Microsoft Previews Real-Time Co-authoring on Office Web Apps
Microsoft gives Office Web Apps users the ability to see changes to Office files as soon as they occur. The company also weighs in on Adobe's plan to go subscription-only.Building on a strategy of releasing a steady trickle of updates for its cloud offerings, Microsoft previewed a few upcoming features that are being added to Office Web Apps, the browser-based Web component of the Office 365 product that delivers online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Real-time co-authoring support is coming to the Web-based version of Office, announced Amanda Lefebvre, a product marketing manager for Microsoft. Currently switched on for PowerPoint users, the capability is meant to improve the experience of editing Office files and documents in collaborative, multiuser scenarios. "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," wrote Lefebvre in an Office 365 Blog post. An accompanying video shows how changes made in a PowerPoint presentation by one user instantly show up in the other's browser window. Edits appear as soon as they are registered, even if the users are in different views. For instance, a scene depicts one of the document's authors modifying the contents of a bullet list while another sees the changes appear in a preview with the final formatting.
Lefebvre added that Microsoft is working to improve performance and bring the capability to other apps. "In the next few months you'll see PowerPoint Web App co-authoring get even faster and real time co-authoring support in the other Office Web Apps," she informed.