Microsoft Office 2016 to feature co-editing

Two or more people will be able to work on a single Word document at the same time

Soon, multiple people will be able to work on the same Word document simultaneously, and even see each others' changes as they are typed out in real-time.

At the Ignite conference, held this week in Chicago, Microsoft demonstrated the new co-editing capability which lets two or more people edit a Word document at the same time. It can be tested in a a preview edition of the software suite released this week.

Today, joint editing of the same Word document can be complicated, as people make changes to the file on their local devices and email it to their colleagues for further modifications, often resulting in the existence of multiple drafts. Co-editing eliminates the need to email the same document back and forth among different participants.

Real-time co-editing has been available in Microsoft's Office Web apps since 2013, and is also offered by rival products such as Google Docs.

"People have been interested in moving that same capability down to the rich app on the device," said Jared Spataro, a Microsoft general manager for the Office marketing group.

When in collaborative mode, Word will show how someone else is editing the document "character by character," Spataro said. The person making the edits is identified by a small set of initials hovering by the cursor making the change.

Key to making the file available to all parties is storing it in the cloud, either in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business. At present, there is no limit to the number of people who can work on a single document at the same time.

The technology still needs to be finalized, Spataro said. For instance, the development team is still working out how to handle collisions, when two people are working on the exact same part of the text. This could be handled by locking the paragraph or the sentence that one person is editing, so others can't access it.

Eventually co-creation will also be offered in PowerPoint and Excel as well, Spataro said.

Microsoft Office 2016 is due to be released by the end of the year.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftsoftwareapplicationsOffice suites

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?