How to Edit a Coauthored Word 2011 Document

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

While collaborating with shared Word documents in Office 2011 for Mac, the status bar at the bottom of the window indicates how many people are collaborating and whether any collaborators has saved updates (changes or edits) to the server. When a new coauthor joins the Word 2011 for Mac collaboration, his or her name flashes briefly at the author’s button, and the number of authors changes in the author’s button. When a coauthor starts editing, an indicator displays to the left of the paragraph that is currently being edited. Word puts dotted lines to the left of a paragraph you are editing.

A coauthor editing a paragraph in Word for Mac.

When one of your coauthors makes a change, Word displays the name of the coauthor in the left margin and puts a bracket along the left side of the paragraph that was changed. Click the coauthor’s name to display the Presence Indicator for that author. When you see a coauthor’s name and a bracket, you know that updates are available.

Word document with all of the changes made by coauthors.

Another way Word indicates that updates are available is by displaying a double-arrow indicator to the left of a paragraph. Holding the mouse over the indicator displays a ScreenTip.

Double-arrow sign that indicates that updates are available.

Any collaborator can block other authors from making changes to parts of the document being coauthored. To block or unblock paragraphs, do the following:

  1. Select the paragraph or paragraphs for which you want to disallow editing by other authors.

  2. Choose on the Ribbon’s Review tab, go to the Protection group, and click Block Authors.

    1. a.To block authors, choose Block Authors from the pop-up menu.

    2. b.To unblock areas that you previously protected, choose Unblock All My Blocked Areas from the pop-up menu.

  3. Save the document.

    The Block Authors button in the Ribbon at the top of a Word document.