This guide describes how to set-up coauthoring for Word 2010 on a Microsoft Skydrive Account. It works, but it sucks. It’s slow, there are space limitations, and it gets grumpy frequently. Instead, you should check out PaDS.
Word 2010 Coauthoring
Word 2010 has introduced a new feature called “Co-Authoring.” Basically, it allows multiple users to simultaneously edit a single Word document in real time, with tools for merging edits and keeping things straight. It’s like Google Docs, but within Word.
Taking advantage of co-authoring was a big part of our motivation to switch entirely away from previous versions of Word. It solves one of the biggest problems I’ve had as a coach of an entirely paperless team – being able to help pull cards and organize speeches before a round starts. It also allows for both partners to simultaneously be working on the same Speech document.
It’s a little hard to get your head around without seeing it in action – but once you do, it’s obviously awesome. Getting this set up can be moderately difficult, and the finer points are outside the scope of this manual. It requires setting up a Microsoft Sharepoint server or integrating with their online Skydrive cloud storage service. If you’d like more information on it, feel free to contact me – or just ask for a demo the next time you see me at a tournament.
Here’s a brief how-to for those interested.
Step One – Install Word 2010
Co-authoring only works in Word 2010, so it will need to be installed on all computers you want to co-author with.
Step Two – Set up a Microsoft SkyDrive account
This comes for free with any Windows Live account. More info at: windowslive.com/online/skydrive
Step Three – Create a folder on your Skydrive
Log in and create a new folder in your Skydrive to store speeches in. We use one account for the whole team, with a separate subfolder for each team. It is recommended you use a “protected” folder rather than a public folder – otherwise your evidence will be accessible by anyone.
Step Four – Find Your SkyDrive WebDAV Address
This is the unique WebDAV identifier for your SkyDrive. There are several ways to find this, including using the built-in “Save To Web” function in Word 2010. I think the easiest method is to log in to your Skydrive in your web browser, and then take note of the URL. It will look something like this:
The WebDAV address is the alphanumeric code after “cid” – it’s the bold text in the example above.
Step Five – Setup SkyDrive as a network drive
There are several ways to map a network drive in Windows. For ease of use, it is recommended you set up a “batch” file in the following step. To do it manually, open Windows Explorer, right click on “Computer” and select “Map Network Drive.” Select a drive letter (we use Z), and in “Folder” put:
Make sure to replace the WebDAV address above with your own alphanumeric code, and the name of the folder you created instead of “DebateFolder.”
When it asks you for a username and password, use the information you selected when you signed up for Skydrive, and add “@hotmail.com” to the username:
That’s it! If you did everything correctly, you will now have access to your Skydrive account as a separate drive on your computer, accessible through Windows Explorer or Word. Now, to use co-authoring, just put a Word file on the server and open it simultaneously with 2 separate computers. Both users should then be able to make edits.
Step Six – Create a .bat file
Since reconnecting the Skydrive on each computer can be tedious, it’s easiest to write a batch file to automatically connect. To do this, create a new text file on your computer called, for example, “Skydrive.bat” Make sure that the file extension is .bat, not .txt. Insert the following lines of text:
net use z: \\docs.live.net@SSL\425e2847g321hh2e\DebateFolder * /user:email@example.com
Make sure to replace the WebDAV address, folder name, drive letter, and email address with your own information. Save the file somewhere convenient. Now, when you double-click the .bat file, it should prompt you for your password, then automatically open the network drive in explorer.
It’s not recommended to use the Skydrive as the main working directory for your Speech documents. Since it’s on the network, it tends to be much slower than the hard drive, and runs the risk of losing data or crashing Word in the event of connection problems. For safety, it’s best if the debater always saves a local copy to their hard drive before giving the speech, just in case.
Setting up Skydrive as a network drive: