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Way down at the bottom of the early February post Word Q & A: Tables and Charts Francis made an interesting comment to which I replied asking for more info, but I fear nobody saw either of them as they were way down on the comment list of a month old post. That being said, I've pasted Francis's comment below as well as my reply below and would love to hear everyone's thoughts.
Jason's comment about services is interesting. However, an application can lend itself to online activities without having to plug into any particular online service. E.G., consider how Word stores documents: as indivisible, single-author files. It's very hard to use them collaboratively. Wikis let numerous, geographically dispersed individuals work simultaneously on a single body of work; the same thing is nearly impossible to do with a Word document.
Case-in-point: I often work on projects where numerous persons are charged with authoring discrete sections of a final report. Word makes such groupwork very hard. The only options we have are:
a) tasking one person with hunting down and compiling the final report from scores of separate documents (enormous manpower costs, impossible to see intermediate stages of final product, revision after compilation difficult)
b) e-mailing around a master document that everybody edits (bad, unreliable, leads to people messing up layout and forking document; necessitates lots of work tracking/merging document versions and approving changes)
c) hosting the master document remotely, e.g. on a shared drive or CMS (less need to track document but otherwise same problem as above, only with file locking and access problems)
d) patching inconsistent subdocs or stitching files with fields together (very unreliable, hard to work with, and not portable)
In response to Francis's excellent comment, I'm curious what everyone would like to see enhanced in Word in terms of collaborative document authoring. Francis suggests the ability to "…break down (and recombine/build back up) our documents simply and reliably into (from) chunks/blocks/sections/subdocuments that individual authors could work on…" I'd love to hear more details and what others think.
What type of collaborative authoring are you involved in today? What are the pain points? How would you like to see Word address them? How wouldn't you like to see Word address them?
When I was at the VS2005 launch and was listening to the description of how partial classes work, allowing multiple devs to work on the code for a class at one time, I thought to myself then: if we can do this with text file of code, we should be able to do this with documents in Word. I was hoping between the XML based format in O2007 and MOSS this could get enabled, but we are still stuck with "document" as the atomic unit for editing. The whole master-sub document thing in Word has been broken/evil for so long, I kind of forgot it exists. Not even sure if it's still in the 2007 version?
Good Information Given. It was really Helpfull. Thanks
I had this problem not so long ago. Was working on a document for a friend and we both wanted to edit it together. In the end I remote connected to his machine and we both edited the document together. Limited as that was it was a way around it. -Dorj (limited in the sence that we could only work on the same area and only one could type at any one time)
I have been waiting for collaborative authoring in Word for YEARS now. What I'd like would be like what I've heard is in OneNote: multiple people connect to a document and all have their own cursor and can make edits in real time. That would be awesome.
Hey folks, If you have been impressed with OneNote then you need to have a look at Groove server plus the Groove Client. That collabration on steroids if I was to use the analogy. I am sure you folks will love it..
I use Buzzword by Adobe - http://www.buzzword.com/ I don't see why Microsoft could not enable Word to work as this online service (which is free by the way). You can assign tasks to different group members, which provide different levels of editing capabilities.
Thanks for creating such an open discussion on the topic of Collaborative Authoring. Collaboration in Word documents comes up often in my work as a collaboration consultant for a Micrsoft Partner.
I would like to see features in Word that support Wiki's in a similar fashion to the support for Blogs.
I wondered if you could give me any details on the issue SDL mentions at the bottom of this page: www.sdl.com/.../default.asp
They claim that it is Microsoft's fault that their product (Trados 2007) is slow in Word 2007. Can you tell me if you know whether there has been any progress in fixing this issue (if it even is your problem, that is)?
What I would like to see is a way of marking up parts of a word document and assign people and permissions to each part. If a part wasn't given specific permissions then it would either default to being available to all to edit or default to no-one being able to edit it. An author would have all permissions on the "parts" they authored. This would allow multiple people to work on one document with the author of each part deciding who and what other people could do to their part. Each part could be shown in a side window allowing a person to construct the same document in different ways by placing each part wherever and in whatever order they wanted.
Hi Jason – Great suggestion. The ability to break a document into “parts” each with their own editing permissions is definitely an important scenario. While it is not the most glorious, there is some functionality in Word that takes steps towards enabling this scenario. Check-out: office.microsoft.com/.../HP100823011033.aspx. Have you tried protecting sections of your document so that only certain people can edit in certain places? I know this doesn’t enable the scenario you describe completely, but I’d love to know how far this feature gets you. -Jonathan (MS)
I liked this post and learnt some usefull stuff. Thanks www.iyogi.net/microsoftoperatingsystem.html
Members of my team want the ability to collaborate in parallel on a document. As part of the proposal review process, several members of the team must conduct a thorough review of the whole document for consistency. We run MOSS 2007, but that application doesn't support this requirement. Many of the team talk about Privia as the 'killer' app for this scenario.