• Still emailing documents?

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    MICROSOFT 365 By Peter Deegan Online collaboration with Microsoft 365 is a lot easier — and faster, too. Document collaboration is now possible and pr
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    • #2389432

      Thanks for the great article, Peter – good to see you on here!

      You don’t mention Teams (probably by design – you can’t cover everything in one short piece). I’ve become increasingly impressed with document collaboration on Teams – if you edit within the app, it’s a bit like using the web version of Word/Excel/PowerPoint and gives you some more options for commenting/chat.

      I have to admit that I prefer Box for collaboration on some documents, though, due to it’s automatic version control.


      • #2389505

        Ah yes, Teams.  Wait until next month for that <g>.

        Teams does have Office in a browser in-built along with other features … possibly too many features.  People tend to get overwhelmed with choices when faced with Teams for the first time.

        Straightforward linking to a document doesn’t have all that other stuff and is less likely to confuse.  People can focus on the document du jour without the distraction of Teams.


        Peter Deegan

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    • #2389488

      @Peter_Deegan writes that,

      Online collaboration is way better than emailing documents. If you email a document to one person for comments or edits, the sender usually stops changing the doc until there’s a reply.

      This is precisely the reason that we prefer using email over online collaboration. As the editor-in-chief for a small book publisher, it’s my responsibility to keep the editorial/revision process running smoothly. We have tried online document collaboration and, in our experience, it creates more problems than it solves. Authors will make changes that were neither requested nor announced, and they cannot be relied on to refrain from undoing fixes that we made. The risks and complications rise exponentially as more people work on the manuscript at the same time.

      Book editing is already complicated enough as it is, and having to deal with constant changes on top of everything else has only made things worse. When you are handling book-length documents, you cannot afford to let the document keep getting changed as you work your way through its current state. That is an open invitation to overlooking modifications, requiring duplicative review of things that were already done.

      The bottom line is that working concurrently with other people on the same document becomes an administrative nightmare, and ends up creating far too much unnecessary work. Having a document that is worked on serially by the people involved is conceptually much simpler, it decreases the amount of work involved, and it decreases the risk of unwanted changes sneaking in.

      Others may have a different experience with online collaboration, but for us it has given us nothing but headaches. We don’t do it any more.


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      • #2389509

        Firstly – let’s be clear.  Use whatever system works for you.  Exchanging documents via a team of trained marmosets if that’s best <g>.  My purpose is to suggest possibly better alternatives with modern tech – not impose new rules.

        The problems you describe can be solved with limited access — either Read Only (people email or message comment separately) or Review/Comment access where they can add comments to the document but not edit the comments.

        Or force Track Changes on so you can review/accept/reject any additional changes made by others.

        In the end, anyway you choose that works for you and your collaborators is OK.

        Peter Deegan

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