UW Madison Box - Types of Shared Links

This document describes the difference between a standard Box shared link and a direct link to a Box file.

Box shared links are an easy, effective way to share files with a large number of people, and they are especially useful when you want to share a file with someone who doesn't have a Box account. There are two types of shared links available to use, depending on how you would like the file to be accessed.

Type 1: Standard Shared Link

For a single file, a standard Box shared link will load the file in a web browser in preview mode, provided the file type is supported for Box Content Preview. The one who possesses the link will also be able to download the file to their computer, unless you have disabled this option.

Shared links can also be generated for a folder, in which case, the one who possesses the link will have access to the folder contents and open them individually in preview mode.

Example of a standard shared link: https://uwmadison.box.com/s/dvdyvaek8v2rig3kgdib1nkicsj9qos4

To generate a standard shared link:

  1. Navigate to the file or folder you wish to share. Hover over the item and click the Share button (arrow icon).

    • List View: List view of a Box file

    • Tile View:
      Tile view of Box file

  2. Set the access type as desired by adjusting the options shown by the drop-down menus labeled Invited People Only. This will help determine who can access the file and what kind of access they have. Once you've adjusted these options, copy the link and distribute or post it as needed.

    Box Permission dialog box

Type 2: Direct Link

In some cases, you may wish to send a link that initiates a download of the file, rather than opening a preview. Alternately, you may want to use the link to embed the file somewhere, for example, displaying a Box-hosted image on a web-page. To accomplish this, you will want to use a direct link.

In contrast to a standard shared link, direct links can only be generated for individual files, and not folders.


  • Direct Links are only available when the Link Access Type is set to either "People with the link" or "People in your company".
  • Direct Links cannot be created for executable files (.exe).

Example of a direct link: https://uwmadison.box.com/shared/static/fv2cx8kkcd2arhgqr9g9phk0rnmj2deq.pdf

To generate a direct link:

  1. Navigate to the file or folder you wish to share. Click the Share button (arrow icon).

    • List View: List view of Box file

    • Tile View:
      Tile view of Box file

  2. Please remember that the default Shared Link permission is "Invited People Only" which will need to be updated before you can enable the Direct Link download option. In the "Share" window, verify the access type is either "People with the link" or "People in your company". Then click on Link Settings.

    Share permissions window with permission options highlighted

  3. Make sure the option to "Allow users with the shared link to download this item" is checked. Then, copy the link in the "Direct Link" field for distribution.

    Shared link setting dialog box

    Note: If you enabled the "Allow Download" option while on the page, make sure you click Save before leaving the page; if you do not, your Direct Link will not work for other users.

Keywordsbox.com box.net dropbox uwmadison accounts sharing collaboration preview mode force direct downloading files direct links executable files exe   Doc ID45562
OwnerAdmin B.GroupBox
Created2014-12-10 17:40:39Updated2024-04-19 14:27:35
SitesBox, DoIT Help Desk
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