What's in this Guide?
What is Box.com?
Box.com is a cloud-based file storage system, licensed by Emory. You can think of it as your flash-drive-in-the-sky, a way of storing and sharing files removed from your local computer or flash drive. Emory provides each of its faculty, students, and staff 25GB, far more than one could get from a free box.com account. This service is wonderful for backing up files, freeing you to do and share work on multiple computers, and sharing files amongst colleagues. This guide will provide some basic information on how to use box.com efficiently.
How to Email Documents Directly into your Box.com Account
To email documents to your box.com account, you need to create a folder in your box.com account that will serve as your “inbox” for emailed files (box.com associates an email address with an individual folder, so you could create multiple email addresses, each tied to an individual folder. For now, let’s just work with one folder). To do this, follow these instructions:
- Log into your box.com account.
- Create a new folder to receive emailed files
- Click “New” at the top of the box.com page and select “New Folder”
- Give the folder an appropriate name (“Email Folder,” e.g.)
- It is best practice to select “Keep Private” so that only you have access to this folder.
- Click “Okay.”
You will now see the new folder at the top of the file list. Now you need to add an email address to this folder.
- To add email, click the “More Options” down arrow at the right side of the folder entry in the file list. Select “Properties” and “Email Options” from the cascading menus.
- In the Email Options window, select “Allow uploads to this folder via email.” You can choose from the other options, but the best practice is to leave them at their defaults.
An email address will appear in the field below. All email attachments sent to that email address will then be added as files in the new folder you have created. If you'd like an email address that's a little simpler to remember, see the information below about creating an email alias for your box.com email folder.
Setting up an Email Alias to Forward to that Convoluted Email Address Box.com Gives You
It is nice that box.com allows you to email to particular folders, but that email address it gives you is not something you are likely to remember (or even want to write down). So, the best thing to do is to create a new email address (that you can remember) which forwards all of its emails to that convoluted box.com address. Fortunately, this is fairly simple to do.
You will need to choose an email forwarding service. There are many free services available. The problem here, though, is that you will not be able to respond to a verification request from email services like Gmail and Yahoo (because all box.com cares about is file attachments, not email contents). Therefore, you need a forwarding service that does not need verification. For this purpose, I have chosen inboxalias.com. To create a forwarding address @inboxalias.com, follow these directions:
- Go to http://inboxalias.com and sign up for a new account. As your email address for that account, use the (long and complicated) email address provided by the new folder in box.com (see above). It is best to highlight that address in box.com and copy and paste it into this field.
- Fill out the rest of the details, agree to the terms of service, and click “Create Free Account”
- Create a new alias that will be the email address you remember.
- Click “Add Alias” at the top of the inboxalias.com page
- Whatever alias you choose, the email address will be that @inboxalias.com (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Click “Create Alias” at the top of the page
- When you return to the homepage, you should see your alias listed
- Now emails sent to the alias (email@example.com) will be forwarded to your box.com folder. To use this, simply compose an email to your alias (firstname.lastname@example.org) and attach the file you would like to see in your box.com folder.
Navigating Your Box.com Account
There is a navigation bar at the top of your box.com homepage that helps you move around.
- The Messages button allows you to contact those who are identified as collaborators on your documents and to see messages from them. You can also assign specific tasks to specific collaborators.
- The Updates button will inform you of changes made in your files. This may be the uploading or deleting of files, as well as the insertion of comments by you or others.
- The Files button will return you to the top level of your file structure. This the button to click when you need to go back to see your content that has been uploaded.
- The People button will show you all the users you have designated as collaborators on various files and folders. From the People page you can add new collaborators or remove users from collaborating on any or all of your files and folders.
- The Apps button will allow you to download applications to your computer that will help you take advantage of more features of box.com.
- The Search window allows you to look for specific words or phrases in the filenames, folder names, and contents of your files. This is a powerful way of finding what you have uploaded to box.com.
Uploading a File or Folder from your Computer to Box.com
At its core, box.com is a file storage service, so to start you need to add files from your computer to your box.com account. To do this, from the Files view (press the Files button on the blue navigation bar), click "Upload" and choose "Upload Files" if you would like to upload an individual file, choose "Upload Folders" if you would like to add an entire folder from your computer to your box.com account.
The system will open a File dialog box that will let you identify files to be added to box.com. When you select a file, box.com will open an upload dialog box that will show you the file and allow you to specify some properties of the upload.
- Click the "Upload to" dropdow to change the location in box.com where the file is uploaded. The default will be to upload it to "All Files," the top level of your file system. If you have created folders (see below), you can add a file to a specific folder in box.com.
- Click "Add Description" below the file name to describe (for you or your collaborators) what this file is.
- Click "Add more files" to identify additional files on your computer to add to this same location in one batch upload.
- To remove a file from the upload, simply click the "x" next to the file name.
- Click "Upload" to start the batch upload. You will be taken back to your Files page, and you will see at the top the individual files uploading, with a blue progress bar showing when the upload is complete.
Creating Folders in Box.com to Organize Your Files
Just like on your local computer, it is a best practice to organize your files into folders. Box.com makes this easy. To create a folder, simply click "New" from at the top of the Files page and choose "New Folder." Box.com will open a dialog box that allows you to to specify some details about the folder.
- At the top of the window, designate a folder name.
- To keep a folder private (only you can see it), select "Keep Private for Now." You can always add collaborators to a folder later.
- By default, box.com will ask you to add collaborators on a new folder. Adding someone as a collaborator will display this folder on their box.com account as well (though you continue to own the folder and the files within). To add someone, begin typing an Emory email address in the "Names" box. A dropdown will appear, allowing you to choose an Emory user. If you would like to add a non-Emory person as a collaborator, you can entire his or her email address here and an invitation will be sent, asking the user to create a box.com account.
- Box.com allows you to specify the level of access a collaborator will have for a particular folder and the files contained therein. The access levels are described below. By default collaborators are added as Editors. This gives them full control of the files in a folder (add/edit/comment/delete), but they cannot add or remove collaborators.
- Click "Okay" to create the empty folder. You will be returned to your Files page, with a notification that the folder has been created.
To Move Files into Folders
To move files, simply return to your Files page (click Files button in the blue navigation bar) and select the radio button next to the file or files you would like to move. When you have selected all for the move, click "Move/Copy" from the context menu that appears at the top of your file list. Box.com will open a dialog box that allows you to choose the folder to which you want to move the selected files.When you have highlighted the folder name, click "Copy" to add a copy of the files to that folder (and retain it at the top level), or click "Move" to move it to that folder (it will no longer remain at the top level.
Deleting a File from Box.com
To remove a file you have uploaded, click the radio button to the far right of the file name. A context menu will appear at the top of the file list, with the option to "Delete." Click "Delete" to remove the file. NOTE: this action cannot be removed. The file will no longer be on your box.com account.
Sharing Files and Folders in Box.com
Box.com is a file storage platform, but it is also a file-sharing platform. It makes sharing documents and collaborating on projects easy. You can share at the folder level (adding collaborators to have access to all files in the folder), or at the file level. However, you should know that sharing permissions are controlled at the folder level. What this means is that you have to invite a user to be a collaborator on a given folder before he or she can have any access to files within that folder.
Box.com allows you to specify different permissions for different users. Below is a list of the permission levels:
To Add Collaborators to a Folder (and all Files Included Therein)
Go to your People page (click the People button in the blue navigation bar) and click the "Add Collaborators" button at the top right of the screen. Box.com will open a dialog box that allows you to highlight a particular folder on which you would like to collaborate (this will include all files and folders therein). In the Collaborators text field, enter the email address of those whom you would like to collaborate with. If you begin typing an Emory email address, a dropdown should appear allowing you to choose Emory users (all have box.com accounts by default). You can invite non-Emory people with any email address, and they will receive an invitation via email asking them to sign up for a box.com account. When you have found the proper user, choose the permission level (see above) and click "Invite Collaborator." This person will receive an email notifying them of this collaboration, and they will see the folder in the top level of their box.com account.
To Send Links to Collaborators
Once a user has been added as a collaborator to your folder, he or she has access (depending on the privileges you set up) to all the files therein. You can send links, however, to specific files. This is helpful if you want someone to take a look at a specific file. To do this, navigate to the particular file (start with the Files button on the blue navigation bar). When you find the relevant file, click the word "Share" that appears in the line when you scroll over its filename. This will reveal a URL for this particular file. You can either send that directly to collaborators by clicking "Send," or you can copy the link and paste it into an email to the users. Remember, though, that all users you want to see this file will need to be collaborators of the folder that contains the file.