Friday, March 26th, 2010

Controlled Collaboration with “Check in / Check Out” Feature

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We want to make collaboration on Box.net as easy as possible, while also providing the document control capabilities essential to your work flow. Our recently launched “Check in / Check out” feature will make it easy to edit documents in collaborative folders without overlap or confusion – here’s how:

Say you need to edit a document in a shared folder, and to avoid a mix-up, you want to prevent fellow collaborators from doing the same. With our new “Check in / Check out” option, just select “Lock File > Download & Lock” from the file action menu, with the option to select a lock expiration time. By default, fellow collaborators will still have the ability to download the file while locked, but you can elect to prevent downloads. From there, select “Continue” and your file will download as usual.

When you’re ready to upload an edited version back to Box, just follow the usual process of selecting “Upload New Version” from the file action menu, and you’ll be prompted to unlock (“Check-in”) the file. And you’re done! Alternately, you can select “Unlock File” from the action menu, and then “Upload Edited File (Unlock).” And if you want to unlock the file without uploading a new version, just choose “Mark as Unlocked” at any point in the process.

And just in case the editor of a locked file gets sidetracked – or decides to go on vacation – we’ve added a few features to ensure that your productivity won’t suffer. When a file is locked, fellow collaborators will see a lock icon to the left of the file, and can send a direct request to the current editor to unlock the file. Additionally, the folder owner or co-owner can override the lock at any time.

We’re making “Check in / Check out” available for all Individual, Business and Enterprise plans, as well as Lite users collaborating in a folder owned by someone with a paid account. Take it for a spin and let us know what you think!

Post by Ashley Mayer, Community Manager

  • http://gekjr.com George E. Kennedy, Jr.

    Does my client need to have a box.net account to collaborate.

    • http://www.box.net Sean

      Hi George – great question! Your client can do basic things – like view and download files and folders that you’ve shared – without having a Box account. However, if they create a “Lite” account (free), they’ll benefit from the collaboration tools associated with your plan (whether it’s Individual, Business or Enterprise) when you invite them to collaborate in a folder.

  • http://thoughts.com Charles

    Can you provide more details about how the “check in / check out” lock feature works?

    Suppose I have an Individual account, and three of my colleagues have free “lite” accounts.

    Will they be able to lock and download a file from my shared folder? Will each of us know who locked it, and when it was locked? Do we get notifications when the modified file is unlocked? Can we tell who modified a previous version of the file?

    • ashley

      Hi Charles – great questions! Rest assured that as the owner of the folder, you’ll always be able to see who has locked a file and override that lock at anytime (or send them a request to unlock the file). You can choose to receive email alerts when collaborators upload a new version of any file via “Settings,” and the latest person to modify a file is listed under the file name. If you’re using Box for business purposes, you might want to consider trying out our business edition – you’ll have greater control over folder and file permissions, as well as better visibility into how your colleagues are interacting with content :)

  • Ashleyhoward

    Hi. If I ‘lock’ a file, does this mean that collaborators cannot delete it. What I want is the ability to share files/folders with colleagues without them having the ability to delete them from my central ‘Box’ by accident or with malicious intent. Many thanks. As.