Microsoft 365 collaboration tools allow you to work seamlessly together on multiple devices.
One of the great advantages of Microsoft 365 is its suite of collaboration tools. As a cloud-based subscription service, it allows people to work together in real-time and across multiple devices.
Before you think about collaborating, you must share the relevant files. Here’s how to share documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, with the same process available in apps like OneNote and Publisher.
A desktop PC or laptop is the most common place to work together remotely, but there is similar functionality on mobile devices and even through the Microsoft Teams app.
How to collaborate on files on the desktop
While there are more features available in desktop Office applications than on the web, the collaboration tools remain the same.
Open the file that you have shared with, or have shared with you.
If you have permission to edit, start typing and the information you enter will appear for other people.
You may only have the ability to comment:
- Highlight the text you want to comment on and right click
- Select ‘New Comment’ and type what you want to say. You can also use the @ button to tag specific people with whom the document is also shared
- The document owner can then reply to, delete, or mark as completed
Some documents will be set to view only, which means you can read the document but not make any changes. To edit, you’ll need to make a separate copy for yourself, but any subsequent changes won’t be visible to others unless you share them with them separately.
How to collaborate on files on your phone
The sharing process is largely the same as on the desktop, but the features are located in a slightly different place. The first thing you’ll notice are the four buttons at the top of the screen when you open the document.
To start editing, click on the first icon from the left which looks like a pen. The magnifying glass allows you to search within the document, while the next icon switches between print and mobile view (you can edit from both). Share, save, and print options are located on the right side of the screen.
To comment, the easiest way is to highlight the text while in mobile view and select ‘New Comment’. It works the same way as the desktop version. Documents that are read-only will usually be displayed in print view, although you may not need to open the respective application to read them.
How to collaborate on files using Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is designed to be the hub for all your collaborative needs, and this extends to editing documents right from within the desktop or mobile app.
- Open the Teams app and navigate to the channel (or create a new private conversation) where you want to share it
- In the general chat for the group, click the paperclip icon below the text box to attach the file
- Once uploaded, hit enter to share the file with the group
- You will now see the message you just sent, with a link to the document. Click the three dots to the left of the file and select ‘Edit in Teams’
- You will now see the web version of Word (or whatever Office application you are using), with changes saved in real-time and the ability to view the conversation at the same time.
Don’t want to commit to a Microsoft 365 subscription? Here’s how to get Word, Excel and PowerPoint for free.