With Office and OneDrive or SharePoint, multiple people can work together on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation. When two or more people are working at the same time, that's called co-authoring. See official article.
Co-Authoring and UpSlide
UpSlide supports Office co-authoring - with limitations. As an UpSlide user, you can collaborate simultaneously with your colleagues, and use UpSlide while they are reading or editing the same document.
More precisely, here are the conclusions we reached after testing UpSlide thoroughly:
- If all users have the document opened, but only one does modifications, UpSlide works flawlessly.
- Multiple users using native Office features on the same elements can generate conflicts. Even when none of them has UpSlide!
- Multiple users using UpSlide features on the same elements can generate conflicts.
Recommendations when using co-authoring
- Always have Autosave ON (see how to)
- Limit the number of co-authors
- Avoid co-authoring on key documents
- Prefer using co-authoring in Word and PowerPoint
- When an issue arrises, please refer to the official article for troubleshooting co-authoring
Why is Co-authoring limited?
As you have seen above, although Office (and UpSlide!) has supported co-authoring for several years, it has its limits. Depending on your Office usage and how many concurrent co-authors you have, you may experience issues with co-authoring.
Typically, two or three users making simple and infrequent changes work like a charm. But making significant changes to a document (move whole sections, execute macros, etc...) will likely cause synchronisation and merge issues. Sometimes, users will have to stop working until someone uses the Version history feature to revert to a working document version.
Actively using UpSlide features could worsen the problem. This is because UpSlide features automate lots of operations in a single click. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of having to resynchronize your changes - but so would doing the same operations manually!
To be clear, the limits are not technical but more by design. It is difficult to explain in detail if you haven't experienced it first-hand, and your mileage may vary. Still, the following article by the excellent Jan Karel Pieterse illustrates it well: issues will occur, and when it does, you'll have to jump through hoops to fix them.
Synchronisation issues are especially prevalent in Excel. This is because, in Excel, nothing is genuinely atomic. If you change a comma in a cell, it potentially affects your entire workbook, graphs included. That's why Microsoft implemented co-authoring in a very conservative way - often not merging changes automatically, prompting the user to make a choice, or just rejecting them - forcing one of the users to restart their operation or fix the workbook.