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Syncing Things for Mac via Dropbox

Syncing Things for Mac via Dropbox

I have been a massive fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy for a couple of years now. Like most people I am generally working on about a dozen projects at once and each project has a large number of “next action” tasks that I have to work through to keep everything just ticking over.

Managing my life using the brilliant ‘Getting Things Done’ application Things for Mac has really helped me become more efficient, and I now tend to remember to do those “must do that” tasks from conversations or emails.  It is important though that the process of GTD doesn’t become a chore and a management task in itself. With previous GTD software applications  I kept finding I spent more time managing my getting things done than actually clearing tasks from my to-do list.


Many of us work between two Macs and keeping a single up to date “to do” list can be difficult as Cultured Code are yet to implement live synchronisation with cloud storage such as MobileMe.

I am going to quickly outline how I keep Things for Mac synchronised between my two computers. It isn’t perfect but it is the best solution I have found to date and syncing Things with a free DropBox account appears to be considerably more reliable than syncing with MobileMe.

I am assuming you have already installed and purchased a license for Things and have already signed up for a free Dropbox account. Dropbox offer 2GB of online storage space (Click here for more details) completely free of charge, there really isn’t an excuse not to have one (read our five uses for Dropbox here).

Step 1 : Move your Things Library

Firstly quit Things for Mac completely. Then using Finder locate the Cultured Code folder within the user Applications Support folder. i.e. In Finder click your account name on the left hand pane and work through the folders structure as in the screenshot below.


Once you have found the Cultured Code folder copy the ‘Things’ folder within it to your Dropbox folder (again if you have installed the Dropbox application this should already be listed in your Finder window).


Step 2 Setting the Dropbox Library as Default

Now it is a matter of telling Things to use this newly copied library as the default. To do this hold down the ALT key when you double click the Things icon to load it. The following dialogue box should appear.


Click “Choose Library” and locate the new Things database within your Dropbox folder. Things will now use this library as the default and the good news is you only have to set this action once. If you quite and reload Things it will automatically use the Dropbox Things Library.

Things on the Second Mac

Now when you go to your second Mac, install Dropbox and let the files synchronise. Again hold down the ALT key when your load Things for the first time and point the application towards your Dropbox Things library folder.


I have been using this system to keep Things up to date on two Macs for sometime without any issue. I tend to load Things last after I login to my computer to give Dropbox a chance to sync all the necessary files.

Obviously the ability to sync directly to the cloud from multiple computers and the Things iPhone application would be  a much better solution it isn’t yet available with the current release.

This guide is provided as an example of how I use Things and Dropbox and if you give it a go I take no responsibility for loss of data.Remember to back up your data often !!

Any questions ? please post in the comments.

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