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SharePoint and Office 365 are both Microsoft platforms with a seemingly unlimited number of features. Since SharePoint 2010, the ability to have multiple editors on one document at the same time has been a function that you may have not realised you can access. So, what are the benefits of this feature, and how is it such a potential game changer for you?

You don’t need to do anything

Being able to edit documents at the same time as someone else is already enabled in SharePoint. You don’t have to contact anyone to ‘switch it on’. As with many SharePoint functionality, it’s in there waiting for you to use it! As long as you’ve uploaded your document into SharePoint, shared it with whom you want and given them permission to edit, you’re good to go.

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Not just Word

It’s not just Word that can be co-edited. The functionality applies to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. So, if you’re checking over your financial documents in Excel, your colleague can be doing so too at the same time. Once again, as long as you’ve uploaded the document into SharePoint and shared it with those who need access, the same settings and methods apply for all of these applications.

There’s no confusion over who’s doing what

When two or more people are editing a document at any one time, you can see who else is editing it and where in the document they’re changing or looking at things. This can help you see where they plan to make any changes, if at all. They can see what you’re doing too. Word will let you know when someone enters and leaves the document you’re both editing. Note: The other person must have the same version as you – i.e. Word 2016 to see the coloured changes as pictured below. If they’re using another version you won’t see their selections, but their edits will show up as they’re working.

 coloured edits

How can I tell who’s editing my work?

If you have the document open at the same time as somebody else, you can find out more in an icon in the top right hand corner once you’ve opened the document in SharePoint. If they’re also using Word 2016 and have agreed to automatically share changes, you’ll see their work as it happens. You can also instantly chat with the people who are working in the document by using Skype for Business. It opens a chat window for instant conversation. Choose the Skype for Business button to start a group chat with everyone working in the document.

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How easily do changes get tracked saved?

When editing a document, changes get saved automatically and you can see the activity that’s happened on the document so far (as well as who made the changes and when). If you’ve never used real-time co-authoring before, you’ll be asked whether you want to automatically share your changes as they happen. Select ‘Yes’ to always allow automatic sharing when you’re working with others.

activity sharepoint

Being able to edit documents at the same time as someone else is useful for several reasons. Firstly, you can totally eliminate ‘email tennis’. There’s no more backwards and forwards when it comes to editing a document. Secondly, your productivity is increased and risk is reduced. Microsoft’s collaborative approach to having multiple editors on documents creates a highly productive and useful workflow process.

If you need any further advice on this feature or on SharePoint/Office 365 at all, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help!

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