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Collaborating and Sharing with Microsoft Office 2010

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Discover the new sharing and collaboration features in Office 2010, such as co-authoring, access to online storage, blogging support, and the Office Web Apps. Eric Geier shows you how Office 2010 lets you create, edit, and share documents more quickly and easily.
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By Eric Geier

Microsoft introduced some truly exciting and useful features in Office 2010. Many of them deal with sharing and collaboration.

Co-authoring with simultaneous editing makes it much easier for multiple people to review and edit documents.The integration of SkyDrive and SharePoint makes it much easier to share or store documents online. Blogging support lets you post right inside Word 2010. The Office Web Apps give you access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from anywhere with an Internet connection.

This article looks at these new sharing and collaborating features of Office 2010.

Now let’s get started!

Co-author with Simultaneous Editing

A new feature of Office 2010 lets multiple users simultaneously edit the same Word, PowerPoint, or OneNote document in real time. Before, you may have had to manually email the document, wait for replies, and then try to combine all the changes and comments into one document. Or everyone might have had to fight for exclusive access of the document over the network. Now everyone can see and make changes to the same document in real time, enabling the team to be much more productive.

To get the co-authoring capabilities you must either use Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or a free Windows Live account.

To use the Windows Live method, you can share a document using Microsoft’s online storage service, called SkyDrive. You can see the next section for details on how to share documents directly in the Office applications or on the SkyDrive site.

Once you have a document uploaded, you can email people web links to access it, or they can access it via their SkyDrive account.They then can edit from the browser using the Office Web Apps or they can open it to their regular Office application on their computer.

When users open a document shared with SkyDrive or SharePoint, they’ll be notified of any other users actively editing the document via a pop-up message coming from the status bar on the bottom of the application.

The user can click the icon in the status bar to see a list of names, as shown in Figure 1.

Clicking a name will show that person’s details, including their email and contact information, as Figure 2 shows. There are also shortcuts for emailing, instant messaging, calling, and scheduling a meeting.

When you save a shared document, it synchronizes the changes with the server copy and notifies any other users with the document opened that there are changes available via the status bar, as Figure 3 shows.

They can then also hit Save to save their updates and download the changes from others. Though changes from other users are only temporally highlighted, you can still enable Change Tracking. Therefore, everyone can make edits and select people can review to accept and reject the changes.

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