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Microsoft Office 2010 Collaboration User's Guide

Tips for collaborating via the new co-authoring and virtual presence features Microsoft has built into its Office 2010 suite, to kick your teamwork into high gear.

Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
(click image to view gallery)
Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
Microsoft Office 2010 includes ways to communicate and collaborate that go far beyond what had been available in prior versions of the world's most popular office productivity suite. Here are some specific approaches for how individual users as well as small and midsize businesses can take advantage of the new capabilities of Office 2010.

Collaboration With Co-Authoring

It's hard to jump in and contribute on a document that's squirreled away in a local folder on someone's PC. That's why the co-authoring feature in Office 2010 has the potential for transformative change in content development and workflow.

Co-authoring allows multiple people to work on the same Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010 or OneNote 2010 document at the same time. In order for co-authoring to work, the document has to be placed either on someone's Windows Live "SkyDrive" (free 25MB to anyone with a Windows Live ID) or on a shared folder in SharePoint 2010. From there, multiple Office 2010 users can open the document at the same time for simultaneous editing.

Once people realize that they can jump in to review, comment upon and contribute to documents without locking others out, they'll be more likely and willing to lend a hand. But careful planning should be a prerequisite. For most people, co-authoring represents new territory, and the ground rules and etiquette handbook for co-authoring have yet to be written.

For example, how will it feel to have the workplace grammarian virtually following you around to quietly fix your split infinitives? Who reconciles differences in opinion in terms of usage, style and formatting when these debates are happening in real-time? And are you ready for a workplace where your boss can look over your shoulder at any time to see exactly how far you've gotten on the Penske file?

Just because it's easy to have everyone pile into a document doesn't mean that you should deploy the technology without adequate planning and forethought.

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