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Nearly 50 million people worldwide are using the Office Web Apps on SkyDrive and Hotmail. As we've mentioned on this blog before, we’re always listening to your suggestions about how to improve the Office Web Apps experience. Today, we’re thrilled to announce another new feature based on your requests: You can now co-author in the Word Web App on SkyDrive.
Building on the collaboration features already available in Word 2010 and Word for Mac 2011, co-authoring in the Word Web App on SkyDrive helps you collaborate with others on polished content without having to leave your web browser. Just sign into SkyDrive and you’re ready to get started!
Our approach to co-authoring in the Word Web App on SkyDrive reflects our team’s deep understanding of how our customers prefer to collaborate and get things done, based on what you’ve told us and how we’ve observed the use of Office. To help us design co-authoring, we read a lot of your comments, and watched, asked, and listened to how customers said they wanted to work together when working on Office documents. We discovered that expectations change based on the type of document and style of collaboration in play.
Sometimes, people prefer an ad-hoc, brainstorming style of collaboration and want to see others' edits as they type. OneNote is great for this, and that's exactly how collaboration in OneNote has worked, ever since we first shipped it back in 2003. You can collaborate this way in the OneNote Web App, too.
We also learned that most people don’t want others to see their thoughts and edits in a polished document until they’re ready. At the same time, other contributors to the document want to review and digest changes being made before they react and respond instead of seeing others typing in the document where they're working.
We designed co-authoring in the Word Web App on SkyDrive accordingly: When you’re co-authoring, you always have a real time view into who is making changes and where these changes are occurring. As soon as you begin typing, the corresponding section of the document is locked and others are notified, placing you in control and freeing others from distraction. Contributors can hit “save” at any time to see an updated view of all changes.
We are super-excited about this new functionality. Like proud parents, we’ve put together a few pictures (and some more detailed information) to share:
You don’t need to do anything special – just open your document in the Word Web App, and we’ll tell you if there’s anyone working with you. And, as you’re working, if anyone comes or goes, we’ll let you know about that too.
If you miss the message (or you’re just curious), you can check out the View tab to see who’s still there at any time:
Beyond that, everything else works like it does when you edit a document by yourself in the Word Web App—you type where you want to type and you save when you want to share your changes.
Whenever you start typing in a specific paragraph, we reserve it for you, so that nobody else can edit there until you’re done. When that happens, the paragraph has a dotted line around its left edge, and everyone else in the document sees a lock with your name on it, so they know you’re busy working:
what you see... (notice the line)
what they see… (and they hovered on the icon, so they can see who “someone” is)
That lock is released whenever you save, and all of your changes are shared with everyone else that’s working on the document. That last part’s important – your changes are revealed and others’ changes appear in the document only when you click Save.
If one of the other authors saves, we let you know in two (hopefully non-distracting) ways:
When you're ready to save, their changes will appear in the document, yours will be pushed out for everyone else to download, and we'll highlight the new parts in green:
Really – that’s it. One last (big) thing: all of this works today across the Word Web App on SkyDrive, Word 2010, and Word for Mac 2011, so you can work together and be more productive across the browser, the PC, or the Mac.
Even while we were developing this new feature, as a team we continued to read feedback (yep, we read it all) and every time we see this request we think “yes, any day now, I promise.” Thankfully, today’s the day we get to share it. And we hope you’ll keep the feedback coming!
Tristan Davis and Jenni French
Office Web Apps Team
P.S. We hope you'll like this new feature as much as we do—we even used it to write this blog entry! Our friends on the Windows Live SkyDrive team have also been using this new functionality to manage their team blog. Check out what they have to say on the Inside Windows Live blog.
nem sikerült mert letörölték a rajtalévőt!!!!!!!!
Add pdf file support. I can't view pdf files on Office web Apps. Microsoft Fuse labs Docs.com supports pdf file viewing, why not on Skydrive?
Very useful and well thought out implementation. Thank you.
I just tested it and its a nice addition! i found out you had to save to view other peoples changes but its a well thought process, better than seeing what others type.
wow... @pradeep, they are working hard on office webapps, they are working first in their office, or what? better pdf support than word co-authoring? just download the file and stop asking for something not so important, i want more office desktop features in webapps like other people. its not like they aren't developing more stuff.
will there be tablet apps for this in the near future? Like for HP touchpad?
I love OWA and advocate it over Google Docs, but can we get an option to view real-time edits? Or at least have them auto-committed/saved when we move on to the next section? As well, the performance when using Word 2010 needs to be improved, the Word UI needs to remain responsive after I've hit save. If I'm on a mediocre connection, I shouldn't have to wait 20s after reflexively hitting ctrl+s.
When will this update get pushed to docs.com?
When will this feature be included in Office Web Apps on SharePoint?
When will updates like this be included on all Web Apps platforms simultaneously?
Wow! thats great, eliminates duplication when you have both files open on each computer. Can't wait until available in Excel. We use the spreadsheets a lot on the skydrive and if both user have the Excel document open at the same time then upon closing it makes a duplicate of the file, a bit of a hassle. So look forward to that as well! Thanks for the improvment!
I've just tried to edit simultaneously the same document from two browser tabs. It says 'Session Lost' in one of them. Is it possible for me to edit the same document from work and home computer?
great addition! Any idea on when this will be available within on-premise OWA?
Can't open my excel files online it go for download.
Just plain awesome i know coming from a kid i do use this very much so. i is an very interesting app my adive is to use it
@Cindy Dumas - Can you provide more information about the problem you are seeing? The Excel Web App should already have coauthoring.
@Sergey - You cannot coauthor with yourself. If you try to coauthor with yourself the second session will be given the option of recovering your unsaved changes. You can say yes or no, but with either choice the initial session with be ended. If the first session they tried to re-open the document, it would be given the option of recovering.
@Asif butt - I think that is a problem with the new SkyDrive UI for some users. I don't know what causes it, but the suggestion I found was: "Please add docsf=1 to the URL in order to get the expected commands. You will need to use that command each time you visit SkyDrive but we’re hoping this will be a temporary fix for you until we’ve rolled out a solution for the bug." (Source: www.windowslivehelp.com/thread.aspx)
Your idea of collaboration leaves users of such a program helpess against
evil machinations of people interested in spying into one's personal business. I would never trust such a scheme.