How to Co-Author Office Documents in SharePoint Online?


Have you explored SharePoint too just enough? The platform is more like a central place where you can store files and access the information for various departments. Many businesses use SharePoint online to help them collaborate and work together as a team on multiple things. 

SharePoint Co-Authoring brings unique solutions for organizations looking for methods to work together from a central location.

You and your colleagues can co-author files like Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel. It avoids the confusion of keeping multiple copies of the same document. 

What exactly is SharePoint Co-authoring?

Co-Authoring helps multiple people to work on a single document at any point. SharePoint enables the changes to happen in real-time. How many times did you struggle to lose the data due to minor inconvenience? 

The best part of using SharePoint co-authoring is that you can work on the offline files. After internet connectivity, all the updates will be synchronized, and the document will be changed. Also, know that people won’t be able to view the changes when you work offline. 

There are many important concepts to understand the co-authoring documents in SharePoint. The platform stores the documents in containers that are called libraries. They are a good spot to store multiple versions of the documents and provide control over the changes. 

How do you co-author Office files?

When you save the Office files in Teams, SharePoint, or OneDrive, you can work on them with other users. It is possible to use this feature on the online app or desktop app by following the below process:

  • Choose the Share in the upper right corner 
  • Add the email address of the people you want to work with on the file. Or you have their contact information in your address book, then enter their names
  • Type a message if you want to
  • Choose Send

What are the things to consider while SharePoint Co-authoring?

The co-authoring functionality in SharePoint requires minimal effort to manage. But there are certain elements that you must be aware of to handle the SharePoint guide for co-authoring:

  • Check Out: When a user checks out a document from editing, it will be locked for editing. It will prevent co-authoring on that file. Avoid enabling the Require Check-out feature in the document libraries you plan to co-author. 
  • Number of Versions: The count of document versions affects the server’s storage. Try setting this number in the document library settings to add limitations in the number of versions. To avoid unnecessary space, set the number to a reasonable one in the document libraries. 
  • Permissions: Every user that wants to edit the documents requires the right permissions in the document library where the document is stored. The simplest method is to assign all the users the permission to access the SharePoint site. 
  • Versioning: The SharePoint server versioning helps track the changes on the documents that are being edited and stores the previous version for reference. This feature is turned off by default in the SharePoint server. The platform supports major and minor versioning. 
  • Count of Versions: The number of file versions has a major effect on the storage requirements. Users can set this number in the document library to add limitations in the versioning. 
  • Versioning Period: It will determine how often the SharePoint server creates a version for a document. If you are using Excel in SharePoint, there are chances where you can set this period to a lower value for capturing versions more often and get a detailed version. 

How does SharePoint co-authoring work with Office?

To have the permission to co-author a document, you need to have versioning, and check-in/out turned off. A document stored in the document library of SharePoint can be accessed by over 100 people concurrently. 

It can be done either by opening the document using Office Web Apps or opening using the desktop compatible edition of Microsoft Office. 

  1. Word

 Co-Authoring works perfectly with Word documents. When two or more users edit a single document at the same interval, they can see each other’s presence and changes in real-time. 

  1. Excel

The SharePoint Co-authoring works with the native Excel app and Excel online. Users get to see the presence of other users in the top right corner of the app. When users edit the cells, it happens in real-time and is highlighted with the user indicator. 

  1. PowerPoint 

It is used in PowerPoint to collaborate in real-time. You will be able to view the presence of other users in the PowerPoint Online and native PowerPoint application. 

What is the usage of co-authoring functionality in SharePoint? 

In the traditional collaboration method, documents were shared using email attachments. Tracking the latest versions and editing from the multiple authors was a time-consuming and challenging task. Email systems store various versions of the same file, increasing the network traffic as different versions of the documents are sent repeatedly. 

Storing the documents for collaboration provides consistent access to the updated versions of the document. The centralized management helps to allow the user to track earlier versions. Keeping a single document reduces network and SharePoint storage consumption. 

Co-Authoring in the SharePoint server lets multiple people work on a single document at any interval without interfering with anyone else’s working area. The approach will streamline the workflow: 

  • Two or more authors can work on a different part of a single document. When one author works on one part of the document, another can work on other segments without interrupting each other. 
  • A file is sent to several experts and stakeholders to let them do some edits and modifications. SharePoint ensures that no improvements are lost as everyone works on a server-stored and central location. 
  • Multiple authors are working on a slide show where each can add and edit slides instead of working on separate presentations and merging them later. 


The SharePoint Co-authoring helps enhance the performance and scalability of business in a supportive environment. The perfect time of synchronization ensures that everyone is updated in real-time.  

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