How do I preview files on Box?



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    What is Preview?

    With Preview, you can view your files from the Box app without downloading them. Preview currently supports most file types, so you can easily access your content from any browser.


    How do I use Preview?

    • Preview allows you simply click on a file in your account and view it directly within the Box interface.
    • Preview is also available for users accessing file through shared links. When an individual follows a shared link to a file, they will be able to view the file on Box without downloading it.

    1. Filename and parent folder: See the name of the file you are previewing as well as the name of that file's parent folder. You can click on the name of the parent folder to navigate back to it. 
    2. Primary file actions: From the header, you have the following actions available to you (note that some actions may be limited based on user permission level):  
        • Edit: Open the file with Box Edit in its native application, on your desktop.
        • Share: Click the icon to share or view the link for this file.
        • Download: Download the file to your computer. 
        • More: Click this icon for a list of other actions you can take on the file, including:
            • Lock/unlock file: Let others know you are working on a file by selecting Lock file. When you're finished, just select Unlock file
            • Favorite: Mark a file as a Favorite to add it to your Favorites list on your All Files page for easy access. 
            • Upload New Version: Select a new version of the file to overwrite the current version (previous versions are always accessible in version history).
            • Send feedback: Let us know what you think. 
        • Open/close preview sidebar: Click the double-arrow icon to close or open the sidebar.
    1. Sidebar: View version history, comments, and tasks associated with the file in the Activity tab, or view the file description and metadata in the Info tab.
    2. Comment/Task box: Leave a comment or assign a task by choosing one or the other in the dropdown menu to the right of the text field. Then enter your comment or assign your task and click Post (for comments) and Assign (for tasks). 
    3. Version history: Click on any version number (e.g., version 1) to view version history for the file. 
    4. File navigation (on hover): Use the left and right arrows to move between files within a folder. 
    5. Preview Controls (on hover): Zoom out, zoom in, expand your file to full screen mode, move between pages in a document, or print (for file types that support printing) from this toolbar. Any other file types will need to be downloaded and printed from your device.


    What if my file isn't displayed properly? 

    The purpose of Preview is to make it possible to view and share a wide variety of file types without having to spend time downloading the files or own the software that created them. The content previewer will display most documents without issue, but we can not guarantee perfect accuracy. Please download the file into the native application to improve rendering. The native application that the file was created in may more accurately display and print the file's contents. 



    What file types are supported?

    Check our complete list of supported file types. If you find a supported file type that is not displaying properly, please contact us and include any error you received, the link to the file in question on Box, and a screen shot of how it is displayed in its native application so we can attempt to address the difference.


    Is there a file size limit for Preview?

    Files up to 500MB in size can be previewed. For video (which is only available to Enterprise customers), the streaming limit is 3.5 hours. 


    What browsers support the new Preview?

    The new Preview is supported by all the browsers officially supported by Box.


    What are the support keyboard shortcuts when previewing files?

    See Box Keyboard Shortcuts.


    Do you downsample videos in Box Preview?

    Yes. Most video formats are downsampled to 640x480 pixels.

    However, .flv files are not downsampled. To preview videos at full HD quality, convert to .flv format.



    Known Limitations:

    • Excel preview does not follow time information in the original file. When previewing Excel documents in Box, the time-related functions (for example, TODAY() or TIME()) does not display accurately. This is because Excel date/time functions are dynamic while the previewed document is static. Box preview obtains and displays the date when the file was previewed. A static version of the time/date is displayed in the previewed document, based on the time when the preview was generated.
    • Hyperlinks are not currently clickable in PowerPoint files in Box preview on the Web application,, or mobile applications. 
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