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Office Online—chat with your co-editors in real-time

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We recently announced the ability for co-editors to chat with one another directly within a OneDrive document when working in Office Online. Today, we’re pleased to extend this capability to our Office 365 Business and Education customers for documents stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. Built on the same technology as Skype for Business, the new chat feature is available in all the Office Online applications—Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.

How to initiate a chat

When you share a document from OneDrive or SharePoint Online with your co-workers or classmates, they can view, make edits and even co-author with you in real-time. When multiple people are in the document at the same time, their names appear in the list of co-editors at the top right of the browser window. Next to the list of co-editors, you’ll see a blue Chat button (shown below).

DocChat1c

Chat in real-time while working with others in Office Online.

DocChat2a

Real-time chat is integrated with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Online.

DocChat3a

Use emoticons to liven up your conversations.

When to chat and when to add document comments

Use Chat when you want to communicate with others immediately, for example, to ask a quick question or divide sections among the co-editors. Chat history is not saved when you close the document but can be copied and pasted if desired. Use Comments (on the Review tab on the ribbon) when you want to attach a comment to a specific selection within the document, such as when you need to ask if a word or phrase should be changed. Comments are saved with the document and can be replied to, marked as done or deleted.

That’s all for now. We’re constantly working to improve Office Online and add new features. Leave a comment below or add new feature suggestions to our UserVoice sites for Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote.

—The Office Online team

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13 comments
    • I agree, would seem simple to do since limited IM in the mail app is already supported with on-prem Skype.

        • Hi Jacob and Richard, please read my response below about hybrid on-prem online installations.

  1. I think these new features looks awesome, but I have a couple of questions. Are all these features meant to be available outside the US? Like Norway to be specific? I do get the Skype icon in Outlook web app and calendar, but not in Office Online. I have tried on multiple tenants. I am also unable to make this work on Office desktop…
    And one last thing, why is the Skype icon used everywhere else except for in Office Online – where you have a blue button called “Chat”?

    • Hi Steffi,
      This feature is currently available in North America and we’ll be rolling it out worldwide over the next couple of weeks. The blue Chat button creates a conversation and automatically adds all the other co-editors to the conversation. You won’t see all your Skype contacts or other conversations that you may have on-going. As a result, we choose to use a different icon.

      Thanks
      Matt

  2. Thanks for that super interesting article. I tried to use that feature immediatly, but wiht my austrian tennant i do nat have that chat icon availlable.

    When will it be rolled out for europe?

    Many thanks in advance

    Best regards

    Lars

    • Hi Lars,

      We’ll be rolling this feature out worldwide over the next couple of weeks.

      Matt Gauthier
      Microsoft

  3. Great feature but I’d really like to chat with people who are not currently editing the document. It would be nice to be able to Skype someone from the document to ask them a quick question or to bring them into the document for deeper collaboration.

    Since the ability to do this just rolled out to Outlook and Calendar I’m hoping it’s coming to OneDrive documents as well.

  4. Does this only work for Skype for Business Online? We have on-prem with hybrid setup. Is that gonna work?

    • Yes. We don’t currently support doc chat for pure on-prem installations but hybrid installations, where there’s a mix of on-premise servers plus online SfB services, will. All users within a hybrid tenant, regardless of whether they are homed on-prem or online, will be able to doc chat, which leverages the SfB online service.

      Good question!

      Matt Gauthier
      Microsoft

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