How to Collaborate Online with Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Most Word 2016 document changes are made sequentially: You write something, save, and then someone else works on the document. If that chaos isn’t enough for you, Word allows you to invite people to edit a document while you’re working on it. This collaboration feature is called Sharing, probably because a better name wasn’t available or Microsoft was pressed for time.

To make document sharing work, save your document to the cloud, or Internet storage. Specifically, the document must be saved to Microsoft’s One Drive storage.

Sharing a document in Word 2016

After saving your document to OneDrive online storage, follow these steps to make it available for collaboration:

  1. Click the Share button.

    This button is found above the Ribbon, near the top-right part of the document’s window.

    Upon success, the Share pane appears.

  2. Fill in information about your collaborator(s).

    Type in the Invite People box the email address of the person or people with whom you want to share the document. If you use Outlook as your computer’s address book, click the Address icon to the right of the Invite People box to automatically add people.

  3. Choose whether or not the collaborators can edit.

    Choose Can View from the menu and the people you invite can read the document. Choose Can Edit and they can make changes.

  4. Type a message in the Include a Message box.

  5. Click the Share button.

    The invites are sent.

Eventually, the recipients receive the email invite. To access the shared document, they click the link in the email address. Their web browser program opens and displays the document. If they want to edit the document, they click the link Edit in Browser button. At that point, their web browser displays the document as it appears in Word, complete with a customized version of the Ribbon. Hack away.

Checking updates on Word 2016

To determine whether someone has edited your shared document, or even if he’s editing it right now, open the shared document and click the Share button found near the upper-right corner of the document window. The Share pane lists all collaborators and whether or not they’re currently editing.

If any collaborators have changed the document, save your copy to view the updates: Click the Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar, or press Ctrl+S. Any changed content appears in the document with a colored overlay, similar to how revision marks are displayed, as covered earlier in this chapter.

To check to see whether updates are pending, click the File tab, and on the Info screen look for and click the button titled Document Updates Available.