SharePoint Co-Authoring: A Wave To The Future

One of the neatest features of the new SharePoint system is the co-authoring feature. While SharePoint has been available since 2001, the SPS 2013 edition now features real-time co-authoring, allowing multiple users to work on the same document at the same time.

How Does SharePoint Compare To Other Document Management Systems?

SharePoint is the first document management system to allow co-authoring in real time. While many platforms, including older versions of SharePoint, allowed many authors to make changes to a document, these changes formerly had to be saved person by person, forwarded in email attachments, and resaved until all changes were recorded. Finally, everyone had to download the final version of the document to be sure they had the right changes.

Now, SharePoint allows real-time collaboration among any number of users so that everyone has instant access to the final document. No other platform offers this function, and Microsoft is the first to implement it.

How Does Co-Authoring Work?

SharePoint’s 2013 system allows users to co-author documents in Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Visio for internal systems. SharePoint Online adds co-authoring for Excel and Web Apps.

What is different about co-authoring as compared to earlier collaboration models is that multiple users can work on a document at once without interfering with each other’s work. This means that these users can make changes that are instantly saved and shown to everyone in the workgroup, removing the need for constant email updates.

Co-authoring can have several benefits for workgroups, including:

  • Avoid costly errors. Every time a document must be forwarded to more than one person, the risk increases that someone will miss important changes. Further, the possibility exists that the person forwarding the document will attach the wrong copy, causing everyone to get erroneous information.
  • Avoid “backtracking.” When someone new is brought into a workgroup, it is important to be sure that person has the latest version of the work. With SharePoint, this is never a problem. Users can join a discussion and a document editing session at any point.
  • Avoid multiple copies of a document. Because SharePoint is based in the cloud, only one form of the document needs to be saved, freeing valuable space on laptops, tablets and other devices.

SharePoint 2013 makes sharing documents very easy for all users and helps them avoid mistakes that plagued workgroups in the past with its unique co-authoring feature.