Search indexing

Search indexing

Box keeps a search index for any files or folders stored in Box. Every time a file or folder is changed, those words are added to the index. When a search is performed, the API looks in the search index for files and folders that match the query. When content is added, updated, or deleted in Box, the search index is updated accordingly.

Search Availability

It can take time between uploading or modifying a file for it to be fully indexed and ready to be searched. In most cases, newly added or changed files can be expected to be available via Box search in 10 minutes. The current service load determines the index time and it may take more than 10 minutes in some cases.

In some cases an index might not be updated even after 10 minutes. In those cases we recommend reaching out to Box Support to get the issue resolved.

Search Access

Only content that the authenticated user has access to (items they can preview and/or view) will be returned in the search results.

In other words, a user needs to either own an item or be a collaborated in on an item for it to show up in the search results. If a user doesn't have access to an item, or if they have been shared the item via a shared link, then the item will also not appear in the search results.

One exception is that items that have been recently accessed via a shared link can be requested in the search results by setting the include_recent_shared_links query parameter to true.

Trailing wildcards (also known as prefix matching) are implicitly included in search results because of the way text is indexed. Searching for Bo results in items with titles containing Box or Boat or Boxer. It is the equivalent of searching for Bo* or Bo% in traditional search engines. Traditional wildcard notation is not supported by Box, such as %ox%. While we support prefix matching on titles, we do not support prefix matching on body content, suffix matching in the title or body content, or infix (middle of the word) matching in the title or body content. For example, a search on cal would match results for a file named California but not decal or recall. It would not match results with file body contents of prefixes, infixes, or suffixes including California, recall, or decal.


Box Search uses stemming to match terms from the query to terms in the index. Because of this, words that include the same stem may be included in the result set, even if the words do not contain the exact form in the query. For example, run and running map to the same stem, so a search on running may return a document containing run in the title.

File Content Searching

The content within files is also stored within the Box search index. The following file types allow searching for their content:


Indexed Text per Document

The Box search index stores up to 10,000 bytes (~10,000 characters in English) per document for accounts from Business level and above. This amount can vary from document to document because of language, Box’s indexing method, and document type.

If your enterprise has full text search turned off (e.g. Keysafe customers), characters within a document cannot be searched. If you need to find out if full text search is turned off, reach out to your account team.

OCR Support

Box does not currently perform OCR on its documents.

Document Versions

Search only indexes content from the current version of a document, so that you do not have to sift through hundreds of irrelevant search results of outdated documents. You cannot use search to query non-current versions of a document.

Language Support

Box search supports the following languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. Box does not support indexing of multiple languages within a single document.


Searching the trash is available via the API by using the trash_content query parameter.

Check our community article with the latest details on Search in Box