Real time co-authoring in MS Word 2016

Steel Contributor

I was working with my manager this morning on an MS Word document saved to a SharePoint Online library.  We were both working in MS Word 2016 (rich client) but we did not have a very good real time co-authoring experience. He saw that I was also editing, but I didn't see that he was, we had to save the file to see each others updates (Word 2013 experience),  at one point I exited and re-opened the document.  I thought co-authoring in the Word 2016 rich client was real time.  I though I would see that he was editing and what he was editing and I would see his changes as he made them. 


What's up with this?  Did I misunderstand how it was supposed to work?  Is it flaky?  What is your experience?


Thanks - Greg

7 Replies

Never had a problem with it could be network issue

Do you co-author frequently? Do you do it on different networks (E.g. wired, wireless, off site, from home)? Have you noticed variations in functionality on these different networks? 

I co-author frequently and my experience is that with Word 2016 it works but updates are not constantly showing while they are being typed. It really depends on the speed of the internet that you are working on (and the co-author as well).

I presume that you used the default settings from word while using co-authoring (always share and presence flags unchecked) and that you installed the lastest updates from Word as well.


Real time Co-authoring works best (IMHO) with Word online, but we all know that the features there (and known issues with tabs, fonts etc.) are too limited.

I thought the real-time co-authoring experience was one of the key benefits of MS Word 2016 with other MS Word 2016 users.   Did I misunderstand something?  Based on my experience and @Mike Platvoet experience it is pretty variable.  Does anyone else want to weigh in?  MSFT?????

The Microsoft Garage video supports the theory that you should see as they type.


Did either of you get the message "Do you want to automatically share changes as they happen?"


I've just tested it as follows:

Both open a Word document in Sharepoint Online

Both chose to Edit with Word

I said Yes to the 'automatically share changes as they happen' prompt.

I could see the characters appear as the other person typed and they could see mine.

Both running Windows 10 wired to the same office LAN





My experience is flaky as well, as said before the only 'good' experience seems to be when co authoring in the browser

My experience with collaboration is flaky. I suppose it works well when in the same office with a wired system, but I am in one place with one internet provider and my co-author is in another place with a different internet provider. We are using Office 365 without Sharepoint. 

My connection to the internet is via Spectrum Cable. My partner is in another city and has a cable connection. Both should be fast

We do not see the changes the other has made unless we log out and back in then we see the changes. We have occasionally seen changes as they are made but not always. We do not use the online version because of limitations. We are using Word 2016--

We both get messages that the other has made changes and the message says to open the message and see a summary of changes the other has made. There are never any changes shown.

In summary, collaboration is happening, but not as advertised. I think there are things we both can learn about it, but it is not very satisfactory as is.