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G Suite: Alerts when multiple people edit Microsoft Office files on Drive

What’s new: On October 17, 2018, Google will begin implementing Real-time presence – a feature that displays users in real time, for Microsoft Offcie files stored on Google Drive. The G Suite admin (all versions) now has management permission for this feature.

The real-time presence feature, appeared in Drive File Stream, will save you the trouble of not knowing which version of a Microsoft document you're saving on Google Drive. Because Microsoft Office files uploaded to Drive are not edited online like Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. So often users will not know who is editing this file. But now, the real-time presence feature will let users know: when someone else is editing a Word, Excel or Powerpoint file stored on Drive File Stream, in real time. This feature will roll out to all end users on October 17.

Avoid confusion when editing multiple versions of Microsoft Office documents on Drive

Real-time presence checks if someone is viewing or editing a Microsoft Office file at the same time that you are viewing it. The system will warn people who are viewing the same file, so that the user will know and avoid editing the document version that has not been updated.

In case both are editing the document, this problem will be solved by displaying both versions in one window, through which you can directly compare the differences between them. This way, you can easily merge versions into one complete document file. To view insights and better understand how this feature works, you can:

Admin already has management rights for these features

Admins can choose to enable or disable this feature for users in their business. This admin control has appeared and the feature is enabled by default. Rea-time presence can be disabled for the entire enterprise or for individuals in its sub-organizational unit (OU).

To change the settings, go to the Admin console, select Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Features and Applications > Allow users to enable real-time presence in Microsoft Office from Drive File Stream.

With settings at a more detailed and specific level, the admin can deploy configuration settings to enable or disable real-time presence for Microsoft Office files for each device.

End users can use this feature after October 17

On October 17, Drive File Stream users will receive a notification with instructions when opening Office files stored on Drive File Stream. The message section (as shown in the image below) explains that: Real-time presence allows users to see who is editing Microsoft Office documents stored on Drive. After choosing to use this feature, users will begin to see a status section in the lower right corner of the Word, Excel, Powerpoint screen, indicating whether someone is viewing or editing the document. You will receive notifications like:

  • Safe to Edit: No one is editing this document
  • Wait to edit: Someone else is editing, so if you also edit the document at the moment it will create multiple versions.
  • New version created: Someone else finished editing, saved, and created a new version.
  • New version created (conflict): When you are editing the document, someone else also starts to open the file and edit. You will have the option of viewing two versions at the same time to see the differences, as well as to merge the content.

On devices running the macOS operating system, when real-time presence is enabled, the user may be asked to grant access. In addition, some users will be asked to confirm their identity before using real-time presence, by logging into their G Suite (GG Workspace) account. Starting October 17, employees using G Suite in business will be able to visit the Help Center to learn more about how to use this feature.


Update: Gimasys

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