How to Collaborate In Microsoft Word

Do you need some help with your homework, or get feedback on a document for work- either way, learn how to collaborate in Microsoft Word using our guide.
How to Collaborate In Microsoft Word

There are many reasons why you might want to learn how to use MS Word’s various collaboration features. Maybe you need some help with your homework, or need to get some important feedback on a document for work - either way, collaborating in Word is easy and beneficial. Here’s how to do it.

TL;DR: Collaborate in Word

There are 3 ways to collaborate on Word documents

  • Share a document
  • Co-edit a document
  • Track and review changes
  • Word hacks are important.

Steps on How to share a Word Document

To share a file from within Word:

  1. Select “share” on the top ribbon of the page. Or, select File > Share.
  2. Select who you want to share with from the drop-down. Enter a name or email address into the field that comes up, or select a contact from the drop-down menu. You can add new contacts at any time or send the document to someone who is not on your contact list.
  3. Enter a message if you want and then press "send".
Share a document

Co-edit a document

Co-editing does not have any specific steps. It simply utilizes the track changes feature and the sharing methods above. When multiple people are working on any given document, the document will present on-screen flags of varying colors (one for each author) and the person’s name.

In offline mode, the changes will not appear automatically, and any changes must be made manually. This can prove to be a pain if more than one or two people are editing the same document.

After you share your document, you can work on that file simultaneously with others.

  • For the best experience, work together in Word for the web and see real-time changes.
  • Under Share, you will see the names of who else is also editing the file.
  • Colored flags show you exactly where each person is working in the document.
Co-edit a document

Collaborate on Word documents with real-time co-authoring

You'll cab coauthor in Microsoft Word, as long as you're a Microsoft 365 subscriber, using one of these versions of Word:

  • MS Word 2021 for Windows
  • MS Word 2021 for Mac
  • MS Word 2019 for Windows
  • MS Word 2019 for Mac
  • MS Word 2016 for Windows
  • MS Word 2016 for Mac
  • MS Word on a mobile device (Android, iOS, or Windows)
  • MS Word on iOS
Collaborate on Word document

Here's how to collaborate with co-authoring in real time:

  1. When someone shares an MS Word doc with you, the email you receive includes a link that opens the document in your web browser: in Word for the web. Select Edit Document > Edit in Browser.
    Edit word doc in browser
  2. If anyone else is working on the same document, you'll see their presence and the changes they're making. This is called co-authoring or real-time collaboration.
    Real time collaboration
  3. If you'd rather work in your Word app, switch from Editing to Open in Desktop App at the top of the window.
    Open Word in Desktop App

If you're using an older MS Word version, or if you're not a subscriber in Microsoft 365, you can still edit the document at the same time others are working in it, but you won't have real-time collaboration. To see others' changes and share yours, you'll have to save the document from time to time.

How to Track Changes in a Word Document 

To track and review changes

  1. Go to the “review” tab > then to “track changes”.
  2. To review changes made by other users, set the cursor before a change and either:
    • Hit “accept” to accept the changes or
    • Hit “reject” the change


Track changes in Word

Generally, any changes made will appear as blocks of text with red lines beside them.

Final Words

We hope that this article was able to help you learn more about Microsoft Word and just how powerful of a tool it is. Return to our page anytime you need further guidance regarding Microsoft’s word-processing app. 

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