Box Guides

Find Box Guides for Washington University users.

Collaboration with BJC

In April of 2018, BJC shut down their enterprise Box environment, making it challenging for WashU and BJC colleagues to collaborate via Box.  For WashU clinicians and researchers who still have large amounts of data in their WUSTL Box accounts and want to share it with BJC colleagues, you can use the following methods:

To allow BJC collaborators to securely view and download files from a WUSTL Box folder:

  1. Login to WUSTL Box in a web browser and navigate to the folder/document you want to share with BJC
  2. Click the Share button next to the folder/document and click Create shared link
  3. Below the new shared link, in the bottom left corner of the dialog, change the drop-down menu from Invited people only to People with the link
  4. On the Shared Link dialog box, click the Link Settings link to open the Shared Link Settings pane
  5. In the Shared Link Settings page, click the Require Password checkbox, set a strong password, then click Save
  6. Click the Copy button to copy the Box link URL
  7. Click Close
  8. Email the link that you copied to your BJC collaborators and securely deliver the password that will allow them to use the link

To allow BJC collaborators to upload files to a WUSTL Box folder:

  1. Login to WUSTL Box in a web browser and navigate to the folder you want to allow BJC collaborators to upload to
  2. Click on the More Options “…” button next to the folder, then click File Request
  3. Once the File Request dialog opens, select your desired options under the Customize Options section (if any)
  4. Copy the File Request Link
  5. Email the link that you copied to your BJC collaborators and they can then upload files
Content Management Guidelines

Below are basic guidelines for managing content in WUSTL Box. These are not policies. They are simply intended to enhance your experience while using WUSTL Box:

Department Box Folders

If you are going to create a Box folder for your department that will ultimately contain many thousands of files, consider requesting a free “Department Box Folder” by submitting a Service Request Form. These folders are owned by a non-person account titled “WUSTL Box Storage”, with you set as the co-owner. This allows for easy maintenance and hand-off to new co-owners when people change roles or leave the university.

If you are currently the owner of a large shared folder that is used daily by a large group of people, you may want to request that WashU IT change the owner to ‘WUSTL Box Storage’ and set you as a co-owner.  This will ensure that the folder persists if you change roles or leave the university.

Folder Structure for Granular Permissions

Since parent folder permissions always flow down to all child folders, you should build your department folder structure around your intent to grant access.


  • Top-level department folder (two co-owners high up in the department, perhaps the Director and Associate Director), which contains:
    • Shared Department content (everyone in department has access)
    • Finance Team Folder (only members of the finance team have access)
    • Marketing Team Folder (only members of the marketing team have access)

By not granting broad access to the parent folder, you can easily maintain more granular access on child folders.

Organization of Content that You Own

Place all folders and files that you own into a single folder at the root (top level) of your Box account. This folder could be called something as simple as “Jane’s Files”. The root level of your Box account will gradually contain many folders that are shared with you, which cannot be reorganized. This strategy makes it easy to have a folder containing only your content, which then doesn’t get “mixed in” with content from other collaborators.

Remove Shared Folders you no longer Need

If you were invited to a folder, but no longer need access to those files, you can easily remove yourself from the folder using these steps:

  1. Select the folder that is shared with you by clicking on the white space next to the folder.
  2. Right-click on the white space next to the folder and choose …More Actions, then End Collaboration.


  1. Select the folder that is shared with you by clicking on the white space next to the folder.
  2. On the list of collaborators on the right, select the ellipses button ( … ) next to your name
  3. Select Remove

Use Descriptive Folder Names

Many individuals will create and share folders titled with simple terms such as “Budgets” or “Projects”. This can make it difficult to determine which “Projects” folder you are looking for. Instead, opt for more descriptive folder names such as “FY19 WashU IT Budget Planning” or “2019 Engineering Team Projects”. Using descriptive folder names avoids confusion and allows for more effective Box Search functionality.

Use the Box Search Feature

Since WashU Box customers may create folders with any structure desired, there will always be some level of inconsistency to the folder structure of content that is shared with you. Rather than learning and adapting to a folder structure that a colleague determined, use the Box Search feature. The next time you intend to open a file in Box, rather than navigating to the folder where the file resides, type in a few search terms in the Box Search bar and quickly navigate to either the file or folder desired.

Working with Collaborative Content

When multiple people are working on the same file, it is recommended to work in the online Office applications. Using the online Office applications allow multiple people to work on the same document at the same time, thus avoiding accidentally creating conflicting versions.

If you are working on your desktop Office application (not the web version), be sure to lock the file in Box before opening with Box Edit or Box Drive. This will prevent others from editing the file until you unlock the file.

  1. In the Box application, select the More Options ellipses ( … ) for the file.
  2. Select Lock
  3. Select your desired options, then select Lock
  4. A lock icon will appear for the file
  5. To unlock, select the ellipses or the lock icon and choose Unlock

Online Office applications are applications like Word or PowerPoint used within your web browser.

Desktop Office applications are applications like Word or PowerPoint installed on your computer.

Be Cautious About Marking Folders for Offline Access

In order to avoid overrunning your computer’s hard drive with files that are too large, check folder and files sizes before marking them for offline access. It’s recommended to only mark folders and files for offline access when you know that you will have limited internet access for an extended period. For example, when on a plane or in a remote area.

Avoid Special Characters in File and Folder Names

When naming files, Mac users are able to use characters that are invalid in Windows file names, such as “/ ? < > \ * | “.  If these characters are used in file or folder names, issues can arise when attempting to open these files or folders on a Windows operating system.

Get Organized

Once you have been using WUSTL Box for some time, you may find it difficult to stay organized and quickly find the content you need.  Use these tips and tricks to keep your WUSTL Box account organized:

Set folders as favorites:

  • Click on a folder
  • Click the Star icon near the folder name at the top of the page

Set favorites as your default landing page:

  • Click on the user icon at the top-right
  • Click on Account Settings
  • Under HomePage, select Favorites
  • Click Save Changes
  • Now, when you login to WUSTL Box, the first thing you will see is a list of your favorate folders

Put folders that you own into a single folder:

  • Create a single folder titled something like “My Files” and move your folders inside
  • This way, your own folders won’t be mixed in with other folders that have been shared with you

Remove yourself from shared folders that you don’t need:

  • Click on a folder that is shared with you
  • On the list of collaborators on the right, click the  button next to your name
  • Click Remove

Search your content like a pro:

  • On the right of the search bar at the top of the page, click on the small button to display options
  • Search only content in the current folder
  • Select other filters like date created, file owner, and more
Integrating Box and Office Apps

If you use the Microsoft Office mobile apps for iOS (iPhone or iPad), you can open your Office documents directly from your WUSTL Box account and save changes. Follow the instructions below to take advantage of this integration:

  1. If you have not done so already, download and activate the Office for iOS apps using your Office 365 account by following the instructions here
  2. Next, download the Box for iOS app and login to your WUSTL Box account within the app:
    • Open the Box Sync app
    • When prompted, click “Use Company Credentials”
    • Enter your email address
    • Click “Log In”
    • When prompted, enter your WUSTL Key username and password
  3. Open your desired Office mobile app (such as Word) functions in Box

With the pending future decommission of the WashU Large File Transfer service (, WashU IT is providing the following instructions on how to securely deliver large files to external collaborators who do not have Box accounts:

  1. Login to the WUSTL Box web app.
  2. Upload a new file or create a new folder that you intend to transmit to your external collaborator.
  3. Next to the file or new folder, click the Share button then click the Create shared link slider button.
  4. Next click “Invited people only” and change this value to “People with the link”
  5. Next click “Link Settings” and enable Require password. This password should be shared in a separate communication from your email containing the shared link. 
  6. Click Save
  7. You can now copy the shared link and paste it into your email client or use the send shared link option (envelope icon) in box to send the link to your intended recipient. This option allows easy download for non-BOX user enabled recipients.

Note: If you know your recipient is already a BOX user you might choose to use the Invite People field.

Secure External Collaboration

WUSTL Box provides a secure, HIPAA and FERPA compliant method for collaborating with people outside of Washington University in St. Louis. While Box provides a number of ways to collaborate, below is a recommended method for securely collaborating with people outside of WashU:

  1. Login to the WUSTL Box web app
  2. Create a new folder that will be used to collaborate between WashU and your external partners
  3. Next to the new folder, click Share an then click Invite Collaborators
  4. Enter in the email addresses of the external individuals that you want to collaborate with (Note: You can use any email addresses that your invitees regularly use, including personal email addresses if needed.)
  5. Select an appropriate level of permissions
  6. Click Send 
  7. Upload appropriate content to the new folder

If the people you have invited already have a Box account associated with the email address that you invited, then all they need to to is login to their existing Box account and they can access your new folder.  If the people you invited do not already have a WUSTL Box account, have them create a free personal Box account using the following steps:

  1. Visit and click Sign Up under the Individual plan.
  2. Enter in your full name, email address, password, phone number, and country
  3. Important: Use the same email address that was invited as a collaborator on WashU Box folders
  4. Click Submit
  5. Look for an email from Box to validate your email address and complete the signup process
  6. Login to your new free personal Box account at using the email address and password that you entered in step 2
  7. Once you are logged in, you should see the folders that WashU has invited you to have access to
Transition Box Account

Students who have recently graduated or left the university are eligible to transition their WUSTL Box enterprise account to a personal Box account for 90 days after departure. Students who transition their account will no longer have unlimited storage, and will instead have the standard Box personal account storage allocation.  If no action is taken, your WUSTL Box account will be deactivated and deleted 90 days after departure. 

The WUSTL Box account transfer utility is not available until after your academic program is closed out by your registrar and your University role changes to Alumni.  Those with roles of Faculty or Staff are not eligible to transition their WUSTL Box account.  After transition, you will be subject to the upload and file size limitations found here.

Step 1 – Add a non-WUSTL email address to your WUSTL Box account:

  • Login to WUSTL Box
  • In the upper right corner of your WUSTL Box account, click your name and select Account Settings
  • Under Login and Email Addresses, click Add more emails
  • Enter your non-WUSTL email address (Note: you cannot add an email address that is already associated with another account)
  • Confirm your non-WUSTL email address via the email link sent by Box

Step 2 – Transfer your WUSTL Box account to a personal Box account:

  • Visit the WUSTL Key Self Service page and login using your WUSTL Key credentials
  • Once logged in, click on the left-side menu button labeled Box Account Transfer Utility
  • Confirm that you would like to transfer your WUSTL Box account – note that once you transfer your WUSTL Box account to a personal account, you will no longer be able to login to your Box account using your WUSTL Key and your address will be removed from your Box account.
  • Click ‘Transfer’
  • The utility will run and will notify you on completion

Step 3 – Set a personal Box account password:

  • Check your personal email account from step 1 for a message from <> – this email will contain a link to reset your personal account password
  • If that email does not appear, go to to request a password reset link
  • Click the password reset link in the email
  • Set a new personal Box account password – you will then be logged in to your personal Box account

Step 4 – Going forward you will sign into with your non-WUSTL email address and set password

Upload Embed Widgets

In some cases, it is helpful to setup a simple way for people to upload files to a specific folder without having to worry about logging in or signing up for a Box account.  In these instances, it is recommended that you create an “Upload Embed Widget” using the steps below:

  1. Login to your WUSTL Box account
  2. Next to the folder you want people to upload to, click on the More Options button and then select File Request
  3. In the window that pops up, toggle Enable link
  4. Adjust settings as needed and preview if you’d like
  5. Copy the URL and then email it to the individuals that you want to have upload to the folder

Some customers may wish to access their WUSTL Box storage directly via encrypted FTP (FTPS) connections.  While these types of connections are generally slower than using the Box web interface, they can be a good option if you have a large amount of data to upload or you need to access Box from a Linux machine with no web browser.

Before accessing your WUSTL Box account via FTPS, you need to create an external Box password by taking the following steps:

  1. Login to the WUSTL Box web interface using your WUSTL Key
  2. Click on your name on the top right and select “Account Settings”
  3. Scroll down to the “Authentication” section and click “Create password”
  4. On the create password dialog, enter your desired password into the New password field and Confirm password fields, then click Save
  5. Note: You will use this external password to connect Box in some applications such as FTP clients. You will still use your WUSTL Key to log into Box in a browser.

To connect via FTPS:

  1. Open your FTP software of choice (note, if using FileZilla, see below)
  2. When prompted for what server to connect to, enter:
  3. When prompted for what port to use, enter: 990
  4. Enter your email address as your username
  5. Enter your Box “External password” (created above) as your password

To connect via FTPS using FileZilla:

  1. Install FileZilla
  2. In the FileZilla application, click the File menu and select Site Manager
  3. Click New Site, and then give the site a name such as “WUSTL Box”
  4. Under the General tab for your new site, enter the following:
    1. Host:
    2. Port: Leave blank
    3. Protocol: FTP – File Transer Protocol
    4. Encryption: Require implicit FTP over TLS
    5. Logon Type: Normal
    6. User: Enter your email address
    7. Password: Enter your Box “External password” (created above) as your password
  5. Click Connect
  6. The first time you connect, you will see an Unknown certificate warning – this is expected
  7. On the Unknown certificate warning, click Always trust certificate for future sessions and then click OK

Tips to enhance bulk uploads speeds when using FileZilla:

  1. Click the Edit menu and then select Settings
  2. Under the left-side settings menu, click Transfers
  3. Change the Maximum simultaneous transfers from the default of 2 to the maximum of 10
  4. Click OK