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Nov 29 2016

Get Collaborative with Office 365

Microsoft has announced several updates for its Office 365 software suite that are supposed to make collaboration with co-workers easier and more efficient. The new capabilities include real-time co-authoring in PowerPoint, the ability to upload attachments to the cloud directly from Outlook, and more.

Ardent users of Microsoft products may have heard about or even worked with some of these functions, depending on whether they're acquainted with Redmond's collection of web apps and/or Office 2016: here, real-time co-authoring has been available in word processing programs since 2013 and 2015, respectively. The new Office 365 now expands these capabilities, enabling two or more employees to collectively edit a PowerPoint presentation on a shared Windows desktop. That way, co-authors can watch what their partners type as it happens on a given slide, and immediately suggest changes and present alternatives to the text or graphics on display.

Whether intended for SaaS or conventional usage, recent editions of Microsoft Office had added an interesting feature to Outlook, which these days lets users attach cloud-based documents to emails, in order to simplify working with one single file instead of a mess of competing versions. Useful as it is, the function wasn't entirely complete – until now: the latest version of 'Outlook 365' enables users to turn traditional attachments into shared cloud documents with just a few clicks. All they need to do is to upload a file to their personal OneDrive or a document library that belongs to an Office 365 Group and then specify sharing permissions for the email recipients – that's it.

Two other changes may be easily overlooked, but will definitely turn out to be particularly helpful for users who work with heaps of different files in different formats and run into troubles when trying to retrieve a specific shared document: Word, Excel and PowerPoint now all come with a "Shared with Me" tab on their "Open" screens that helps them track and trace the essay, spreadsheet or presentation in question. Likewise, the "Recent" tab shows a full list of recently opened documents, thus shortening the time it takes to access a specific file.

A complete list of the new features is available from Microsoft's Office Blogs, complete with video tutorials for the most important functions and further links.

 
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