SharePoint Knowledge Base

Sep 16
Co-Authoring Documents in SharePoint Using MS Word

As SharePoint consultants it's our role to help folks use SharePoint better. SharePoint is not just a file share. A few years ago, Microsoft introduced a new Office File Format by adding an "x" at the end of the file extension. Of course, it's not just a file extension change but also a completely redesigned format and is required for Co-Authoring of documents. Unfortunately, though Office 2007 supports this file format it cannot be used to Co-Author documents. Anything above Word 2010 works well and this post explains some of the details.

Steps to Co-Authoring a Document:

  • Upload a file with a docx extension and upload it into SharePoint.
  • Open a document in Word 2013 and leave it open.  The green circular arrows show you that the file is in SharePoint.  


  • Now open the same document from another computer running Office as well.


  • Now if you click on the icon showing how many editors are on this document, you will get an information card allowing you to see and interact with these other editors.


  • Add a new line of text as one user


  • On the first computer, you could see that someone locked that paragraph and could not edit it. However you could start working on another paragraph. In Word, anyone can be working on 1 paragraph at a time. Here is what it looked like on the other side.


  • Until you save your changes nothing will show up to the others. After clicking on Save, we can see the changes others have made and saved very easily as they are highlighted in green.


When two or more people are working on a document at the same time, they might make changes that conflict with each other. Conflicts can occur when one person works offline and then saves the document to the server. Conflicts can also occur when two people work on the same part of a document at exactly the same time.

When edits conflict, Word displays a notification the next time that you save the document. The conflicts must be resolved before you can save the document to the server.

Note: All changes in the document are saved on your computer even when the document contains conflicts. But the changes aren't saved to the server until the conflicts are resolved.

When conflicts exist, Word notifies you by displaying the following:

  • A message bar
  • A notification in the status bar
  • A notification in Backstage View

You can click any of these entry points to work in Conflict Resolution Mode and resolve all conflicting changes. In Conflict Resolution Mode, a Resolution pane lists the conflicts, and the Conflict tab appears on the Ribbon.

When you click a conflicting change in the pane, the conflicting portion of the document is highlighted. The conflicting changes that you made are marked up in pink.

On the Conflict tab, click Accept to keep your change, or click Reject to remove your change.


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