It’s finally here, and it’s a game changer

Microsoft has recently updated the way users can collaborate in real-time, directly from their individual computers. You read that right, work with your teams from the computer versions of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word and see everyone’s updates in real-time.

Without hesitation, I have always viewed Microsoft Office as the better choice for the “power user”, and the vast majority of software experts and blogger swill agree with me on this. Google’s minimalist approach has its place, it is great for simple files, but the functionality of their suite of productivity tools (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides) has historically not come close to Microsoft in terms of functionality and speed.

With that said, when it came to collaboration, especially real-time collaboration, Google had the competitive edge.The limitations around Microsoft’s real-time collaboration were real and frustrating, until now.

Microsoft’s improvements are extremely intuitive and user-friendly, so employees who cut their teeth on old Microsoft products can quickly be onboarded to use OneDrive (as well as Microsoft Teams) to collaborate more quickly and efficiently.

Follow these easy steps to collaborate building documents. It’s not hard, and it will save your team a considerable amount of time.

(Note: The below instructions apply across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)

Share Your Files to Work in Real-Time Using Office 365

  1. Open OneDrive.
  2. From the list of files, right-click on the document you wish to share with your colleagues and click Share.

  3. You can also share a file directly when working in any Microsoft Program, by clicking Share in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

  4. Enter the email address of the colleague you wish to collaborate with.

  5. If your file has already been saved to the cloud, an email invitation will be sent to your invitees. If you haven’t saved your presentation to OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365, PowerPoint will prompts you to do so before the email invitation is sent.
  6. When working in the online version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint, the thumbnail of all users appears in the top right corner.

  7. You can see who is working on each slide by viewing the thumbnail in the corner of each presentation.
  8. I strongly recommend using comments to make sure you are in sync with your colleagues.

Prefer the Desktop Apps, Not a Problem!

One of the great features of Office 365 is the ability to flip seamlessly between the online and desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, while working with teams. Microsoft has come a long way to improve the speed and general features of their cloud-based programs, but for heavy users, the desktop version just cannot be replaced…at least yet.

Luckily, Microsoft has recently added the ability to collaborate right from your desktop and see the edits of your team in real-time.

The steps could not be easier.

  1. Once you have a file open through OneDrive, simply click the Open in Desktop App

  2. That’s it! You will be able to see your colleagues while you work. Changes your colleagues make will be highlighted, as shown below.

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