[Video] Co-Authoring a Document using Microsoft Office 365

This training video is part our Microsoft Office 365 Training Tutorials series. Click here to go to the training tutorial index page.


In this lesson you will learn:

  • What Co-Authoring a document is
  • How to Co-Author a document
  • How to use the Comments pane

Hi, I'm Ben and welcome to this Microsoft Office 365 Quick Start lesson on co-authoring documents. Co-authoring documents basically means that with Office 365, you now have the ability to edit a document such as a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet in real time with another person. Now there's really no specific steps that you need to take for this to happen, as it all just works out of the box, as long as both people have access to the document in question. You will recall that by default, all members of your organization have access to content stored within the Sharepoint team site, but if you want to co-author a document with an external person, you will first need to share access to that file, which we cover in a separate video.

Once both people have access to the file, you can simply start editing this file as you normally would and see each other's changes as they happen and as they are saved. There are however, a couple of points that I'd like to share with you regarding co-authoring. First of all, edits that you make will appear to another person only when those edits are saved. They will recall that working with the Microsoft online applications, they're the ones you use with a web browser, all of your changes are automatically saved as you go. This has the effect that your edits will appear in real time to the other person if they're also using the Office online applications.

When one or both of you are using the full version of the Microsoft Office applications installed on your computer to edit, just remember that you need to click the Save button periodically to save your changes. When you click the Save button, this is the point at which your co-author will then see the changes you have made, and likewise, you will see changes that they have made. It's a minor point, but it is worth noting.

The second thing I'd like to introduce you to when collaborating on a document is the Comments feature. This is a great way of documenting your comments and notes for each other within the document. To access the Comments pane in Word online, first of all, access the document in question, and then navigate up to the Review menu at the top here. Once in the Review menu, select Show Comments. This will pop out this extra pane on the right-hand side. At the moment, we can see there are no comments that have been saved. What I can do however is I can select a block of text. I'm selecting the title there, and I'm going to click on New Comment. Now I can leave my comment, "Hi Sharon, good title, love it.", and click on Post.

Now, what that's done is that it’s saved my comment in this list on the right-hand side. When Sharon comes to edit this document, whether it be at the same time as me or separately, she'll see that and she can click on that and when she selected it, you'll notice that it has highlighted the text that I had highlighted when I entered that comment so that she knows what it is I'm talking about. Sharon has other options on here, she can choose to reply to my comment. She can mark it as Done to say that she's seen it or actioned it or of course in this case, I can delete that comment if I realize that that's not something that I want to see anymore.

This can be a really useful feature when you are collaborating on a document with a co-author or indeed if you just want to leave yourself some notes there for the next time you come back to edit the document.

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When not looking at ways to use technology to create a competitive advantage for his clients and build better businesses, Ben is a husband, busy father of boys, avid gardener, and keen runner and cyclist.

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