Using Box

Last updated on February 19, 2014

Box is a cloud service that provides 5GB of free storage to consumers. Additional storage can also be purchased. You can store virtually any type of file in Box using the Box website, the Box apps for iOS or Android, and the Box desktop folder for Mac/PC. A number of mobile and desktop apps integrate with Box, including iAnnotate PDF.

iAnnotate supports integration with Box for importing documents and backing up your work. A connection between iAnnotate and your Box account allows you to browse your entire Box folder structure from the iAnnotate Library, select and download documents and folders, and upload documents back to Box after you have marked them up. However, it does not allow you to actually modify or reorganize how your Box is set up, with the exception of moving or copying documents from iAnnotate to Box.​

Connecting to Box

Navigate to the iAnnotate Library (by tapping the Library button in the upper left) and tap Connections in the Library navigation panel. Tap "Add Box" and enter a description (it defaults to "Box"). Enter your Box username, typically your email address, then tap "Set Up Connection." Choose "Read Only" if you want to use the connection to import files, but wish to disable syncing annotated files back to your Box account. With this option turned on, your annotations will only be saved to your iPad and not backed up to Box.

Now find the new Box connection icon in your Library; it will appear light gray meaning you have not downloaded anything from it yet. Tap the icon to continue the setup process. Your username will already be entered (if you've made a mistake and mistyped this you will need to delete this connection and make a new one since you cannot edit the username in the authorization window). Enter your password when prompted then tap "Sign In." You will then be asked to allow iAnnotate access to your Box contents. Tap "Allow."

Downloading and Managing Files

The connection between Box and iAnnotate lets you import documents in PDF, DOC, GIF, JPEG, PNG, or PPT format. To download a document, simply tap on it, or tap and hold then select Download from the popup menu.

Upon modifying a document from within the Box connection, the sync icon in the upper-right of your screen will turn red to indicate there are un-synced changes. Tap the sync icon to upload the changes back to Box immediately; changes are uploaded automatically when you close the document tab.

Deleting any document from iAnnotate does not also delete it from your remote Box account. The document would still exist in Box, in its most recently modified and synced version.

You can move local documents into your Box account from iAnnotate. To do so, tap and hold a document in the iAnnotate PDF Library, then tap Move and select Box from the list of target folder options. Alternatively, you can select multiple documents using the selection circles next to them, then tap "Move" in the Actions accordion at the left of the Library. However, you can not move whole folders into Box from within iAnnotate.

You can also copy a document from your Box account into local storage on your iPad. To do so, tap and hold a document in your Box folder within the iAnnotate PDF Library, then tap "Copy" and select Local Files from the list of target folder options. This creates a copy of your document that isn’t synced to your Box. 

Viewing Markups Sent to Box

When iAnnotate syncs with Box, it sends the marked-up documents as annotated (non-flattened) copies, meaning that their markups are not compressed into the document but rather occupy a “layer” on top of it. As such, they are best viewed in compatible Mac/PC programs like Preview or Adobe Acrobat/Reader. Editable annotations will not be viewable in most mobile (iPhone/iPad/Android) apps, web browsers, or on the Box website.

For broader compatibility, use the "Flatten PDF" button in the Library to create a copy with the annotations compressed into the document. 

Known Issues with Box

In some cases, Box may give cryptic notifications about failures to sync. These messages may stem from a variety of causes. One possible workaround is to set up your Box account as a WebDAV connection using your Box account email address and password in the username and password fields, respectively, and enter as the base URL. This WebDAV connection displays all of the folders and documents from your Box account.

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