # /obscure_path/bgnoise.gif  FALSE
# 2  1d906e7f519 TRUE # /obscure_path/images/ploslogo.gif  FALSE
# 3  1da06e7f519 TRUE # /obscure_path/images/treebase_logo.gif  FALSE
# 4  1db06e7f519 TRUE # /obscure_path/images/fishbaselogo.gif  FALSE
# Variables not shown: client_mtime (chr), icon (chr), read_only (lgl), bytes (# int), modified (chr), size (chr), root (chr), mime_type
#  (chr), revision (int), parent_shared_folder_id (chr)

Search and download files

I frequently use a duck season rabbit season gif. This is how I could search and download from my public Dropbox account.

x <- drop_search("rabbit")
drop_get(x$path, local_file = '~/Desktop/bugs.gif')

# Response [https://api-content.dropbox.com/1/files/auto//Public/gifs/duck_rabbit.gif]
#   Date: 2015-04-04 15:34
#   Status: 200
#   Content-Type: image/gif
#   Size: 337 kB
# <ON DISK>  ~/Desktop/bugs.gif

Share links

gifs <- drop_search("rabbit")
# url = https://db.tt/PnNKg99G 
# expires = Tue, 01 Jan 2030 00:00:00 +0000 
# visibility = PUBLIC 

The shared URL resolves here https://www.dropbox.com/s/aikiaug0x2013dp/duck_rabbit.gif?dl=0

Read csv files directly from Dropbox

write.csv(iris, file = "iris.csv")
# Now let's read this back into an R session
# Note that there is a quiet download happening to your temp dir
new_iris <- drop_read_csv("iris.csv")

Accessing Dropbox on Shiny and remote servers

If you expect to access a Dropbox account via Shiny or on a remote cluster, EC2, Digital Ocean etc, you can leave the cached oauth file in the same directory, or pass the token explicitly as the last argument to any function call that begins with drop_. You can also save the output of drop_auth into a R object and sink that to disk and pass that as a token. If using on Travis or similar, you should consider encrypting the oauth cache file to prevent unauthorized access to your Dropbox account.

token <- drop_auth()
saveRDS(token, "droptoken.rds")
# Upload droptoken to your server
# ******** WARNING ********
# Losing this file will give anyone 
# complete control of your Dropbox account
# You can then revoke the rdrop2 app from your
# dropbox account and start over.
# ******** WARNING ********
# read it back with readRDS
token <- readRDS("droptoken.rds")
# Then pass the token to each drop_ function
drop_acc(dtoken = token)

Bugs and known issues

  • Given that this package hasn't been around for very long there are likely some undiscovered issues. So please file any issues or problems as they arise.