Microsoft announced Wednesday Office 365 now includes co-authoring in Excel Windows desktops. Co-authoring is already available on the Windows desktop versions of Work, Excel and PowerPoint.
Co-authoring allows workers to see when someone else is working on a spreadsheet at the same time, to see where they’re working and view changes automatically within seconds.
Microsoft said it will gather feedback from Insiders who have access to the program before making the feature available more publicly.
Microsoft is not the first to offer real-time collaboration. Google is big on enabling co-authoring and workplace collaboration with its productivity suite. One of the key parts of its services is multiple users can work in a document at the same time.
Real-time collaboration is one of the functionalities reshaping enterprise software today and has become necessary for office software on the market.
Collaboration is already available for other Office 365 programs, but Excel is a lot more complex because it contains formulas and equations rather than just text. Excel is the industry standard when it comes to spreadsheets, partly because it got a much earlier start in the market. But Sheets users say the Google platform offers advantages around portability, price and cross-platform support.