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The Internet makes it possible to work together with people who are geographically separated from you. It’s often necessary to edit the same document together. The value of collaborative work increases year after year. When you use Microsoft Office Web Apps, it’s easier to collaborate with others because you can send links to documents instead of attachments. This saves you from having multiple versions of a document sent to other people for approval and editing.

There are times, though, when it’s important to know who made the requests or any edits and where they were made. This greatly affects the organization of the process and the responsibility of everyone working on the document. Even though it’s sometimes difficult to work together, Word gives you the ability to control the history of edits and revisions in documents. How to do it correctly is another question.

What is MS Word and is it a useful app

Previously, typing was done on a typewriter (or typewriter). And there, in order to correct something in the text, one had to retype an entire page, or even several pages. True, there were expensive typewriters with special ink ribbon which allowed to make imperceptible corrections of letters, replacing certain letters of the text with other ones. But such typewriters were very rare.

With the advent of computers and word processors, working with texts has become much easier. In particular, it’s no longer a problem to make any corrections and additions to the texts. In Word, there are many tools to beautifully and clearly design texts. For registration of the text, you can choose the size, style and color and type of the font. In the text, you can insert a picture, figure, photo, chart, table, list, formulas, diagrams and links to other materials. For easy navigation through the text, you can design headings and text content, as well as insert footers and add watermarks if necessary.

The file created in Word can easily be printed out on a printer. To do this, the program has a “Print” command. Incidentally, the program Word was one of the first to allow pages to be printed on the printer exactly as they appear on the screen. There’s no shifting of text or moving of pictures when printing.

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Why a document is not editable

Users who frequently work in Microsoft Word may occasionally encounter certain problems. This happens when you try to open a “foreign” file, that is, one that was not created by you or was downloaded from the Internet. In many cases, such files are readable but not editable, and there are two reasons for that.

The first reason is limited functionality mode (compatibility issue). This mode is enabled when trying to open a document created in an older version of Word than the one that is used on a certain computer. The second reason is that the document cannot be edited due to protection installed on it. In a Word document that cannot be edited, almost all of the items on the Quick Access Toolbar and in all of its tabs are inactive. Such a document can be viewed and its contents can be searched, but the “restricted editing” notification will appear if you try to change anything in it.

If the edit restriction is set to “formal”, that is, the document isn’t password protected, you can try to disable the restriction. Otherwise, only the user who set it or the administrator of the group (if the file was created in the local network) can open the editing possibility.

What about checking on who made edits in Word document

As already mentioned, Word has a special option that helps to monitor the process of editing a document from each participant. However, it isn’t enabled by default and before working on a project, you should enable Track Changes and only then will Word record all changes. This is how to do it on a PC:

  • Open a Word document.
  • Go to the “Review” tab.
  • Click on the icon above the words “Track Changes.”
  • Now, you can send out the document to someone else.
  • If you get the document back, you can see the new changes indicated in a different color.

So when someone else joins in the editing process, you should definitely tell them to turn on Track Changes. Otherwise the whole process will be missed. Well, if you have warned everyone and start working according to plan, then this is how you can customize the display of the change history:

  • Click on the “Review” tab.
  • Go to the “Track Changes” icon.
  • Click on the drop-down menu instead.
  • Pick from the four options.

The last options are the levels at which all changes are displayed, i.e. All Markup is the display of all edits down to the smallest detail, and the rest accordingly show more detailed information about the changes.

Does using Google drive help to manage collaboration in Word

For those who need to frequently collaborate on one project in Word, it’s worth considering working with Google Drive. The point is that this way you’ll have access to riel-time collaboration and it will be easier for you to navigate the process. Moreover, you’ll not need to enable and disable the option Track Changes all the time, as it will be enabled by default through Google Drive. This is how you can check who is editing the document:

  • Launch Drive for Desktop on your computer.
  • Open the Word document you want to check.
  • Take a look at whether the status says “Safe To Edit” or “Wait To Edit.”
  • Click on a person in the list of participants and see who’s editing or viewing.
  • Repeat as long as necessary.

When someone finishes editing and saves the updated version of the document, you’ll be notified. In addition, you can also combine the two files into one:

  • Click on “Compare Versions” on the app.
  • Copy all the changes from the left side to the latest document on the right side.
  • When done, select “Save.”
  • Your older version of the file will then be deleted.

It’s worth mentioning that this method of collaboration is only possible for those who have Office 2010 and later. Mac users will have to change some system permissions too.

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How to change Mac System Permissions

Mac users will have to do a little bit of engineering in order to use the Google Drive method. In general, you should first install the Google Drive app itself on your Mac to try this method. And then you just have to give permission. It’s very easy to do:

  • Go to “System Preferences” on your Mac.
  • Head to “Security & Privacy.”
  • Select “Privacy” and then “Accessibility.”
  • Scroll to the bottom and click on the lock.
  • Ensure the Google Drive box is checked.

This is how you allow the app to access your computer and make changes. These permissions can be revoked at any time using the same method. Furthermore, using the Google Drive method, you can also accept or reject new edits (if you’re the project leader). This saves a lot of time. Especially useful is the comments option, which are displayed on the margins of the document, so it’s easy to read who and where left a note on some part of the document.

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