Microsoft Word: Collaborating on a Document

Word helps you work easier together.

Whether you have a work project, sales pitch, or newsletter for your department, you can share the load in Word by working on a document with others. Gone are the days of trying to figure out which document is the most recent and then compile the edits into another document. 

For practice using collaboration features, watch for TRY IT text in red throughout this document.

Cloud storage in OneDrive

Collaboration happens online, so the first step is to save your document in OneDrive.

When you save this document in OneDrive, you will be able to open the document anywhere: on your computer, tablet, or phone. Your changes will be saved automatically.

File > Save As (Backstage View in Word)

Select File > Save As, select a OneDrive location, and give this document a name.

Tip: When you are signed in to Office, you are automatically signed in to your OneDrive (learn more).

Share your document

Now that this document is in OneDrive, you can share the document. People you share the document with will not even need Word to open the document (more on that later).

Screenshot of Share Command in Word

Select Share near the top of the window (keyboard shortcut: press Alt, then Z and S). Send the link by typing someone’s email address or by copying and pasting the link. You can choose whether or not to allow editing.

Screen shot of the dialog box for sending a link. Specify permission for editing the document, and choose whether to send an email invitation or copy a link.

Do not have someone to share with yet? Try sending a link to yourself, just to see how everything works.

Edit at the same time

When recipients open your link, the document opens in their web browser, in Word Online, so they can edit the document even if they do not have Word installed.

People who would rather work in their Word app (Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android) can select Open in Word, near the top of the Word Online window, and continue editing in their Word app.

Conceptual illustration of real-time collaboration: colored markers show where 3 different people are editing a document. Each marker includes the person's name.Co-Authoring Users Show in top right hand corner of window

If you sent the document link to yourself, you can simulate co-authoring by editing the document here in Word and also in Word Online.

Everyone who is using Word Online or Word as part of an Office 365 subscription will see changes as they happen, and changes are saved automatically with AutoSave. If the people you are sharing with are editing in an older version of Word or if they are not an Office 365 subscriber, they will have to save the document periodically to sync their changes with yours.

Screen shot of the AutoSave switch in Word

Start a conversation with comments

When you want to give feedback or ask questions, use comments to start a conversation that’s connected to the part of the document you’re talking about. Replying to comments lets you have a discussion, even when you are not in the document at the same time as your colleagues.

On the Review tab, make sure Simple Markup or All Markup is selected so you can see the comment on this page. Then click on the comment and reply to the comment.

Screen shot of this document, showing the Reply button on a comment.

@mention someone in comments

When your document is stored in OneDrive for Business, you can call someone's attention to a spot in your document by typing the @ symbol, followed by their name, when you make a comment. They will receive an email notifying them that you mentioned them, with a link to the comment in the document.

A contact mentioned in a comment

Make a new comment and @mention yourself (Remember, this only works if the document is in OneDrive for Business, and if you are signed in to Outlook on your computer).

View Previous Versions of Office Files

  1. Open the file you want to view.

  2. Click File > Info > Version history

  3. Select a version to open the file in a separate window.

  4. If you want to restore a previous version you have opened, select Restore.

Keep track of changes

To stay on top of edits, use Track Changes to mark additions, deletions, and changes to formatting. When Track Changes is turned off, Word stops marking changes, but the marks made while Track Changes was turned on are still in the document.

With changes marked in the document, you can selectively accept and reject each change, removing the markup and making the changes permanent.

Screen shot of the Track Changes buttons on the ribbon.

Go to the Review tab, and use the Previous and Next buttons to go from one change to the next. Undo a change with the Reject button, or make a change permanent with the Accept button.

What about Microsoft Word & PowerPoint?

Learn more about collaborating on Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint files. 

Get Help

If you need additional assistance with Microsoft Word, please review related articles, or submit a ticket to the Help Center.

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Article ID: 99845
Tue 3/3/20 3:45 PM
Mon 3/8/21 10:44 AM