How to Coauthor a Document in Word 2011 for Mac - dummies

How to Coauthor a Document in Word 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Word 2011 for Mac brings a new wrinkle to collaborating with others. SkyDrive or SharePoint enables you to use the expansive capabilities of Microsoft Word while collaborating on a document online and in real time.

Word 2011 for Mac coauthoring requirements

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

The document to be coauthored must be saved on a SkyDrive account (free and open to the public) or Microsoft SharePoint 2010, which is installed on a private network (typically used in large corporations). The SharePoint option is limited to Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011, and 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 Word document is located.

Start sharing your Word 2011 for Mac document

Each collaborator opens the Word document that has been stored on the SkyDrive or SharePoint as described in the following sections.

Opening a Word document stored on SkyDrive

Each collaborator opens the Word document file using a Web browser. Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer are supported. The collaborator opens the URL of the stored document. The URL of the stored Word document can be sent to collaborators directly from SkyDrive by choosing Share→Send a Link.


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.

After a collaborator opens the Word document in the Web browser, the collaborator chooses the Open in Word option. After clicking OK to a message explaining that your computer needs to have a compatible Office program, the Word document will open in Microsoft Word 2011 (on a Mac) or Microsoft Word 2010 (on a PC). The download process can take a while, even with a fast Internet connection. After your Word document has finished downloading, you’re ready to start editing.

Opening a document stored on a SharePoint server

Collaborators will need to know the URL of the file to be shared. This can be obtained by navigating to the stored Word document 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 Word, choose File→Open URL.

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

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