Collaborate on Files

Now that you’ve uploaded files and folders to your account, it’s time to take advantage of one of Box’s core benefits: working seamlessly with others.


With Box, you have two primary ways to share content with colleagues and other associates:

  • by inviting existing Box users to folders, or
  • by sending shared links.





For more information, check out our Working Together resource page to learn more about sharing content!


What’s a collaborator?


A collaborator is a Box user who has been given access to view or modify a particular folder on an ongoing basis.  If you’re a collaborator, the folder appears when you log in to your Box account.


To invite collaborators to a folder, hover on it, and then click the Share button to the right side of the folder.  Then you can invite collaborators to work in the folder, or create shared links for collaborators to access the content.

Note   The email addresses you use to invite collaborators must be the same email addresses your collaborators used to register for their Box accounts.  Please verify this before you proceed.  If a user does not yet have a Box account, he or she receives an email invitation to sign up for a free account.  Once they sign up, they have immediate access to the collaborative folder.


Once the collaborators log into their Box accounts, they're e able to accept or reject your invitation to collaborate on that folder.


When collaborators are invited to a folder, the folder icon changes from manila yellow to blue.  All collaborative folders automatically appear at the top of your files list within your account.


When should I invite someone in as a collaborator versus send them a shared link?


CollaboratorInvite someone into a folder as a collaborator if you're working together on an ongoing basis, and they need persistent access to the content you're sharing.


Shared linkSend someone a shared link to a folder or file if you merely need to provide quick, read-only access (much in the way you'd send an email attachment).  Your recipient can continue to reference that link for the most up-to-date version of the content.


File locking and version control

You’ve seen how Box makes it easy to share your content with anyone, but you may be wondering what happens when two or more of those folks try to edit a file at the same time.  Don’t fret: We’ve developed a tool called file locking to prevent this from happening, and another tool, called version control, to correct it if it does.


Download and lock a file to edit

When you need to make changes to a file, and want to prevent other users from getting to it while you work:

  1. Hover on the file, and click the drop-down arrow to the right of the file name.
  2. Click Lock File.
  3. Box displays a pop-up window in which you can check boxes to prevent other users from downloading the file while it is locked, and/or set an expiration time for the lock. To lock the file, click Continue.
  4. All done?  Save the file in the program you used to edit it – and be sure to use the same file name.
  5. To get the updated file back in Box, hover on the locked file and click the drop-down arrow to the right of the file name, then click Unlock File.
  6. To upload your new version, click the drop-down arrow next to the folder and select Upload New Version.  Box displays a pop-up window, allowing you to select the edited version.  Click Select file, grab the file from your computer, then to upload and unlock the file, click Upload.

Version control

Once you’ve completed the upload, you’ll see a version icon next to the file name.

This icon shows you how many previous versions of the file are saved.  If you click the icon, you’ll see the older versions, can download them, or make an older version the most current one.


When you delete an older version of this file, the deleted version is retained as determined by the trash policy for your account.  You cannot restore a deleted version after the trash policy's expiration date.


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