Collaboration in Real-Time: Using Co-Authoring to Streamline Your Presentations

Collaboration Collaborate Connection Corporate Concept

Did you know that you and other members of your team could work on the same Word document at the same time? You can and it is called co-authoring. And now it has come to PowerPoint! I was working with a client on a product launch deck that was like a moving target. So, I uploaded it to One Drive, the Microsoft file hosting service, and then invited other members of the team to update their portion of the slide deck. No more version frustrations with version “X” when you are already on version “Y”! When you co-author your presentation, you can all work on the PowerPoint presentations at the same time.

Getting Started: The Basics

To co-author, the document needs to be on OneDrive consumer, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint server. For real-time co-authoring, the Office 365 document does have to be in the cloud, so it works with OneDrive or SharePoint Online, but not SharePoint server. If you store documents only locally on your computer, you can’t co-author.

Share your presentation with others and collaborate on it at the same time
  1.  Open your PowerPoint presentation, and choose Share in the top-right corner of the ribbon when you’re ready to collaborate.


       2.  Choose Save to Cloud and choose a location to save your presentation to.


NOTE: If you haven’t saved your presentation to OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365, you’ll be prompted to do so now.

3.  Once your presentation is saved to a shared location, you can invite others to work on it as well. In the Invite people box, enter the email address of the person you’d like to share the presentation with. If you already have the person’s contact info stored, you can just enter their name.


See where others are working in your shared presentation

Open the presentation and start working in it.

If someone else is viewing or working on the presentation, their thumbnail picture appears in the top-right corner of the ribbon. PowerPoint will alert you when people enter or leave your presentation.


You can instantly chat with the people who are working in the presentation by using Skype for Business. It opens a chat window for instant conversation. Choose the Skype for Business button to start a group chat with everyone working in the document.

Choose Comments icon-for-collaborate-4 to make or view comments. Also, you can reply to or resolve comments and then mark them as complete.

You’ll also see the name of anyone viewing or editing the presentation in the Share pane. There’s an indicator—on the thumbnail of the slide and in the actual slide—that shows where someone is working in the presentation.collaborate-5


When you’re done working, choose File > Save.

When other authors have made changes, you’ll see the following when you save.


If your updates and other authors’ updates don’t conflict, they’ll be merged automatically, and you don’t need to do anything else.

Resolve conflicting changes

If there are conflicting changes, a visual comparison between your changes and the conflicting changes from one of your collaborators will pop up when you select Save. You can choose the changes you’d like to keep.


NOTE: Only changes made by others that directly conflict with changes you’ve made will show up in the comparison. Non-conflicting changes will be merged automatically into your presentation when you save, and you’ll see them in the My Changes view.

  1. Choose either My Changes or Changes by Others.
  2. If there is more than one conflict to resolve, do one of the following:
    1. Choose Next to keep resolving conflicts. Choose Previous to revisit an earlier conflict.
    2. If you’d like to choose the same set of changes for all the remaining conflicts, select the Do this for remaining conflicts check box.
    3. When you’re done resolving conflicts, choose Done.
Document activity

The Activity pane lets you see the complete list of changes made so far. It also gives you access to the earlier versions. Choose Activityicon-collaboration-8 on the ribbon to see the Activity pane.


Real-time collaboration with auto-save

If you are an Office Insider who has an Office 365 subscription, you can use real-time collaboration with auto-save. This feature builds on the other work together features described in this article by allowing you to see what other users are doing (such as typing words) while they are doing it, and by auto-saving all edits that are made. Only one person can work in a particular box at a time. (You’ll see a brightly colored border around a box that another user is working in.)

Turn on this feature by going to File > Options > General, and selecting the option under Real-time collaboration options.



Special thanks to Kirk Koenigsbauer and Microsoft for the step-by-step content.

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