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pybox is a Python API/client that manipulates files on (a.k.a It can display user's account information, file structure, and file information, manage(move/rename/delete/upload/download) files and directories, and most importantly, it can recursively compare and synchronize directories between client and server.


Please take the following steps:

  1. Obtain client_id and client_secret from here.

  2. Copy boxrc.example to user's home directory, rename it to .boxrc in a POSIX system (e.g. Unix, Linux, Mac OS X) or _boxrc in a non-POSIX system(e.g. Windows).

  3. Edit .boxrc/_boxrc: fill out client_id and client_secret with the values you've just got in step 1. Make sure redirect_uri is accessible.

  4. Copy box-logging.conf.example to box-logging.conf.

  5. Edit(optionally) box-logging.conf, e.g. change 'BOX.LOG' to different name or path. If you'd like to put this log configuration file to a different directory, don't forget to add an environment variable named LOG_CONF_DIR.

  6. Open a command terminal, change directory to the pybox directory, then run:

    python pybox/ -L YOUR_LOGIN_EMAIL

    Replace the above email with your actual login email on, and type your password when prompted. If login/password combination is correct, you will get a success message. At this time, your .boxrc/_boxrc should be updated with valid tokens(i.e. access token and refresh token).

  7. If you have multiple box accounts, just repeat step 6.

If everything goes smoothly, you are now free to manipulate your files on the box account(s) without typing password any more. (Well, the true story is: access token will expire in 1 hour, and refresh token will expire in 60 days. When the former token expires, the program will automatically use the latter one to get a new access token and refresh token. That means you don't have to type password as long as the program runs at least once in every 2 months)

Generally the command is:

python pybox/ -U YOUR_LOGIN [options] [args]

Please be noticed that this time YOUR_LOGIN is the string you set in step 7.

All supported options are listed as follows:

  • -L, --login login to create/update auth tokens

  • -U, --user specify user account

  • -a, --auth-token print auth token

  • -I, --account-info get box account information

  • -t, --target specify target type(f for file<default>, d for directory)

  • -l, --list list directory

  • --limit limit of list items(default and max: 1000)

  • --offset offset of list items(default: 0)

  • -w, --what-id get a path(server-side)'s id

  • -i, --info get file information

  • -M, --mkdir make a directory

  • -R, --remove remove a file or directory

  • --recursive recursive(in rmdir)

  • -m, --move move a file or directory

  • -r, --rename rename a file or directory

  • -c, --chdir change directory

  • -d, --download download file

  • -u, --upload upload file

  • -C, --compare compare local and remote directories

  • -p, --push sync(push) local(source) and remote directories(destination)

  • -P, --pull sync(pull) remote(source) and local directories(destination)

  • -n, --dry-run show what would have been transferred when sync

  • -x, --exclude exclude files whose names match the given regex

  • -D, --delete delete extraneous files from destination

  • --del-exclude also delete excluded files from destination

  • -v, --verbose show more details

  • -f, --from-file read arguments from file(arguments separated by line break)


Assume all the following operations are performed on Bob's account.

Note: only when a remote path is 0(root id) or consists exclusively of 5+ digits, will it be considered as a node id. Otherwise, it's interpreted as path starting from the remote root. If a remote path happens to be 0 or digits, be sure to prepend it with '/' to avoid confusion.

  • show account information:

      python pybox/ -Ubob -I
  • list all files under root

      python pybox/ -Ubob -l /
  • create a directory dir1 under root:

      python pybox/ -Ubob -M dir1
  • create a directory dir2 under dir1:

      python pybox/ -Ubob -c dir1 -M dir2
  • get directory dir1/dir2(starting from root)'s id:

      python pybox/ -Ubob -w dir1/dir2
  • upload file file1, file2 and directory dir3 to root directory:

      python pybox/ -Ubob -u file1 file2 dir3
  • upload file3 to a directory whose id is 1005691453

      python pybox/ -Ubob -c1005691453 -u file3
  • upload file4 to a directory whose path is 'path1/path2'

      python pybox/ -Ubob -c path1/path2 -u file4
  • upload directory dir(excluding all dot files) to root directory

      python pybox/ -Ubob -u dir -x '^\.'
  • remove a file whose id is 1005181453

      python pybox/ -Ubob -R 1005181453
  • remove a directory whose path is path1/path2(starting from root)

      python pybox/ -Ubob -R -td path1/path2
  • rename file file1 to, file file2 to

      python pybox/ -Ubob -r file1 file2
  • rename directory dir1 to dir2

      python pybox/ -Ubob -r -td dir1 dir2
  • move a file with id 1025611460 to a directory with id 225236230

      python pybox/ -Ubob -m 1025611460 225236230
  • move directory dir1 to directory dir2, directory dir3/dir4 to directory dir5/dir6/dir7

      python pybox/ -Ubob -td -m dir1 dir2 dir3/dir4 dir5/dir6/dir7
  • download a directory dir1/dir2(verbosely)

      python pybox/ -Ubob -d dir1/dir2 -v
  • compare a local directory /Users/bob/dir1 with a remote directory dir2/dir3

      python pybox/ -Ubob -C /Users/bob/dir1 dir2/dir3
  • sync(push) a local directory /Users/bob/dir1(source) with a remote directory dir2/dir3(destination)

      python pybox/ -Ubob -p /Users/bob/dir1 dir2/dir3 -D
  • sync(pull) a remote directory dir2/dir3(source) with a local directory /Users/bob/dir1(destination)

      python pybox/ -Ubob -P dir2/dir3 /Users/bob/dir1


Box API documentation


Copyright 2014-2015 Hui Zheng

Released under the MIT License.


a Python API/client that manipulates files on (a.k.a







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