When more than one person is working on a document, it is known as collaboration and co-authoring. Microsoft office supports co-authoring where more than one person can be working on the same document. With Office and OneDrive or SharePoint, multiple people can work together on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or in our case, a PowerPoint presentation.
There are two types of co-authoring. The first one is known as regular co-authoring. Here you can work on the same document simultaneously but the paragraph that is being worked on is locked. When changes are made, you will see an ‘Updates available’ notification. After saving, you will see changes made by other authors on your end. You can work together with anyone using a real-time co-authoring application.
Real-time co-authoring is the second multiple editing scenario available for PowerPoint documents. You will be able to see the changes being made by other users as they are typed, just as you would on your device. You will see several cursors marking where someone is working on. Hovering the cursor over this location will show you who is making the changes. If the author is using regular co-authoring applications, you will not see the changes, but you can work together.
What you need to Co-author
You need more than just co-authors to be able to edit a document with multiple users. Here is what you need to set up the link between you and the other authors.
A shared storage space
To co-author, the document needs to be on OneDrive consumer, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint server. For real-time co-authoring, the document does have to be in the cloud, so it works with OneDrive or SharePoint Online, but not SharePoint server. If you store documents only locally on your computer, you can’t co-author. If you have another storage provider, check if they support co-authoring. Note that Google drive is not supported yet – you have to work on it over a browser using online Google applications.
Applications that support co-authoring
Word and PowerPoint on all platforms, and on all versions since Office 2010, Excel Online, Android, and Windows Mobile. Although you can upload files via Word and PowerPoint 2007 or earlier to SharePoint Online or OneDrive, and you can open them for editing, you can’t co-author these documents with those legacy applications. When a user opens a document with Word or PowerPoint 2007, SharePoint Online or OneDrive creates a lock on the document and prevents other users of Office from editing that document. In addition, real-time co-authoring is supported on Word for Windows Desktop 2016, and Word, PowerPoint, and Excel Online.
Documents that support co-authoring
Co-authoring is only supported on modern file formats: .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx. A few features are also not supported, such as VBA. Documents with track changes do not support real-time typing in Word.
Now that you know what is needed for co-authoring, let us see how you can set up your PowerPoint document to allow for co-authoring and editing using office 2016.
Create a PowerPoint document and share it online for collaboration
- Open your PowerPoint presentation, and choose Share in the top-right corner of the ribbon when you’re ready to collaborate.
- Choose Save to Cloud and choose a location to save your presentation to e.g. OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365. If you hadn’t set either up, you will be asked to do so now.
- Once your presentation is saved to a shared location, you can invite others to work on it as well. In the Invite people box, enter the email address of the person you’d like to share the presentation with. If you already have the person’s contact info stored, you can just enter their name.
- Choose the ‘Can edit’ option from the dropdown to allow them to edit
- Click share
- The owners of the emails will receive a link that will allow them to edit the document.
- To open the document, open PowerPoint, open the file menu, click Open URL, and type the URL of the document e.g. In the URL box, type the URL for the document that is located on SharePoint, such as http://fabrikam/shared%documents/DocumentName.pptx Click Open. You can also open it using a browser from your Windows Live OneDrive or go to the document that you used to save to the online storage space (it should still have the link embedded in it).
- You’ll also see the name of anyone viewing or editing the presentation in the Share pane. There’s an indicator—on the thumbnail of the slide and in the actual slide—that shows where someone is working in the presentation.
- When you’re done working, choose File > Save. Updates from other authors will be merged directly
- If there are conflicts on the document, you will be presented with the option of keeping your changes, or changes made by others
- If you are subscribed to office 365, you can turn on real-time co-authoring by going to File > Options > General, and selecting the option under Real-time collaboration options.
You will now be able to see changes as they are typed. Only one person can work within a red box at a time.
To make the co-authoring and editing experience better, you can use Skype Business to open a chat room for communication between the authors. This makes editing easier and the final document is one that everyone will agree to.