One of the great capabilities of SharePoint is the ability for multiple users to work on the same document at the same time (also know as co-authoring). This functionality enhances collaboration, improves user experience and adoption of SharePoint.
WHAT IS CO-AUTHORING?
Co-Authoring in SharePoint is a formal name for multiple (2 or more) users collaborating together on the same file/document at the same time.
WHAT TYPE OF FILES CAN YOU CO-AUTHOR?
As of the writing of this blog post, you can co-author the following MS Office files:
HOW TO ENABLE CO-AUTHORING?
You do not need to enable it. In SharePoint Online, co-authoring is enabled by default.
HOW DOES CO-AUTHORING WORK
Co-authoring works best with Word documents. It behaves a little bit differently in Word Online vs. native Word Application, but it works! When 2 or more users edit the document at the same time, they get to see “each other’s presence” and changes as they happen live.
Live changes as they happen in Word Online
Notification in the upper-right-hand corner of Word Online when another user edits at the same time
Notification in the upper-right-hand corner of Word native application when another user edits at the same time
Co-Authoring in Excel works with both the native Excel app (desktop app) and Excel Online. Just like with Word, you get presence notifications in the upper-right-hand corner. When edits are made to cells, they happen live and changed cells are highlighted with user indicator.
User experience when co-authoring in Excel Online
User experience when co-authoring in Excel Desktop App
NOTE: In the past, when you tried to co-author and edit a document using Excel native application, the second user trying to edit a document would get a notification message below. In other words, co-authoring in Excel native desktop app did not work before. That has been addressed by Microsoft as of August 2017. If you still encounter co-authoring issues using Excel, assure you run the latest and greatest version of the Office suite.
Co-authoring works well with PowerPoint. Just like with Word, you see another user’s presence in the upper-right-hand corner. It works both with PowerPoint Online (edit in the browser), as well as the native PowerPoint application.
Notification in the upper-right-hand corner of PowerPoint Online when another user edits at the same time
Live changes as they happen in PowerPoint native application
Notification in the upper-right-hand corner of PowerPoint native application when another user edits at the same time
OneNote also works well with co-authoring. It provides a very similar notification mechanism as well when multiple users change same OneNote page. Changes take place live as well. Co-authoring with OneNote works well with both browser editing and native application.
Notification in the upper-right-hand corner of OneNote Online when another user edits at the same time
Live changes as they happen in OneNote Desktop (native application)
HOW DOES VERSIONING WORK WITH CO-AUTHORING?
Great question. When 2 or more people are editing the file at the same time, it saves file everyone once in a while (every minute or so – nobody knows for sure an exact formula), and whoever is the last one to make changes at the time of “save” – that name is registered in the version history. In the example below, you can see changes to the file done by two users co-authoring in the span of 1 minute.
While Information Architecture is a big part of SharePoint projects, the newest guidance from the product team is to create what I’m calling the “flat world” where everything is a site collection sitting under sites. If everything is flat structurally you can then use the new hub sites to build the structure up and to build the hierarchies gaining new search, navigation, and activity rollups including powerful mobile aggregation experiences across multiple team sites and communication sites.
Arguably the digital workplace isn’t new, per se. We've been digital for quite some time. Over the years, the adoption curve has remained the same every time we roll out a new technology: a large spike in usage up front, followed by a plummet and then a gradual decline. Focusing on adoption isn’t how you get people to use new technology. If you think adoption is the answer, you’re asking yourself the wrong question.
Knowledge workers are in application and information overload. Acknowledging this and then assessing the landscape that users traverse can help put this into context. As we are asked to do more with less, the answer isn’t necessarily to throw a new technology at the problem. Often, the problem is the technology rollouts that fail. How do you get an investment in the digital workplace to stick? There are several points to remember as you strive to answer to that question. Let’s examine a few of them.
Technology Should Respond to a Business Process Need
Often, new communication and social enterprise technologies fail to gain traction in the workplace because users don’t really need them — the systems don’t address an actual business case. Without a reason to share, post or search for information, people won’t waste their valuable time using a newly deployed tool.
Corporate culture can also play a big role in technology adoption. The closer a system is tied to strategic goals and processes, the greater the chance of it achieving its intended return. For example, Microsoft has a case study of how Yammer gave Nationwide a platform that helped improve customer service and responsiveness and provided a vehicle for sharing successful solutions between employees in call centers and those at the homes of customers filing claims. When tools like Yammer can be deployed in ways that impact real work and knowledge, adoption rates go up.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Shadow IT is reality. Whether you like it or not, employees are using personal accounts to conduct business, store data and collaborate with people inside and outside of your organization. If an organization’s tools don’t meet users’ needs or expectations, users will find better solutions elsewhere. This can lead to compromised security, lack of adherence to compliance measures and lack of ownership of knowledge and intellectual property.
Adapting to the challenge of shadow IT doesn’t mean you have to provide a wide array of tools with similar capabilities so users can pick and choose the ones they like best. But it does mean that you have to acknowledge that, say, one enterprise content management system may not meet everyone’s requirements or accommodate all work styles. It’s important to have both options and clearly defined roles and responsibilities for systems. More is not better, but a prescriptive approach is.
Change Shouldn’t Lead to More Work
Having a strategy for change management may be one of the keys to ensuring that users will adopt new tools. However, the call for change will be a nonstarter if using the new system means users will have to do more work to accomplish tasks. The exception is if the additional work aids in improving compliance or the ability to find data or accomplish strategic goals. But even with exceptions such as those, the change must have a compelling value proposition and promise a desirable user experience.
Change is inevitable though, and there are cases where users will readily adapt to new ways of working. An example is a move from attaching copies of documents to email messages to adding people’s names to a document with edit privileges so they can share and collaborate.
Not Everything Needs to Change
With the addition of new and exciting productivity tools, like many of those that come with Office 365, it can be easy to think that every process can be transformed. However, some processes don’t need to change. Here is an example: Say your users have developed their own process for using Excel to handle communication and knowledge-sharing needs. If a new tool you want to deploy wouldn’t save them any time — or would require them to do more work — in addition to changing the way they work, then it may be best to leave the current system in place.
The digital workplace is evolving, and its DNA will be different for every organization. Equip users with tools that will be effective, and be careful to not inundate them with more applications and information than they can handle. No one needs another newsfeed to check, unless it is critical to their professional success and the strategic success of the organization.
The focus for the digital workplace should be prescriptive without losing any nuance for the detail surrounding the work. Step away from focusing on adoption, and look at the digital workplace with a fresh lens, considering the user experience and mission as your core tenets.
First, I’ve got to say thanks. Since launching the Periodic Table of Office 365back in May 2017—the second-most popular of the infographics I’ve produced, beat out by my Intro to Office 365 Groups, interestingly—it’s been viewed almost 50,000 times across LinkedIn and my blog. It’s been translated into three other languages. It pops up at conferences across the world. And I’ve seen it in many intranets to help with internal Office 365 adoption.
Over the course of the last few years, I published a number of posts explaining the difference between sites and site collections, sites and pages, document libraries and folders. I realize though that without having a big picture, it might be hard to visualize how all these pieces relate to each other. As such, I decided to publish this post, where I bring it all together. I am hoping that information below will help you understand the overall anatomy/architecture of SharePoint and how Site Collections, Sites, Pages, Document Libraries, and Folders associate with each other.
We can develop remote event receiver in SharePoint online using visual studio 2015. In SharePoint online Office 365 environments we can not run custom code in the SharePoint server. But we can run code in a remote server. Remote event receivers can be developed using provder hosted add-in. We can use remote event receivers to handle events in the SharePoint add-in model. We can use AppInstalled and AppUninstalling events to set up or remove SharePoint objects and other event receivers your add-in needs.
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