Storyline Files & Dropbox

Feb 08, 2020

We (faculty district-wide) are having issues with saving Storyline files to Dropbox.  This has not been an issue for the last year but within the last month (not this last update but the one before) we're suddenly being told that our files are being used by other processes, forcing us to save copies, and being unable to sync.  Dropbox hasn't changed but Articulate has.  What's going on?  Does anyone have a fix?  We're able to still sync and use Dropbox as usual with every other type of file except Storyline.

40 Replies
John Hudson

This started happening to us in the same time frame. Often the only way we can save a file is to pause dropbox syncing first. If you don't, even a File Save As will not work. It partially creates a file with the new name but does not complete the save. The characteristics of the problem are identical to what Abby described above. 

Becky Beyea

This exact thing has been happening with my files for months.  I have multiple multiple copies of the same files because it keeps asking me to do this. 

What is the proper way to close a project?  File>Close, then exit the app?? 

I typically save to a network drive.  But we are about to switch protocols to save to our local drive and then copy to network drive.

John Hudson

With the DropBox client installed, we are always saving to our hard drive. DropBox then synchronizes with the cloud automatically. Whatever changed in Storyline a few months ago gets in the way of this process. When you are working with lots of Storyline files, remembering to turn DropBox on and off , or manually copying files is not a particularly efficient way to work. There is no issue with any other application and this process worked fine with Storyline until recently, so there should be a technical explanation and solution.

Douglas Opicka

Can I add my ditto to this thread?  Articulate and Dropbox stopped being friends and it has caused both a hassle and lost work product as I've had folks believe they saved their work only to find that the file was not properly saved.  Something changed in Articulate since it is the only program that is giving me issues.  This should be a high priority issue.

Becky Beyea

Saving to our local drive is still causing the message "file path cant be found" or "it's open somewhere else and you must save a copy."  It is very frustrating...We aren't using Dropbox at all and are having this issue for the past several months.  Each developer works on their own projects, on their own computer, so how can it be open somewhere else???  Our IT group checked and it only seems to be having issues with Storyline files.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Becky!

Have you tried saving the projects under different file names, like Sample FIle 4.16.2020? I've noticed that the error message appears if you're opening a file that has been moved from a cloud service to a local drive.

Can you try making a copy of the file and saving it with extra wording such as "Version 2" or even adding the date?

Benjamin Diehl

Hello Lauren, this issue persists regardless how, when and where the file is named.  Storyline is notorious about maintaining an ironfist control over the .story files.  For example, if you are working on a project, and simply attempt to copy and paste that file to a separate location, Storyline will not allow it.

It seems to me what is happening is Storyline is trying to maintain control of the file, meanwhile dropbox is trying to sync that file to the cloud.  So when we try to save at any point, storyline gets confused, because another program has interacted with the file to sync.  This triggers Storyline to duplicate the file.  But in making a duplicate, dropbox also tries to sync the new duplicated file, which further confuses storyline. 

Like many dropbox users, our local drives are one in the same with our dropbox directory.  We don't differentiate between what is on the cloud and what is saved locally.

I hope this all makes sense.

Douglas Opicka

I spent well over an hour on the phone with developers at Dropbox trying to figure out a solution to this issue.  In the end, there was nothing that they could do.  The asked if I had to use Articulate or if another product is available because they are unaware of any other products having this type of issue with their service.  Basically, they told me this is a bug in articulate that needs to be addressed.


John Hudson

As Benjamin described very well, this constant control issue of the Storyline file ends up creating versions of a file that are not complete, even when you are renaming new versions and whether you remembered to turn DropBox off before saving, etc. Some of this confusion with files just cost me another 4 hours of work yesterday and the unproductive time dealing with this within a work team is a serious issue. Hopefully, there is something in the works to resolve this.

WPA Training

We can also confirm this issue. Storyline keeps the file open in such a way that when dropbox trying to sync they both have a conflict.  Here is my process.

  1. Start the Storyline project
  2. make changes, etc.
  3. Save and get the "file in use" error message
  4. OPen dropbox and quit dropbox
  5. Save again this time choosing OVERWRITE
  6. At this point I will leave dropbox OFF or Exited until I'm done with my Storyline project.

Hope this helps others.

Katie Riggio

Hi All,

Thank you for sharing your recent concerns with Storyline and Dropbox. 

To prevent file corruption and other erratic behavior that can occur due to latency, we stand behind working on a local c: hard drive.

We hear you, though, and will share the latest insights with the team. I'll circle back if we have any new updates or info to share.

 In the interim, we recommend turning off syncing to Dropbox while working on a project with these workflows:

We also invite the community to share their tips on backing up files!

Mary Beth Faccioli

This issue has been a real headache for many months. Not sure what changed with Storyline several months back to cause this problem. As John stated above, no other application has this problem with Dropbox. Pausing Dropbox sync requires pretty constant interruption in my workflow. As you state in one of your documents linked above, regular saving is best practice. However, this means regular sync pausing in Dropbox which is a constant interruption. Does Articulate see this as an issue? Or, are you just suggesting we pause Dropbox sync and that's the end of the story? I'd really appreciate an update as to whether this is something that will be addressed, or, if Articulate is suggesting a permanent change in the workflow of those using Dropbox and Articulate 360. Thanks for info on this!

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Mary Beth,

I'm not sure what changed either, but we have always recommended working on your local hard drive (typically your C: drive) when creating, editing, and publishing Storyline courses. Working on a network drive or a USB drive can cause erratic behavior, such as file corruption or an inability to save changes. 

Syncing applications, like Dropbox ( or Google Drive or One Drive), may stall while trying to sync your project to the cloud storage. We recommend disabling automatic syncing of your files from these applications to avoid such issues.