Microsoft Beefs Up Office Web App Collaboration Features
Online, real-time group editing comes to Office Web apps with new co-authoring capabilities that deliver changes to users' screens as they happen.Microsoft is making it easier for far-flung colleagues to work together on Office documents by switching on new live, multiuser editing features on the cloud-delivered versions of its productivity apps. The feature was first previewed in May by Amanda Lefebvre, a Microsoft product marketing manager. "We'll introduce real time co-authoring in the Office Web Apps so that all file authors will automatically see presence and edits from others as they happen without needing to refresh. This is a subtle change, but a great enhancement to enable even richer collaboration," she predicted. Months later, users can finally put the technology through its paces and watch edits to Word and Excel Web App documents as they happen (the capability has already been activated for the PowerPoint Web App). "With the introduction of real-time co-authoring, the Office collaboration experience takes your ability to work with others to the next level," wrote Lefebvre in an Office 365 Technology blog post. Offline changes, even if they are made using Office desktop software, are synced automatically. Group users, she said, "get the collaborative power of the Web with the feature depth of the desktop applications on your PC, or Mac, for a no compromise collaboration experience."
Alluding to the platform's mobile-friendly attributes, she added that "Office provides you the tools to work together in ways that fit your needs," whether users work offline or online, "from the Web, desktop, a Windows tablet or iPad."