The interface for Box.com is clean and well organized but you still might need some help to get started. There are four apps that most business users will want to install to be able to take advantage of the ways that Box makes it easy to access and share company files.
At first, you’ll use Box’s web portal to access your files. Clicking on a file opens a preview in a new window. When Box Edit is installed, clicking on the pencil icon in the upper right of a file preview will automatically download the file and open it in the appropriate program on your computer. The file will be linked to Box; when you edit it and click Save, the changes will be saved back to Box, with no need to download the file manually and upload the changed version. It works with any file format that you have a local program installed to open – Office for DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX, Acrobat for PDF, Photoshop for JPG or RAW files, etc.
Download link: https://sites.box.com/sync4/
The Box Sync program works similarly to Dropbox and OneDrive. It creates a special Box Sync folder on your computer; everything in Box Sync is synced to the online Box folders. You can work with files and folders in the Box Sync folder and never visit the Box web portal.
You can choose which folders are synced from the Box web portal. Right-click on a folder and click on Sync to Computer and the folder with its contents will appear in the Box Sync folder on your computer. You can turn off syncing just as easily and the folder will disappear from your computer. It allows you to have complete control over how much space is used on your computer for the synced Box files.
Box for Office
After Box for Office is installed, Box buttons appear in Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Files can be opened from Box by clicking on the Box Open button. You can start a new file and save it directly to Box by clicking on the Save To Box button.
Box for Outlook
Outlook users will see new Box buttons when composing a new email message, allowing a file stored in Box to be attached with a single click. The file isn’t actually attached, of course; instead the file is shared and a link to the file is emailed to the recipient, who can open it in Box’s file viewer and download it.
Even better is Box’s handling of normal file attachments. When you create a message and attach a file and click Send, Box immediately asks if you want Box to send the attachment. Answer Yes and choose where the file will be stored in the Box files. Box will upload the file, then send the message with a link to the file.
As with any shared file, you can visit the web portal and set conditions on the file sharing at any time. You can stop the sharing, set an expiration date, limit who is able to view the file, prevent downloading, and more.
Box’s apps are found by clicking on the cloud icon at the right of the Box toolbar on the website. There are hundreds of apps but it’s only helpful to install an app if it fits your needs. There are apps to integrate Box with Salesforce and Google Docs, for example, if you use either of those services. Box also has apps for every phone & tablet; install those by searching the store on each device.
I’m standing by to do presentations of Box features for executives and employees with more details about each of these apps and more Box basics, as well as to help administrators get things set up. If you’re a business considering moving company files online, sign up for a free Box trial and let me know what you think!