Monday, August 15, 2022
Uncategorized5 instruments you must know by heart to end the document co-editing...

5 instruments you must know by heart to end the document co-editing struggle

Collaborative Post

We choose to, or have to, work on documents collaboratively because it’s convenient, gets work done faster, and helps avoid file hoarding. But with all collaboration instruments available and adopted widely in nearly every business, do we know how to use them correctly?

Let’s discover five core collaborative tools in online editors, learn how to make the most of them, and get to know some online collaboration ethics – on the example of ONLYOFFICE Docs.

File sharing

Not really a tool, but rather a collaborative mechanism, file sharing is more than just sending a link so that you can show something or work together on the file without creating a copy.

When sharing your file with a colleague, you can choose one of many file permission types, meaning that the actions to be performed with the file can be selectively restricted.

Share a document with commenting rights to get advice and suggestions, or a reviewing permission to get it reviewed — all without a chance to accidentally or intentionally modify any source content.

In ONLYOFFICE, you can create an agreement, a brief, or any other form-like text using the Content Controls feature and share it with form filling rights to request information from someone but keep the file structure and layout intact.

When sharing a spreadsheet, it’s possible to allow for custom filtering. This helps when you share spreadsheet data and want to filter out some sensitive or irrelevant information to hide it from other users at the same time allowing them to apply any filters they want but only for their own private view.

Quite often we work with users outside of our online office, and using external link sharing where the recipient is not specified is quite handy rather safe at most of the times.

But don’t share every document externally — when the file contains classified data, sometimes it’s just safer to send a copy, because you are never sure where your link can end up and who sees it. Alternatively, you can apply any sharing permission from above or protect your externally shared file with a password.

Commenting

Using comments in documents is no rocket science, however, we often neglect the importance of a correctly made comment. Our objectives are to let the counterpart clearly understand our message and to act accordingly to solve the issue to complete our common task. Here are three main principles of a good comment:

  1. Always make sure you select the relevant part of the text, not more and not less, to comment on it.
  2. Describe your thoughts with all the detail while keeping the conclusion brief and short, so you are immediately understood without additional clarification.
  3. When (constructively) criticizing a decision, suggest your solution or offer a few options if you already have ideas to reach your common goal faster.

You can delete or solve comments, and these two actions have their own purposes. Solve comments to let everyone know the issue is handled but still allow access to historical comments in case you need to get back to them. Delete comments when clearing the document for submission once it is finalized.

Mentioning users in comments can help draw particular user’s attention to an inquiry and additionally signify it’s importance. Your colleagues will treat the issue with higher personal responsibility.

Tracking changes and reviewing

Track Changes and reviewing is an underestimated feature when it comes to writing something together, but not in real time — for example, when you need to have an article approved, or some blog post revised by a colleague.

Using highlighter to mark the changes in it is harder to work with, and doesn’t give a chance to see what was removed. On the contrary, change tracking helps understand who changed what and when, easily navigate through suggestions, and preview the document in different states — initial, markup, or final.

Not only does this feature allow to avoid confusions, it is also a much more polite way to suggest corrections and additions, keeping the document’s author fully responsible for the final result.

Version History

Version History is more useful than many may think, being an archive of all retrospective document changes.  Use it to find who is responsible for adding particular parts in a document, restore past contents that you accidentally or intentionally deleted, or to simply find out which version was in force at a particular time.

Document Comparison

With this feature, you can compare two separate files and check the uncommon parts one by one, which gives you a big deal of help when reviewing agreements, contracts, and other texts that were modified by someone and stored in a separate file.

Using the feature in terms of UI is similar to casual reviewing, with the two files merged in one and differences displayed as tracked changes. You can navigate them, accept or reject separately or all together, and preview the initially compared files.

There’s always more to our routine collaboration instruments than we think. Feeling inspired? Share our tips with your friends and colleagues and collaborate better together.

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