Collaborate on Word documents with real-time co-authoring

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Applies to: Word for Office 365, Word for Office 365 for Mac, Word for the web, Word 2019, Word 2019 for Mac, Word 2016, Word 2016 for Mac, Word for Mac 2011.

Once someone shares a Word document with you, the e-mail you obtain is embedded with a link that launches the document in your web browser: in Word for the web. Pick Edit Document > Edit in Browser.Select Edit in Browser to edit in Word for the web

If anyone else is working on the document, you’ll observe their activity and their current changes. We call this co-authoring, or real-time collaboration.Real-time collaboration

From here, if you’d prefer working in your Word app, change from Editing to Open in Desktop App, near the top of the window.

Open in Desktop App

Want a guided tour? Download this Collaborate in Word learning guide, or type Collaborate in the search box in File > New in Word (works best in versions 2016 and later for Windows).


You’ll still be co-authoring, given you’re an Office 365 subscriber, using one of these versions of Word:

  • Word 2016 for Windows
  • Word 2016 for Mac
  • Word on a mobile device (Android, iOS, or Windows)

If you’re using an older version of Word, or if you’re not a subscriber, you can still modify the document simultaneously whilst others are working in it, but you won’t have live collaboration. To see others’ changes and share yours, you must save the document at regular intervals.

Documents with Macros (.docm)

If your document includes macros (.docm), you can freely edit and collaborate. You can access and alter the content like any other document, including running macros. If you must edit the macro code, merely check out the file, amend the code, and check it back in.

Learn more about macros

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