Co-Authoring in Word 2010: Looking Good

I have been reading up on the 2010 wave of new products from Microsoft. Co-authoring documents is a particular interest of mine, and I read / digested / thought about this blog post from Jonathan: Co-authoring (i.e. Simultaneous Editing) in Word 2010

With our understanding how authors already collaborate on Word documents, we wanted to ease this process in Word 2010, rather than try to get authors to change the way they work. In Word 2010, you, Sean, and I can still divide up the work, co-author, review, and finalize just like we always would; but now we can do all of that in a single shared document. Sean and I can be authoring away, and you can begin reviewing the document.

You’ll just see a little toast from the status bar when you open the document so that you know that you aren’t alone.

If you read the whole post, you’ll see:
– that multiple people can open and edit the SAME document at the same time.
– you have in-document notification of presence.
– collaborative authoring requires new controls to be put in place. Eg, edits are *available* to shared whenever one authors *saves* their work. This is opposed to sharing changes at the “type character, push update” level.
– paragraph-level presence, to signal where other authors are currently working.

I’m the first to admit that this is a complex area. Whether Microsoft has gotten it *perfect* in Word 2010 remains to be seen (probably not, perfect is hard!), but what they have done is a huge step towards this end.

And finally, it’s great to see some of my Pillar 3 concepts (see 7 Pillars, from 2005) coming to life in Word.

Append: Wednesday February 3, 2010
Mmm, I wonder what effect “Auto-save” has on the sharing of what you are working on, when multiple people are working on the same document?

Categories: Scenarios