4 steps to get you collaborating in Office 365

May 30, 2019

One of the best features of Office 365 is the ability to work together. Wherever your team are based they can all work together using the powerful collaboration tools built into Office 365. If you’re not sure how to get started here are 4 top tips to get you collaborating in Office 365 in no time!

Create and save documents to the cloud by default.

Your documents are safer when saved to the cloud, whether you plan to work on a document with others or simply share it for review.

Go to save a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file in the desktop app using Ctrl-S or the Save button and the dialog box will default to OneDrive or SharePoint Online. This allows you to quickly set the filename and location. Once saved to the cloud, you’ll be able to access the file across all your devices.  

How to save Word documents to the cloud by default

If you forget to save a new document before you exit, you’ll see an updated save option directing you to the cloud. Because documents are automatically saved to the cloud, you can work with others, using features like real-time co-authoring, straight from the word go!

Once a document is in the cloud, AutoSave takes over, regularly syncing your documents to the cloud. Make sure you turn on AutoSave, then you won’t have to worry about pressing save or losing changes since edits are saved automatically.

If the AutoSave toggle is turned off, simply flip it “On” and store your file in OneDrive. It saves your file so that you don’t have to.

If you’re using Office in the browser, your files are already being saved automatically!

If you are saving files to your computer’s hard drive then you are leaving your important documents vulnerable to destruction or device theft.

Use Known Folder Move to easily backup and sync your desktop documents and folders to OneDrive, making OneDrive the default location for those files.

Once in a shared cloud document, you can co-author and even assign tasks using @mentions.

Stop spending time merging changes from colleagues into one document. Or sifting through emails for versions of a file. Simply share the Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation with collaborators and work together.

Once a cloud file is shared, you can work in the file on your own time or with multiple collaborators instantaneously. If you’re editing together in real time, you’ll see others’ changes in real time. Co-author with others on any device that works best for you – web browser, desktop, or mobile.

Collaborating in Office 365 with your team is easy using @mention and threaded comments to have a conversation right next to the relevant content in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Threaded comments and @mentions ensure that you always have context on what’s going on and enable you to easily have conversations about specific content with collaborators.

How to tag someone into an excel spreadsheet

To @mention someone, type “@” and the person’s name in the comment. The person you have ‘tagged’ will get an email notification, so they know they need to act. And, coming soon in Word, you will be able to assign tasks to others using @mentions.

At the time of writing threaded comments are available across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the desktop apps, web, and mobile. @mention is rolling out across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and is now available in Office Online, Office for iOS, Office for Android, and for Office Insiders on desktop. 

Work together with confidence in a shared document.

See what’s changed in your PowerPoint presentation while you were away.

If you’re collaborating in Office 365 on a PowerPoint Presentation with others, you can see who made the most recent changes, get up-to-speed quickly and start working. You no longer need to scroll through the whole deck to see what’s altered or carefully compare slides side-by-side. You’ll be able to tell easily if anyone has changed the slides while you were away and highlight the things that have changed.

collaborating in office 365 PowerPoint, image showing how changes to a slide deck are shown

Do you want to share a document with a colleague but avoid accidental changes?

You can set permissions on a shared document to “Restrict Editing” or “Always Open Read-Only”. By flagging the document as read-only, you are letting collaborators know not to make edits and guarding against accidental changes. 

Once the file is finalised, you may want to consider applying “Mark as Final”.

If a document is being used as a basis for a new document, users should always Save a Copy first to avoid changing the original file.

If you forget and make changes to the original file while AutoSave is on, no need to worry. You can easily restore a previous version through Version History. To see the list of previous versions of your files, you can go to File > Info > Manage Document.

How to find previous versions of a document whilst collaborating in office 365

You also have the option to click on the title bar at the top of your document and select Version History to see who edited your file and how the file has evolved over time. Click on “open version” to see the previous version of the document and compare edits or restore changes.

For existing documents, find and work on them on the web, mobile, or desktop, wherever you prefer. 

Find documents you’ve been collaborating on or share them with others from Office.com or the new Office app for Windows 10.

Office.com and the recently released Office app for Windows 10 are great ways to get started with Office.

In the documents section, you can easily find the documents that you have used most recently, pinned for easy access, or shared with others.

And, there is a curated list of recommended shared documents so that you can spend less time looking for what you need and more time getting things done.

Open file links in the Word, Excel, or PowerPoint desktop applications to start working where you prefer

If you are in the Office desktop apps and click on an Office 365 document link that others have shared with you, the file will open directly in the Office desktop apps instead of the web. This option to open files in the Office desktop apps will save you time by taking you to your preferred starting location.

If you prefer using Office on the web, your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files will continue opening in the browser.

Work better together by collaborating in Office 365

If your business is not already using Office 365, contact us today to talk about how to get collaborating in Office 365!

Nervous about making the switch to Office 365? We are experts in Office 365 migrations for small business. We work outside normal business hours to reduce business disruption. For an example of how we work see a case study of how we migrated our client AM Norris.

This article was adapted from 5 steps to get you collaborating more effectively in Office 365 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
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