Login | June 03, 2020

Document collaboration with word processing you already have

Technology for Lawyers

Published: September 27, 2019

Sure, practice management platforms like Clio, Abacus, etc. offer document collaboration. But most small firms and solos don’t want to pay for those platforms.

There are also stand-alone doc collaboration products, some of which are even free.

But there is no reason to download third-party document collaboration apps when that function is actually built into Word 365 and Google Docs. Here’s a brief overview of how to do that with the source linked at the end.

Word. Open the document and click the review tab in the ribbon and click the “Track Changes” button. The click file and then “Share.” The default is “People you Specify Can View.” Click on that to get to “People You Specify and click on that, then “allow editing” and “apply” to allow those people editing function.

Recipients/ co-authors will have to log into an Office account through their email to have access to the document—either through their own Office 365 account or through a free Office.com account that the recipient can set up at the time. You could also just send a link, but that link can be shared, and would probably breach confidentiality.

Access to the document can be time-limited or removed altogether through the by clicking on the “…” in the top right corner, click “manage access” and then either x-out the person or set an expiration for the collaboration.

The collaboration document appears in the remote contributor’s browser; the changes are only tracked on the original document.

You can also collaborate in Google Docs and G Suite, which have collaboration functions built in.

First, either upload a doc to Google Docs or create one inside that platform.

Once there, the collaboration works similarly to Word’s. On the far right of the screen is a “share” button. Click it and go to “advanced” to see what the options are for sharing the document. Once the collaboration is set, the other authors get sent a link or a log in notice and will need a Gmail account to access. Not a business account, which is actually a little strange and potentially unsecure, but whatever.

Once the document is complete, it can be saved (with a new file name) and downloaded.

More detailed step-by-step instructions for doc collaboration in Word and Google Docs is here: https://cpm.ncbar.org/2019/08/13/silver-and-gold-online-document-collaboration-and-track-changes/