A group of us are working on a document; it happens at school, work or church. We all use Microsoft Word, turn on the track changes option and away we go. Microsoft Word offers rich features that let us monitor different versions, identify specific changers by specific users, add comments or footnotes and so much more.
But the big drawback is that most of us email the documents around to each other, creating multiple copies and needless delays. Online document collaborations allow us to all that (and more) in real time, from virtually anywhere and maintain a single copy of the document with access to all.
· Accessibility: Collaborators don’t all need to have the same software, just internet access
· Functionality: Many online collaboration programmes have many of the same rich features as Word
· http://etherpad.com/: Basic collaboration, stripped down with built in chat
· http://docs.google.com/: Arguably most popular collaboration tool, offers word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications, lots of features like publishing to a blog or website
· http://www.zoho.com/: Takes collaboration a step further, but including a database application as well.
· http://live.office.com/: Unlike the other services, payment is required to access all the features and Microsoft Office required as well.
· http://thinkfree.com/: In addition to online mode, allows users to download apps and run from home computer while syncing with online account.
· Shift in habits: We’ve gotten used to Word, we need to adjust to the new paradigm
· Online access: Collaborators need to have reliable access to the internet, and even then editing is slightly slower online that in Word
Tech tip: Always keep a backup copy of your online documents, just in case.
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