How to securely share files on Box
Important: Before you begin using your enterprise Box account, be sure to revise your settings according to How do I securely set up my enterprise Box account?
On this page:
- About the different options for sharing
- Using shared links
- Inviting collaborators
- More resources
About the different options for sharing
To share files in your enterprise Box account, you can either share a link, or invite a collaborator into the folder containing your files.
Collaboration is intended for longer-term projects requiring that the other person be able to continually access the files. Collaboration has seven permission levels, and requires the collaborator to have a Box account. You can invite collaborators to share folders only, not individual files. Depending upon the permission level selected, collaborators may be able to edit, upload, and delete the files in a folder. When you want help revising a document, inviting a collaborator into a folder allows you to revise just one version of a given file, rather than creating multiple versions that you must reconcile later.
- Shared links:
Shared links are intended for a quick, one-off need to share a file. Shared links have three access levels, can be password protected, and can be set to auto-expire. Depending upon the access level selected, a person may not need a Box account to access a shared link. Shared links grant read-only permission.
|User needs a Box account||Yes||No|
|User can edit files||
If given appropriate permission level
Available when access set to anyone with the link
With Previewer permission level
|All access levels|
Appropriate for internal and external use
|Stats show name for access||Yes||
Yes, except when access set to anyone with the link
For scenarios in which you may want to use Box to share and collaborate on content, as well as other ideas for how to use your Box account, see What kinds of tasks can I accomplish with my enterprise Box account?
Important: Box at Indiana University is a flexible storage service and collaboration tool that is appropriate for use with institutional data classified as Public, University-internal, or Restricted, as well as with personal files. Box is not appropriate for storing or sharing any sensitive institutional data elements classified as Critical, including electronic protected health information (ePHI) regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For more, see What types of data are appropriate for my enterprise Box account?
Using shared links
You can generate a link to share either individual files or folders. If you want to share more than one file with certain people, it's best to put them in a folder first, and share a link to the folder.
To share a link to a file or folder:
- To the right of the file or folder, click .
- A link will appear under the file or folder. To adjust the link's access level, click the current access level to the right of the link and select the appropriate access level from the drop-down list.
- You can use Box to email the link to recipients by clicking the gear icon to the right, clicking in the pop-up, and then entering the email addresses of your recipients. Alternatively, you can copy the link and paste it into any type of message you choose.
To disable the share link, click the arrow to the right of the file or folder, select below., and then select from the drop-down list. Your file or folder is now available only to you and any collaborators you have invited via the process described
To access the other settings listed here, click the gear icon to the immediate right of the link.
- Access levels:
- Open: Allows anyone who has the link to access the file or folder
- Your Company: Allows anyone who has the link and is within the IU domain to access the file or folder
- Collaborators Only: Allows access only to invited collaborators
- Set custom URL: Available on all access levels, a
custom URL allows you to name a link so it is quickly
Note: Custom links must be unique in the entire enterprise IU Box space., and enter your desired
URL; for example, to make a resume available to potential employers,
you could make the URL "iu.box.com/JaneDoeResume". Then click
- Password protection: When using the "Open" access level, you can set a password to have a higher level of security. Click , type a password of your choice, and click . Others will be prompted for the password before being able to see the file or folder.
- Restrictions: For both the "Open" and "Your
Company" access levels, you can control whether others can download
the file or folder, or only preview it.
To allow only the ability to preview, click, and then check .
- Expiration: For all access options, by clicking , you can set a date when the file or folder will no longer be accessible ("Unshare On"), and a date on which the file or folder will automatically be deleted ("Delete On"). To set one of these dates, click the calendar icon in the appropriate field and select a date from the pop-up calendar.
Note: The content in a shared folder impacts the quota of the folder owner only, not collaborators' quotas. Other Box limits, such as maximum file size, are dictated by the rules of the folder owner's Box account; for example, if someone from IU invites a user of a free Box account into a collaboration folder, the maximum file size for all content uploaded to that folder will be 15 GB. If the free account holder owned the folder, the maximum file size would be 250 MB, the limit for free accounts.
Inviting individual collaborators
To invite collaborators to a folder:
- Do one of the following:
- In list view, click the down arrow to the right of the folder and select .
- From within the folder you wish to invite people to, click in the right column.
- In the pop-up, enter the email addresses of the collaborators you
wish to invite in the "Invite:" box.
Note: When collaborating with others at IU, be sure to use each person's primary email address, such as
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use a different address, even an Imail or Umail address, the recipient will not be able to log in and access what you sent.
When collaborating with people outside IU, UITS recommends that your collaborators create their Box accounts before you invite them to a folder. You can then use the email addresses they used when creating their accounts to invite them to collaborate.
- From the permission level for the collaborators. As a best practice, give your collaborators the lowest level of permission they need to accomplish their tasks with the files. drop-down list, choose the appropriate
- Edit the message, if desired, and click .
If you wish to invite a large number of collaborators, or if your list of collaborators is an undefined subset of a larger group, it may be easier to send collaborators a self-inviting link, rather than entering them individually. For example, if you wish to invite everyone on a particular mail list, email the link to the list. Note that, although you are sending them a link, you are still inviting them as collaborators into the folder by this method, rather than using a shared link, as described above.
To generate a self-inviting collaboration link:
- Click the down arrow to the right of the folder and select .
- In the resulting screen, click near the top.
- Check permission level, and then copy the link. (You'll need to generate different links for different permission levels for the same folder.) , select the proper collaboration
- After clicking , send the link to your collaborators.
To assign tasks to Box collaborators, when previewing a file, clickto the right of the preview, and enter the task instructions. To change the task type, click , and select from the drop-down list. Enter the name or email address of the appropriate collaborator(s), and click if you wish to assign one. Click , and the assignees will receive notification about their task. When they've completed it, they can mark the task as complete.
Once a collaborative project is over and collaborators no longer need access to the content, to end collaboration:
- If you are the folder owner, remove collaborators who no longer need access. In the collaborative folder, click the collaborator's current permission level, and then select from the resulting drop-down list. If the collaborator list is large, click the link for more collaborators at the bottom of the list to view collaborators you can't already view.
- If you are a collaborator, you can remove yourself from the folder. Enter the folder you wish to remove yourself from, and click your current permission level. Select from the resulting drop-down list.
Box offers the following collaborator permission levels:
- Co-owner: Can upload, download, preview, share, edit, and delete files and folders in the collaborative folder. Also has owner privileges, but cannot remove the folder owner.
- Editor: Can upload, download, preview, share, edit, and delete files and folders in the collaborative folder.
- Viewer Uploader: Can upload, download, preview, share, and edit files and folders in the collaborative folder.
- Previewer Uploader: Can upload and preview files and folders in the collaborative folder.
- Viewer: Can download, preview, and share files and folders in the collaborative folder.
- Previewer: Can preview files and folders in the collaborative folder.
- Uploader: Can upload files and folders to the collaborative folder.
Important: Box uses waterfall permissions, i.e., collaborators will have the same permission level in subfolders as they do in the top folder. You can assign a given collaborator to a role with more permissions in folders deeper in your folder hierarchy. To do so, first invite the collaborator to the subfolder at the higher permission level. Then invite the collaborator higher in the folder structure at the more restrictive permission level. This will allow your collaborator to have different permissions at different levels of the folder structure.
For example, suppose a department head has a folder structure like this:
- Department A
- Team 1
- Team 2
- Team 3
The department head wants the leader of each team to be able to view documents pertaining to other teams (in the other subfolders) and documents pertaining to the department as a whole (in the top-level folder), but not to be able to change them. However, each team leader needs to be able to upload, edit, and delete files in the folder for his or her own team.
The department head first adds the leader of Team 1 to the
Team 1folder as an editor, and then adds that person as a viewer to the
Department Afolder, which also grants viewer permissions in the
You may wish to set some of the following options for a collaborative folder:
- Email notifications: To adjust notifications collaborators will receive, click the down arrow to the right of the folder, go to , and then click .
- Security: To access the following security
properties, click the down arrow to the right of the folder, go to
, and then select . Check the box
for each property you want to enable.
- (Owners and co-owners will still be able to view collaborators. All other collaborators will see their fellow collaborators listed as "Someone" in the collaborator list.)
- Using shared links above.) (Once you check this, you'll be prompted to set the permission level of the collaborators joining in this fashion. For more, see
- Shared Links:
- (Once you check this, you can choose to apply this restriction to files and folders, just folders, or just files.)
For more on collaborating with Box, see:
- Box Help videos:
- Box Blog entries:
This is document bbvd in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-03-05.
- Fill out this form to submit your issue to the UITS Support Center.
- Please note that you must be affiliated with Indiana University to receive support.
- All fields are required.