Shared Links Overview and FAQs

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Box allows for quick and easy sharing and restricting access to content via shared links. With customizable permission levels and a URL that’s easy to copy and paste, shared links can be used to send important content to coworkers and friends – both inside and outside your company.

What are shared links?

Shared links, one of the most popular features on Box, allows users to quickly copy and share hyperlinks to content stored on Box with your coworkers and friends – both inside and outside the company. Customizable permission levels, expiration dates and optional password-protection make Box shared links a secure, simple way to share important content.

Where can I find them?

  • The shared link settings can be accessed in the Share expansion menu for any file or folder:

  • It can also be accessed in the right panel of any file or folder page, beneath the collaborator list:

What are my options when I create a shared links and what do they mean?

  • When creating a shared link, you will see these options:
    • People with the link: People with the link can access and no Box account is required. For extra security, you can also set a password or expiration for the link, as well as restrict download and/or preview access for link viewers.
    • People in your companyUsers with a Box account and a validated email address matching your domain (or your account admin’s domain for Business and Enterprise users) will be able to access content via the shared link. You can set an expiration date and restrict download and/or preview access for link viewers.
      • When accessing the link, users will be asked to log in to Box to verify their identity. This option will be disabled if you are not using a legitimate, validated business domain to access Box, but can be enabled if you change your log in email address.
      • Collaborators in the folder can also access content if @Company is selected 
    • People in this folder: Only users who have been invited to the folder can access the content in the folder. Note: Collaborators already have access to their content, but can easily direct one another to a specific file or folder using the shared link.
    • Remove: This option removes and deletes the shared link assigned to that file or folder so it can no longer be accessed, even if someone has the old link
  • The link options can be set on individual files and/or folders by the owner, across all content a user owns or by the admin for the entire company

Is it available for all types of Box accounts?

  • This feature is available on all accounts
  • If you use a non-business email domain to access Box, you will need to change your login email if you want to leverage the company-only restriction  
  • If you are a Business or Enterprise user, you may find that your admin has restricted some or all of these options

Can I turn off shared links or certain access levels across my entire account? How do I adjust my settings?

  • You have the ability to set shared link preferences for all content you own. If an option is disabled by you, it will not be visible to you or any of your collaborators.
  • We recommend you only change your shared link settings if you want to restrict sharing access for every file and/or folder in your account. If only some of your data requires restrictions, you can restrict shared link access at the folder or item level.
  • To access shared link settings, navigate to the Content & Sharing section of your account settings:


  • From the Content & Sharing settings page, you can control what access options are available for your content, what the default access for newly created shared links will be and what permissions link viewers (who are not invited collaborators) will have for the content they access:

    By default, it is possible for every file and folder in Box to have a shared link, but the link must first be enabled by a folder owner, co-owner or editor

What do the different options on my Content & Sharing settings page mean?

  • In the menu, you can determine what types of content should be accessible to non-collaborators (Note that collaborators have to be explicitly invited into the folder, and already have access to the content whether or not a shared link has been enabled)
  • The options include:
    • Folders and Files: (default) All content in your account will follow the shared link settings that follow this option
    • Folders only: Folders in your account will follow the shared link settings that follow. Shared links for files can be enabled, but will only be accessible by invited collaborators in the folder.
    • Files only: Files in your account will follow the shared link settings that follow. Shared links for folders can be enabled, but will only be accessible by invited collaborators in the folder.
    • Nothing, restrict sharing: Enabled shared links for files and folders in your account will only be accessible by invited collaborators in the folder.

    • For each of the subsections, you can choose:
      • With access options: Here you can set what access options are available for the content types selected above. By default, Open is selected, meaning that users with appropriate permissions can choose, per item, what access permission to grant their content.
      • People with the link: People with the link can access. No log in required. Note: Users can still set a password or expiration date for these links.
      • People in your company: Users with a Box account and a validated email address matching your domain (or your account admin’s domain for business and enterprise users) will be able to access content via the shared link. When accessing the link, users will be asked to log in to Box to verify their identity. This option will be disabled if you are not using a legitimate, validated business domain to access Box.
        • Collaborators can also access content if @Company is selected
      • People in this folder: Only users who have been invited to the folder can access the content in the folder. Note: Collaborators already have access to their content, but can easily direct one another to a specific file or folder using the shared link.
      • Default new links to: Choose what the default for newly enabled links will be. By default, this will be the highest access option available.

Let link viewers: 

These settings apply to any viewers of the files who are not folder collaborators. If ‘preview’ and ‘download’ are allowed, folder owners will be able to override these settings for individual files or folders, and restrict access on particularly sensitive items. It is recommended that both ‘preview’ and ‘download’ be enabled for your users to collaborate effectively.

What happens if I disable a shared link?

  • For security purposes, disabled shared links are deleted and cannot be added back to a file or folder. If the shared link is later re-enabled, a new unique URL is generated to ensure the content is only available to those with access to the new link.
  • The behavior is the same on custom links – once it is disabled that link is deleted and is no longer assigned to that file or folder
    • Note that this frees the link back up to be used by someone else on that account, so there will potentially be another file/folder with the same custom link in the future

What happens if a file is deleted while it has an active shared link, but is later restored? Will it restore the file with the original link or create a new one?

If you delete an item with a shared link and then restore it from trash, the original link is maintained

 

What happens if a user that shouldn't have access to a file or folder tries to use the shared link?

If you set a shared link to ‘Company’ or ‘Collaborators Only’ and a user that is not one of these access types accesses the link, they will be prompted with this error message:

 

What if I only need to restrict certain content? Do I have to restrict shared links for my entire account?

You can always restrict shared link access to contents of a specific folder, allowing for the protection of particularly sensitive data while freeing up collaboration options in the rest of your account

How do I do this?

  • If you want to restrict a folder that you own, go to the folder options menu, select Properties and then Security.
  • Check the box next to Restrict shared links to collaborators only and choose what item types you’d like to restrict access for – both files and folders, files only or folders only.
  • After you press the Okay button, the selected items will only be sharable with other collaborators in the folder.

 

Can I set a shared link to expire after a certain date?

In order to change shared link permissions, you will need Editor+ access to the content.

  • Select Share next to the name of a folder/file to generate a shared link for that item
  • Next to the shared link will be a setting allowing a group of Users to access the link, set it to "People with the link"
  • Click on the Gear Icon next to the access level to open up Shared Link Settings
  • Click on the "Set Link Expiration" to be able to choose a date when the link will expire

 

Other References

  • Other ways to share links:



 

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