How to Fix Dropbox Can't Preview File Error [9 Solutions]

Are you facing the Dropbox can't preview file error? You can discover solutions in our guide. Besides that, you can find a way to upload files to Dropbox without file type limitations.


by CBACKUP Lasted Updated April 11, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Why can't I see files in Dropbox?


I'm using Dropbox to transfer a ton of photos and videos from my phone (iOS). However, when I go into my Dropbox folders, several thousand photos are not visible for preview. Only about half of the photos have previews. On the others, I only get an icon with the message "This file can't be previewed." Any quick fixes or ideas?

- User case from

Dropbox Cant Preview File

Dropbox is a popular free cloud storage, offering file hosting, and synchronization service on mobile, PC, and the web. It allows you to preview files directly within the web browser, which can help you to effortlessly assess various files within Dropbox itself, eliminating the necessity for downloading.

If your Dropbox can't preview files, several common issues may be at play, such as wrong file type, and browser issues. Don't worry, you can solve the error by following the solutions below.

Common Dropbox can't preview file errors and solutions

To fix your Dropbox preview not working issue, let's delve into the following section. We'll figure out the reasons behind these issues and offer you several practical solutions. So keep reading to get more details!

#1. Unsupported file types

  • If you are encountering the message "[file type] files can't be previewed", it indicates that your Dropbox has failed to recognize the specific file type. That is because Dropbox has some limitations in previewing certain file types.

The solution: You have the option of downloading and opening the file on your device to view its content to fix this error.

  • Also, if you see the error message "Files without extensions cannot be previewed", it indicates that the file lacks a filename suffix extension or has a wrong file suffix.

The solution: You can choose to add the correct extension back to the filename or change the extension to the right format to fix the error.

  • Issues with previewing .txt files on mobile may arise Dropbox can't preview files error from non-Latin characters.

The solution: Resave the file with UTF-8 encoding or use an online converter to resolve the problem and enable mobile editing.

#2. Limited file size

If the file is too large for preview, it surpasses Dropbox's size limit for previews. You need to notice that the file size limits vary depending on each file type. If you want to check the exact file size limits, you can navigate to what types of files can I preview in Dropbox.

The solution: Simply open or download the file to access its contents on your computer.

#3. Wrong file status

  • For the general error, "This file cannot be previewed because you are offline", check for file corruption first. Try opening it with a different application on your computer. If the file doesn't open with another desktop app, it's probably corrupted.

The solution: Download the corrupted file to your computer, attempt to repair it using file repair software, and then upload the fixed version back to Dropbox. Or if you have a backup of the corrupted file, restore it to Dropbox from the backup.

  • If you see the message "This file is password-protected", it indicates that the file requires a password for viewing.

The solution: Download the file and remove the password. Alternatively, you can copy the content to a new file without a password and then upload it again to Dropbox.

The solution: You need to ensure the file is fully uploaded and synced before attempting to preview.

#4. Video file without audio

If your video in Dropbox plays without any sound, it might have multiple audio options. Dropbox can't preview all the audio streams at once. It usually plays the one marked as "default" or the highest-quality one if there's no default. If your video has more than one "default" option, it plays the first in the list. Sometimes, the chosen audio stream might be of low quality or have no sound, resulting in the video playing without audio.

The solution: Ensure the video has either one audio stream or one marked as default. If issues persist, download the video for viewing.

Additional methods to fix Dropbox can't preview file

Besides the solutions above, let's explore more methods to address and resolve Dropbox file preview issues.

#1. Clear browser cache

The cache is like a storage space in your browser that keeps small bits of data from websites you visit. It's important because it helps save your info, makes pages load faster, and keeps your identity secure when you log in. But, too much-stored data (cache) can cause problems, like can't preview this file type, if you use Dropbox web. So follow the guide to clear your browser cache:

1. Open your browser, click on the menu icon, then navigate to More tools > Clear browsing data.

Clear Browsing Data

2. Opt for All time to clear all data, and ensure to check both Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files options. Subsequently, click on CLEAR DATA.

Clear Browsing Data

#2. Allow third-party cookies

For seamless file previewing on Dropbox through Chrome, ensure that Chrome isn't configured to block third-party cookies and site data by navigating to Chrome's Settings > Privacy and security > Allow third-party cookies.

Allow Third-party Cookies

#3. Disable browser extensions

If you're using browser extensions, you might encounter issues like cannot log in to Dropbox, or Dropbox can't preview files. To check if an extension is causing the problem, disable any extensions that block or modify scripts or codes. This can often be done by:

1. Click the three-dot icon on the right top and select Setting from the menu.

2. Select Extensions on the left pane and turn off the extension.

Disable Google Chrome Extensions

#4. Use another browser or update your browser

Try using a different browser to see if you can preview your files. Dropbox works well with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. Make sure you're using one of the two latest versions of these browsers for the best experience. If you're using an older version, update to the latest release.

Here let's take Chrome as an example to see how to update your Chrome:

1. Open your Chrome and click the three-dot icon on the right top.

2. Click Help > About Google Chrome. Then it will automatically help you check whether there is the latest version and download it. After that, you need to click Relaunch and restart Chrome.

About Google Chrome

#5. Update your computer

Check if there's a new version of your computer system available and install it. Sometimes, if there's a problem with previewing files, the latest system update might have already fixed it. So, update your system to see if it helps.

1. Tap on the Start button > Settings > Update & Security.

2. In the Windows Update tab, click on the Check for updates position.

Windows Update

Upload files to Dropbox without file type limitations

Dealing with problems previewing files on Dropbox can be tricky, especially when you're not sure what's causing the issue. If you're struggling with file size and type limits of Dropbox files, try using CBackup, a free cloud backup and sync service. It makes uploading files to Dropbox easy, without worrying about size restrictions or other obstacles.

★CBackup also boasts an array of valuable features:
Flexible sync scheduling: Set up Dropbox scheduled sync effortlessly with options for one time only, daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.
Comprehensive backup: Safeguard your data by backing up files to Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. This proactive approach ensures the preservation of your data in the face of potential loss or corruption.
Storage space expansion: If your Dropbox has insufficient storage, this tool can increase your space without additional costs by merging multiple Dropbox accounts.   

So now, let's learn how to upload files to Dropbox easily via CBackup:

1. Begin by creating a CBackup account on the official website. Subsequently, install and launch the freeware, then log in to its desktop app.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Navigate to the Storage button and select Dropbox. Click Authorize Now to grant CBackup access to your Dropbox account.

Select Dropbox

❥ Tip: CBackup employs OAuth-based authorization, ensuring that your account and password are not stored or cached during the access authorization process.

3. Move to the Sync tab and opt for Sync PC to Public Cloud.

Choose PC to Public Cloud

❥ Tip: CBackup executes a one-way sync from the computer to Dropbox, allowing you to maintain files exclusively online and conserve local storage space.

4. Expand your hard drives to designate files and folders for upload. Click the > button next to Dropbox and choose a specific Dropbox folder as the synchronization destination. Subsequently, click Start Sync to sync files to Dropbox.

Start Sync to Dropbox

❥ Tip: You can access Settings and enable Scheduler to configure automatic sync tasks.


In conclusion, if your Dropbox can't preview files, it may include several reasons, like unsupported file types, limited file sizes, etc. This post has provided practical solutions for those reasons. What's more, there is an easy way - using CBackup to upload files to Dropbox that can be seamless by bypassing file type restrictions of Dropbox.

CBACKUP · Editor
CBACKUP is an editorial team of CBackup. They give users help documents and many excellent articles covering cloud backup and sync issues, and provide cost-effective cloud backup services. They are pleased to help you solve cloud backup problems. Please feel free to contact CBACKUP editorial team with any questions.

Free Cloud Backup & Sync Service

Transfer files between cloud drives, combine cloud storage to gain free unlimited space

Get Started Now

Secure & Free