What are eleven things I need to know about Box?

UCSB Collaborate which supports Box, has an extensive FAQ here


Following are 11 things we think are important for Box @ Bren.


  1. As of 2015, UCSB has a site license for Box, which means all students and employees (staff, faculty) can create a Box account with "unlimited storage".    You can create your account by logging in @ https://ucsb.account.box.com/login
  2. There are three ways you can edit a Microsoft Office Document in Box: On your computer if that folder is synced to Box, using the Online Word/Excel/Powerpoint via your web browser, using Boxedit which will automatically download and launch the application on your computer, and when you save it will automatically update to Box.
  3. There are two pieces of software you can use with Box: BoxEdit, BoxSync.  We recommend you install BoxEdit on all the systems you use, and BoxSync on the computer/s you choose to synchronize your files to. The compute team can install these for you on your Bren Desktop.
  4. Versions, Trash, Backups: Box will create versions for your file edits.  If you delete a file, it will be stored in your account's Box Trash folder for 30 days before Box deletes that file and all the versions.  If you restore the file, it will restore all the versions. Having your files in Box is much safer than just having it on your laptop without any backups, but it isn't considered a true backup.  We recommend that all important files be backed up.  ** other help guide on backups available later in summer 2016.
  5. Syncing: Box is a little different, the folders that you set to sync will be synced on all computers that you install BoxSync on.  It is recommended that you run BoxSync on as few computers as possible to minimize the common problem of sync conflict issues.
  6. Previewing Files: A key box feature is that it can and will create previews of most of the documents that you store on Box.  This can be a great feature, and sometimes a frustrating feature.  If you modify a large word document, Box will create a new preview file, which sometimes can take longer you might think it should.  It can also be the case the preview file doesn't get updated until you go back to the file.
  7. Software Downloads - Box Sync - sync files to your laptop/desktop, Box Edit - Run MS Word/Excel/Powerpoint locally by automatically downloading and uploading the file on Box.  (software download link)
  8. File Organization: can be messy at the "All Files" Level,  take advantage of setting your current primary work files/folders as "favorites" for easy access.  You can also use "tags" to group files and folder sprinkled around your folder hierarchy to have a simplified view of related files and folders. If people share a folder with you, it will appear at the "All Files" level, and you can't move it somewhere, this is a deficiency of Box.
  9. Email to Folder:   You can create an email address for any folder.  You can have people upload files by sending a file via an attachment in an email.
  10. Permissions are hierarchical:  Permissions flow down through the folder hierarchy.  You can add increasing levels of permissions in sub-folders, but you can't remove permissions in sub folders. 
  11. Storage - who pays: If you share 15 gigabytes of files with an external collaborator (outside of the UCSB site license), they don't pay for that storage, as you are the "owner" of the storage.  With Dropbox, each person with those files would pay for them.  Since we have a site license for unlimited storage,  the site license that pays for the storage. 


A few other tidbits -

  • Files/Folders that are shared with you, appear at your "All Files" Level, which can be frustrating as you can't move them around or rename them.  For example, is someone shares a folder with you named Documents, but its in a subfolder for them called Ocean Science, you will only see "Documents" and not get the folder context.  So if you are sharing folders or files, put the context in the file/folder name.
  • LSIT/Collaborate who are managing BOX @ UCSB, are doing a great job with the resources allocated. I'd expect as Box is embraced more by students, faculty and staff that increased funding might be made available to provide increased support. 
  • At Bren, if you have departmental shares, please contact the compute team about making the "owner" a Bren Functional account, to ease problems if there are staff changes in the future.  You can still be a co-owner of the folder. 
  • Make use of Favorites and Tags for organization of your files.  This will make navigating and accessing files much easier. 




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