The Office Web Apps suite of web-based productivity applications recently received another feature update, it’s second such update in the past two months. I first blogged about Office Web Apps back in September 2010 and touched on the feature set available to anyone with a LiveID such as users of Hotmail and SkyDrive. Office Web Apps has been a phenomenal success with close to 50 million people having used this service since it went live on Hotmail and Skydrive back in 2010. Back in May of 2011, I posted another blog about updates to the Excel Web App which included new features like auto-sum, the ability to insert new sheets, a formula assistance pop-up and more. Well, the Office Web Apps team is at it again and this time they’ve added the ability to Co-Author documents in Word Web App. What this means is that for the first time ever, two people with Live ID’s can work on the same document at the same time on a document hosted on Skydrive. OK, so how does it work? Both users see a visual cue of the name of the other person editing the document.
Once two users are editing the document, the paragraph of the document that each user is locked so that the other user doesn’t make changes to the paragraph he/she is actively authoring. Each user will be able to identify that the other user is making changes to a particular paragraph by additional visual cues like dotted lines around the left edge and the other user sees a lock with your name on it.
Once one of the users editing the document saves their work, the status bar at the bottom of the screen in your browser tells you that a change has taken place and you should do a refresh of the document:
Pretty cool stuff, I encourage you to check it out. For more information on this announcement, feel free to see the Office Team Blog Post on this feature.