Co-Authoring: The Coolest Feature You’ve Never Heard Of
When you hear co-authoring, you might think of two people writing a novel together. Maybe a ghost writer with actual skills propping up a sub-par celebrity.
When we talk about co-authoring in Office 365, what we mean is two or more people working on a Word document, Excel Spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation at the same time using the online version of the office app in Office 365. While they might be working on the next Great American Novel, more likely it’s going to be a budget, a report, or a marketing presentation.
But why should you care about co-authoring? What’s the big deal about two people working on something at the same time? Is it really the best feature you’ve never heard of?
To clarify, it’s not as if two people are working in their own little bubble on the document with no idea of what the other is doing. You don’t just independently do all of your work and then eventually see the other person’s changes and think, “well shoot if I knew Ellen was going to add that, I wouldn’t have wasted my time writing something so similar.”
Instead, you see changes happening in real time. In this screenshot below, you get a good idea of how changes appear as they happen. Once the document owner shares the document, you can all begin working on it together.
You’ll see different colored flags for each person who is in the document and see those changes appear as that person types. That’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. You can have multiple people in different locations all collaborating at the same time and riffing off what the other is doing. See? The coolest feature you’ve never heard of.
Now in order to co-author, the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote file must be stored on SharePoint or OneDrive. This makes sense if you think about it. It would be too hard to sync changes if it were a file stored on your hard drive, but when a file is on SharePoint or OneDrive, it’s stored in the cloud. (See last week’s blog post for more on OneDrive.) That means everyone has to be connected to the Internet to use real-time coauthoring. And only docx., pptx., xlsx., or .one formats are supported, so don’t try to co-author your crusty old 2003 .doc file. It won’t work. For older Office files, just do a quick File: Save As and convert them to a newer format, and you’re good to go.
Oh snap. Did your collaborator just mess something up big time in your document? No worries—you can use the fabulous feature called version history to revert back to a previous version. Just right-click on the file in OneDrive or SharePoint and choose Version history. Don’t you wish you had that in all aspects of your life? (I’ve always said I wish you could use my favorite shortcut Ctrl + Z, aka Undo, in real life.)
So the next time you need to work with others on a file, and you have an Office 365 subscription, fire up your browser and give co-authoring a go. And maybe after you all finish those final pesky edits on the Quarterly Update slide deck, you can try your collective hand at the next Great Gatsby. Happy editing!
To learn even more about co-authoring and see it in action, click here:
You can find thousands more short-segment videos like this one at www.intellezy.com. Start your free trial today.
By Heather Walsh