Coauthoring PowerPoint Presentations in Office 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Coauthoring PowerPoint presentations in Office 2011 for Mac is easier than ever. Early coauthoring schemes required using Google Docs, but you were severely hampered by the limited editing capabilities that are possible from within a Web browser.

Now, the pinnacle of sharing is the new PowerPoint 2011 for Mac capability of coauthoring a presentation with multiple authors sharing PowerPoint’s full set of powerful presentation editing features live, in real-time, using SkyDrive.

PowerPoint for Mac coauthoring requirements

You can coauthor a presentation that was saved in PowerPoint (.pptx) format with a collaborator who has PowerPoint 2011 for Mac or PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. No other versions of PowerPoint support coauthoring.

The presentation to be coauthored must be on SkyDrive, which is open to the public, or Microsoft SharePoint 2010, which is installed on a private network. Earlier versions of SharePoint don’t support coauthoring. The SharePoint option is limited to Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011, or Microsoft Office for Mac Standard 2011. All collaborators must have permission to read and write files to the SkyDrive or SharePoint 2010 folder in which the presentation is located.

Start sharing file in PowerPoint for Mac

Each collaborator takes steps to open the presentation that has been stored on the SkyDrive or SharePoint server.

Opening a presentation stored on SkyDrive

Each collaborator opens the presentation file using a Web browser that opens the URL of the stored document. The URL can be sent to collaborators directly from SkyDrive by choosing Share→Send a Link in SkyDrive.

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If a collaborator uses different methods to open the file to be shared on SkyDrive, other collaborators may not be allowed to open the file and will receive a message saying that the file is locked for editing.

When a collaborator opens the presentation in the Web browser, the collaborator clicks Open in PowerPoint. After clicking OK to a message explaining your computer needs to have a compatible Office program, the presentation opens in Microsoft PowerPoint 2011 (on a Mac) or PowerPoint 2010 (on a PC). The download process can take a while, even with a fast Internet connection. After your presentation has finished downloading, it opens in Normal view, ready for editing.

Opening a presentation stored on a SharePoint server

Collaborators need to know the URL of the file to be shared. This can be obtained by navigating to the stored presentation using a Web browser.

Each collaborator does the following to start the sharing session:

  1. Copy the URL of the file on the SharePoint Server.

  2. In PowerPoint, choose File→Open URL.

  3. Paste the URL of the PowerPoint file and then click OK.

    The presentation opens in Normal view, ready for editing.

After you’ve opened a presentation from the server, you can quickly open it again by choosing it in the recently used file list in the File menu or in the recent documents list in the PowerPoint Presentation Gallery.