Microsoft has seriously upped the game on collaboration

Microsoft has been busy. With the release of Windows 10 in late July and now Office 2016 in September, users have had to adapt to a wide variety of new features in a short amount of time. They are both cloud-based and have quite a few new features. But when it comes to easy collaboration, one of our favorites is Skype in documents.

man sitting at laptop with head set

New Style, New Features

The Office experience is streamlined and, much like Windows 10 itself, reflects a fundamental change to the way Microsoft is distributing its software. It used to be the case that both Windows and Office had regular updates that required new purchases.

That’s not how it works anymore. Now, both Windows and the Office suite will consist of a steady stream of software updates. Microsoft has positioned Windows 10 as “the last version of Windows” because it is leaving the strategy of releasing major updates every few years. Now, new features and new upgrades will be rolled out in frequent software updates.

Collaborative Tools

A recent focus in these updates for Office is that Microsoft wants to enhance the experience of collaborating using Office software. Office is already the most popular set of programs for word processing, making presentations and creating spreadsheets, but MS wants to make working with Office even more rewarding by enhancing its collaboration tools.

One of the most exciting new developments in this area is Skype Document Chat. This is a new feature that allows users to chat over Skype quickly and easily while working inside an Office document. There is a “chat” button on the ribbon of Word and PowerPoint. Clicking on it opens up a chat that connects with everyone else working on the same document.

Chat Collaboration

This opens up a world of possibilities. Collaborating on documents is an extremely common business task, but actually executing it can be complicated. Voice tools involve opening up other software and aren’t the best option for everyone involved. Chatting works better, especially for testing out text and including the whole team. But that, too, required an external chat client.

Not anymore. The new Skype chat feature is perfect for collaborating on Word and PowerPoint documents quickly and easily. Asynchronous communication means people in different time zones can stay in touch and collaborate, which is much harder with voice communication. The fact that it is so easy to access means teams working on presentations, proposals and reports will have no trouble working together.

Ease of Use

Not only is getting into the chat simple, but the fact that it all works through Skype also means that the transition out of the document is seamless. Any author can close the document but stay in touch via desktop or mobile Skype. So, for example, your project head can keep chatting when they have to head across town for a meeting. This is a very cool element of this feature because it allows for an incredible degree of flexibility.

The Future of Office

Skype document chat is just one manifestation of the way Office is evolving to meet the changing needs of the workplace. It was already a must-buy for businesses, and Microsoft’s new approach to updates means features like this will be available as soon as the development team thinks they are ready, as opposed to getting packaged together into updates that come out every few years.

At MessageOps, we know everything you need to know about how Microsoft software works and how you can migrate to the latest version. If you’re interested in transitioning your business to Microsoft’s cloud-based suite of tools, contact us today to find the answers to all your questions.

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