Search for Files, Folders, and Content

The 'Search' feature is a quick and convenient way of locating what you need without having to browse through all your folders.




Searching for Files and Folders

To search for a file or folder, click into the search bar shown in the center of the header. As you begin typing, suggested results will appear below the search bar. If one of the suggested results is the item you need, simply click on it to be taken to it directly. If you would like to see all the results for your search query, press Enter/Return on your keyboard or click See all results at the bottom of the list of suggested results. 


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Note: Box does partial matches on the folder name, but we always start the match from the left. For example, if a folder name was 1603, queries 16 or 160 would both match the folder name.

The order of the results displayed is based on the relevance score, which is based on multiple factors. An exact match on the name should typically get a higher relevance score and be displayed before a partial match.



Search Tips


Exact Match

Use quotes to search for exact matches on phrases.


Note: Exact searches will not return search matches based on specific character sequences. Instead, they will return matches based on phrases, i.e. word sequences.
For example: A search for "A_Box" may return search results including the sequence "", "A Box", and "A_Box"; any item containing the words "A" and "Box" consecutively.


Boolean Search

You can use Boolean operators in your search. The operators are AND, OR, and NOT. Please note that we support lower case instances of "and" "or" and "not" but not mixed case. (ie "And", "Or", "Not" will not work)

  • AND returns documents that contain both the search terms. For example:
    A search for marketing AND BoxWorks returns a result that has both marketing and BoxWorks within its text. It does not return a result that only has BoxWorks in its text.
  • OR returns documents that contain either of the search terms. For example:
    A search for marketing OR BoxWorks returns a result that has either marketing or BoxWorks within its text.
  • NOT returns documents that contain the first search term but not the second. For example:
    A search for marketing NOT BoxWorks eturns a result that has only marketing within its text. Anything with the word BoxWorks is omitted.


Wildcard Search

Trailing wildcards are implicitly included in search results because of the way text is indexed. Searching for Bo results in items with the words Box or Boat or Boxer. It is the equivalent of searching for Bo* or Bo% in traditional search engines. Traditional wildcard notation is not supported by Box, such as %ox%


Saving Search Queries

The search query term and any filters are encoded as part of the URL – even the meaning of relative filters such as Last Week is preserved. So relative date filters will always imply dates that are relative to the time the query is executed.


This makes saving a search query much easier. The two options to save a query are via Box’s bookmark capability or via the browser’s bookmarking feature:


When you’ve conducted a search that you want to save, just copy the URL into the clipboard. Then navigate to the All Files page, click on + New in the header and then click on New Bookmark. In the address field paste the address that you copied from the search. Each time you click that link – the same search is executed!


You can also bookmark that URL using your browser – each time you visit that bookmark the search is executed!


Search Filtering

Use filters to narrow down your search results:

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You can open the filter menu by clicking the filter icon on the right side of the search bar. Under the Content Filters tab, you can filter results by file type, date modified, and file owner. Under the Metadata tab, you can filter results using custom metadata fields.


You can also set filters after viewing all search results. Use the dropdowns at the top of the screen to filter by file type, file size, date modified, file owner, or custom metadata.


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How does search indexing work?

Box has a secure index for content much like Google has an index for websites. To build this index, Box crawls your files, which is a process called indexing. When content is added to Box, an index request is triggered to add the file and its corresponding context into the master index.

  • Search Availability: Just as it takes Google time to crawl content on the web when new content is added, it takes up to 10 minutes for items to be fully indexed by the Box search engine. You can expect that as you add files, they will be available via search in less than 10 minutes.
  • Search Access: Only content that you are a collaborator to or owner of is available via search. Simply put, if you don’t have access to the file or folder within your account, it won’t show up in your search results. Password protected files are not indexed, and will not be visible through search.
  • File Content Searching: The content within your documents is also stored within the Box search index. The following file types support file content search: 'csv', 'doc', 'docx', 'gdoc', 'gsheet', 'htm', 'html', 'msg', 'odp', 'odt', 'ods', 'pdf', 'ppt', 'pptx', 'rtf', 'tsv', 'wpd', 'xhtml', 'xls', 'xlsm', 'xlsx', 'xml', 'xsd', 'xsl', 'as', 'as3', 'asm', 'bat', 'c', 'cc', 'cmake', 'cpp', 'cs', 'css', 'cxx', 'diff', 'erb', 'groovy', 'h', 'haml', 'hh', 'java', 'js', 'less', 'm', 'make', 'ml', 'mm', 'php', 'pl', 'plist', 'properties', 'py', 'rb', 'sass', 'scala', 'script', 'scm', 'sml', 'sql', 'sh', 'txt', 'vi', 'vim', 'webdoc',’yaml’

Box stores up to 10,000 full text characters per document depending on the keywords within the file. This amount can vary from document to document because Box’s search index has many different tokenization and stop word removal filters.

Note: Box does not perform OCR on documents for its search index.
Note: Full text search for the first 10,000 characters of a document is available for Business level accounts and above. 


Does Box support search in other languages?

Box supports multiple languages in its search engine:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Japanese

Box does not support indexing of multiple languages within one document. 


Can I search for words in non-current versions of a document?

No, and this is built by design.  Search only pulls results from the current version of a document, so that you do not have to pull up hundreds of irrelevant search results of outdated documents.

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