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Save time—and email messages—by working together on a document online. After you post your Word document to SharePoint or OneDrive, everyone on your team can open it and make changes—even at the same time.

If your file is saved on OneDrive or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, you can work on it in Word for the web by clicking Edit Document > Edit in Word for the web.

When someone else opens the document, Word alerts you and puts a notification in the status bar. Click the notification to see who’s working with you.

Names of authors working in a file

You can tell where other people are working on the document.

Author's name where the author's working in the document.

Every time you save the document, your edits become available to the other people who are working on it. They see your edits as soon as they save their work. And any changes they’ve made appear on your screen with a green background. The background goes away the next time you save, and it doesn’t appear when you print the document.

Editing is first-come, first-served. When you start to change text, that area’s locked and no one can overwrite your changes. But if someone starts to edit at the exact same time, or if someone works on the document while they’re offline, Word shows you any conflicts the next time you save. Choose which changes you want to keep.

When you need Word

Sometimes, you might not be able to edit your document in Word for the web.

For example, if your document includes comments or tracked changes, Word for the web prompts you to open the document in Word before you can make changes.

For more information about situations in which you might need to open a document in Word, see Differences between using a document in the browser and in Word.

If coauthoring isn’t working

If you aren’t able to work together in a document, here are some things to check:

Word version

Is someone working in Word 2007? Coauthoring works in Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word for Mac 2011, but not in earlier versions of Word.

File type

Is the document a .doc file? If it is, you can work together by converting the document to a .docx file.

Marked as final

Is the document already final? If it’s marked as final and you want to make changes to it, click Edit Anyway in the bar at the top of the document.

Save settings

Is the document’s Store random numbers to improve Combine accuracy box checked? (Click the File tab > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Privacy Option. In the Document-specific settings section, check the Store random numbers to improve Combine accuracy check box.)

Policy settings

Are policy settings in place? Certain Microsoft Office policy settings prevent coauthoring, including Disable Automerge Client Policy, Disable Co-Authoring Client Policy, and Disable Co-Authoring Server Policy.

Things inside the document

Does the document contain OLE objects, macros, or HTML framesets? Does the body of the document contain an ActiveX control? Or is the document a master document or a sub document? If the answer’s yes to any of these, coauthoring won’t work.

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