Real-Time Co-Authoring Feature Comes to Office for iOS and Mac

The collaboration-enhancing feature is now generally available on the iOS and Mac versions of in Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Office Team Editing for Mac, iOS

Microsoft's sweeping update to Teams wasn't the only big change to affect the Office ecosystem. The company's co-authoring feature is now generally available to iOS and Mac users.

Office's real-time co-authoring capabilities may not be new, but ever since Microsoft introduced the feature in 2013, some users have had to wait until they arrived on their preferred platform. Now, courtesy of a new round of Office updates, iOS and Mac users can join their Windows and Office Online colleagues in jointly modifying Office content.

"We made it easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac," wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office, in a Jan. 30 blog post.

"Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you'll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online."

Mac users with Office 365 plans can also now access the AutoSave feature that was released to the Windows versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint last year. As the name implies, it automatically stores the latest changes in the OneDrive cloud file storage service. It also allows users to view and restore earlier versions of the same file.

Microsoft has also redesigned the list view in the OneDrive app for iOS, a change that offers more sorting capabilities and makes it easier to scan file names, said Koenigsbauer. Additionally, the app can now render thumbnails for more than 130 file types, including 3D objects, Adobe Photoshop and more.

iPad and iPhone users can now access their OneDrive files with any app that integrates with Apple's Files app. A big addition to iOS 11, Files allows users to view the files and folders stored on their devices, along with cloud storage accounts like Dropbox, iCloud Drive, and now, OneDrive.In both the Office and OneDrive iOS apps, users can now drag and drop files, images and other content between applications, including iMessage.

Sharing files with iOS users is now a more seamless experience for recipients, revealed Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive, SharePoint and Office at Microsoft, in a separate announcement.

"Previously when you received a link to a shared file, you would be directed to a browser and prompted to re-authenticate. Today, we are announcing universal link support, which will open the document directly in the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint iOS apps," stated Teper. If a recipient happens to be missing the app that belongs to the type of file being shared, the file can be previewed in OneDrive.

Outlook for iOS gains a new search function that uses the Microsoft Graph to help users to find information that isn't necessarily stored in their email accounts. The improved search can be used to find shared content from work colleagues and get personalized results. 

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...