Tag Archives: collaboration platform

Collaboration – Many hands on One Word Document

Would it not be great if you could collaborate in a word document – at the same time – with your colleague. This would be like having four hands working on one document. You already know that this is possible in the latest Word versions. Many people ask me if this does not give any issues if two persons are editing the same paragraph at the same time. Yes it does and it can be resolved. In this blog post I will try to explain how two people can work together on the same document without messing up the same paragraph. HandsOn

Let’s get started! First step: we start Word and open a document. Second step is to ask to co-worker to open the same document. For this example i have asked my colleague Wendy to open the same document. Just to show you that two people are working on the same document i will add some screens here. Scenario: we opened the same document which is stored on a SharePoint document library.

collaborate_I collaborate_II

The two images above show us that two people are editing this document at the same time. The first image shows that there are two people active, the second image shows who that second person is. If you have Lync integration this is a great feature because you can just as easily start a chat about your editing session here!
I asked Wendy to edit a specific paragraph in this document. I will edit the same paragraph in this document making sure we are working on the same paragraph. Wendy added some sentences to the paragraph (in Dutch). I also added some sentences to the same paragraph. When one of the editors clicks save the other will be notified that updates are available.

collaborate_V collaborate_VI

Now because we are editing the same paragraph one might wonder what the final result will look like. Well first of you do get a warning that two people are editing the same paragraph. You then have the opportunity to view the changes the other made. You can then approve one or the other.

collaborate_IV collaborate_VII

The images above show the warnings / information i receive about the state of the document. I decide to apply the changes by clicking save. Word responds with a following notice:


Word tries to explain that there is a conflict in the same paragraph. Luckily for us it does give us an option to resolve it. So i click the resolve button on the warning. I am presented with the document and a taskbar where i can view the conflicts. When checking i see the the conflicts are minimal. We haven’t touched each others sentences but just added information in different places. So i accept all the changes and click resolve.

collaborate_IX collaborate_X

So we now have a document with changes made by two people. But what if i don’t want to take the risk of someone editing my paragraph while i am working on it? There is always the risk that a co author is editing the same sentence you are just working on. This is where the next option comes to the rescue. I will change the same paragraph again but without taking the risk that Wendy will edit the same sentences. This time i select the specific paragraph and right click the mouse. A popup menu presents me with the one option i am looking for right now: block authors.
When i choose this option the other co worker will see something specific happen in their document. The name of the other author will pop up next to the paragraph telling the co worker that this paragraph is now bocked for editing.

collaborate_XV Collaborate_XII

I can adjust any text in the paragraph without risking my sentences being edited by other co autors! I asked Wendy to take the risk and try to edit a sentence in that specific paragraph while i blocked it. The message is clear (although in Dutch) it states: This change is not allowed because the section is locked. Rock on… my paragraph is save!


So whenever you want to co author a document take the necessary steps to make sure you are not editing each others paragraphs. So how can you tell you are save? Well i have another image for you right here:


So collaboration really has taken the next step. It is possible to co author a document at the same time. If you have Lync integration a chat is right there to assist you even more. No more mailing around and asking co workers to look at the attached documents. Review live and make adjustments at real time. That’s what we call collaboration!

Next time i will take a closer look how this collaboration stuff works in PowerPoint and Excel.

For now Happy collaborating 🙂

The Industry is Changing – Make Sure Your Skills Keep Pace

Cloud Ready

The last year has been a merry go round for the information worker. At least that’s what i have noticed visiting many clients. Not only did many companies switched to Windows 7 but at the same time the next logical step was taken and that is upgrading to Office 2010. I could not applaud them more. For me personally this means being as up to date as i possible can.

Information Workers (IW) make the jump to the cloud
Many IW i meet find the Office 2010 suite a great improvement in comparison to the old situation. Some of them use office 2010 in combination with office 365. This often leads to more questions besides the new excitement. How do i store my documents in this SharePoint thing and how to get it back again. This led me to think that many IT Pros are ready for the Cloud and prepare for the future. But what about the Information Workers, are they ready for the future? As a headstart some of them used their SkyDrive to learn about Cloud computing and find it very convenient. Not only do they get an enormous amount of free storage but they also get to know the office suite in the cloud.

Now for the SharePoint part
It is a pleasure to see that many IW are so enthousiastic about the cloud. The workplace offers SharePoint as a collaboration platform. How does this SharePoint stuff work and where can i learn about it. Some of the questions i regularly here during my consultancy hours. First we talk about what the IW already knows about SharePoint and the cloud. During the conversations it’s often the IT guy that should have given the answers. Instead he presents the user with a [site] – because that is what they asked for. The information worker now faces a dilemma. Great I have a site and i can do what ever i like with it within the given boundries. It doesn’t take long before the enthousiasme is killed because of the lack of knowledge.

Where to start
My advice for Informaton Workers who want to know more about SharePoint and cloud is to start of with a end user course. I found this one very useful:
Course 50575A: SharePoint 2010 End User
I had a couple of IW who found this a good starting point for getting ready for some serious cloud computing. No i’m not only talking about SharePoint but also things like web apps, InfoPath, Excel Webservices, PowerPivot and much more. But we have to start somewhere. If they want the next step i suggest the follwing: Course 50469B: SharePoint 2010 End User – Level II. The great advantage of following these classes is that they now know what to ask the IT guy. Another advantage is that the IT guy understands the question the IW posted 😉

Get certified
As a trainer/consultant I often have to discuss the learning plans with the decision makers from various companies. What’s in it for the company and how do we get a good return on investment. When i talk about certification they are interested because now they a tool to measure their investment. Not only that but also a goal for their employees. I like taking the path which leads to certification but i do not choose the easy path. I do encourage to take the path with the hands on experience. In my opinion the only right path. So what path to take for the information Worker when we want them to certify without them pushing them into an IT Pro certification path? My advice would be to guide the IW to the following exam:

This exam leads to [Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS): SharePoint 2010] a well deserved credit for your employee. It doesn’t take years to achieve and it will lead to employees who know what they are talking about. Furthermore they will have the capabilities to work cloud efficient and that’s what we are striving for in the future right?

For me it is of studying for the 70-667 exam because i have to keep up myself as well. It’s all hands on for me now! Some PowerShell anyone?

Happy Clouding 🙂