Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering

The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group

Collaboration Without Compromise

Collaboration Without Compromise

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Lots of the talk around Office documents these days seems to be about “Collaboration”. “Team work”. “Sharing”.  And yet, you don’t get an A on your term paper because four people were on your team. And you don’t get promoted because your business plan involved 30 different reviewers.  No doubt, it almost always takes a group of people to get the job done these days, but the job is still about the output.

Unfortunately these days we have to choose between simple collaboration and  rich, polished output.  With the first, you might use a web tool thinking “it’s good enough” because everyone has easy access to the doc. But you still have to spend a lot time at the tail end finalizing the output and adding elements that aren’t supported in the web tool.  With the second, you might juggle multiple email attachments from multiple people, multiple versions, resulting in multiple headaches. Sure, output layout and design is preserved throughout the collaboration process, but at the cost of deciphering everyone’s additions along the way.


Here on the Office team, we have been focused on getting the right combination:  collaboration without compromise. No matter what type of output you create, you want to focus on your content, not the tasks associated with creating and managing it. With the co-authoring experience in Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote, you can simultaneously edit the same content with colleagues or friends without compromising the quality and user experience you’ve come to expect from Microsoft Office. With your documents stored on SharePoint 2010 or Windows Live, the Office Web Apps are great partners to the Office 2010 Clients apps.  The Office Web Apps allow you to access and share that rich content even if you don’t have the Office 2010 Client apps.  Be sure to read the Web App blog for more details.

With the Office 2010 desktop apps against SharePoint 2010 or Windows Live, you get the best of both worlds – the ability to create the best possible content with multiple people. Simple. Now, there’s only one version of the output AND you know when others are working on it with you. No intrusive UI. No check-in/check-out.  No waiting your turn. No losing control of when you share your changes or when you see others’ changes. Want to track your changes and add comments into the marketing plan in Word 2010 while Bob is on page three? Check.  (In fact, that’s how this blog entry was created). Want to edit a video in PowerPoint 2010 while Sally updates slide two? Check.  Want to brainstorm with your research team in real time with OneNote 2010 – screen clippings, audio and video recordings, handwriting included?  Check, check and check.

Co-authoring in Microsoft Office 2010 means no more compromise between easy collaboration and effective content. Find out how it works in your favorite app -- check out the video and links below and let us know what you think.

Ayca (eye-cha)

Product manager – Office

  • In addition to the formatting problems you noted, the other 2 objections to using Google Docs for co-editing are 'why do I have to learn a new tool?', and storing documents beyond the firewall.

    Because of these problems, Plutext (and several other startups) have already brought simultaneous editing to Microsoft Word.  So there are also options around for organizations which haven't committed to SharePoint, or or won't be moving to Office 2010 for a while.

  • hmm sounds intersting

  • I really like the video, particularly how drawings are mixed with real world objects (finger, pen etc.).

    Was this done in Microsoft Expression? Would you be willing to tell us a little about how this video was made?

    Thank you.

  • I know what the video means about too many multiple versions of a single document being in circulation via email with names like DRAFT or FINAL(version 1,2,3 etc).

    Hopefully the co-authoring (i.e. simultaneous editing) feature in Word 2010 will be easy to understand and easy to use, can't wait to try it out.

  • Would someone just come out and say if we need Sharepoint or not to use this feature?!  Grrrrrr!  My company has not committed to Sharepoint, and might not.  I'd love to sell the idea of collaboration to my company, but this is making it very difficult.

    Is Sharepoint needed to use the collaboration feature?

  • I Love co-authoring in word.  I love co-authoring in the excel web application between different instances but it is frustrating that co-authoring doesn't work between Excel desktop and Excel web.  Will this be fixed in the RTM version?

  • "Install Microsoft Silverlight."

    I think that says all that needs to be said about, "the tasks associated with creating and managing it."

  • Hi James -- thanks for the comment.  It would be great to understand more about the scenarios where you would like to use Excel Client & Server co-authoring; information like that helps us when evaluating new features and modifications of existing features.  For now, the client and server versions of Excel work together through sharing common file formats, as well tight integration for transitioning between the browser and the rich client.

  •     I didn't know which post to add this comment to, but this one seemed to fit the bill.  I'm a possible developer, and all of the work that you're doing with Office interests me.  Could you send me an email ([]) containing links to all of the Office blogs?  

  • Hi Bryce -- this is a good blog to monitor, and if you look down the right side of the blog there are links to many other Office team blogs.

  • Hi Alan -- in addition to working with the new version of WSS (SharePoint), co-authoring will also work on Windows Live SkyDrive.  Hope this helps.

    Larry Waldman

    Program Manager

    Microsoft Office

  • How do you enable co-authoring in the first place. I have been trying to figure out how but I just can't. Can somebody help guide me?

  • I have been trying to co-author as well, but it just does not work. What do i have to do to enable co-aothoring? Opening document from teh Document Library does not seem to work as i am asked to either open a read-only document or to check document out for editing.

    Any tips would help. Thanks!

  • When I work with PowerPoint files I sometimes get a very big file size. Will your collaboration feature on desktop be sending such files in their entirety to Sharepoint etc. each time I update a change and so should I advise my teams to be keeping their PPT file sizes low if it is possible?

    Many thanks

  • Hi MJ - One of the great new features in Office 2010 is more efficient file uploading and downloading with SharePoint 2010 and Windows Live SkyDrive servers. In Office 2010 we only sync the changes with the server rather than the entire file, so your teams should be fine co-authoring on any file size. For example, consider a PowerPoint file that is large because it has many large images in it. If you make a change on one slide without changing the images, then Office will sync just that slide rather than re-upload the entire file with all the large images that haven’t changed.

    Mark Knight

    Program Manager

    Microsoft Office

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