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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.
I really would like to have a feature that allows me to include references.
I would think co-authoring would be a feature that your enterprise customers are most interested in, and they are probably also the audience least interested in using SkyDrive...
very useful but make try to give the best features in it like pdf etc......
Keep up with the good job! It would be great too have it in Excel. Pedro.
works fine at Skydrive, but how about Word Apps Co-Authoring in Sharepoint Foundation 2010? When it will be available?
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have a lot of heart. I love your posts! Thanks