Microsoft Garage’s Project Lively helps you in document collaboration

Microsoft Garage’s latest project is called Project Lively. It is a Office add-in that tries to combine the best of both worlds between traditional files and online storage. It provides a zero-configuration system whereby offline, “dead” files work exactly as you expect, in ways that are perfectly familiar to everyone, and yet are always live with the latest content and changes from multiple authors, and are always backed up to the cloud.

How does it work?

Jane creates a new file. She types out a couple of paragraphs and then saves it the regular way, using File > Save. Then she adds a paragraph to the end of the document. Then, after setting up Project Lively, she hits the Save button inside the add-in windows.

And at that point, she wants to share it with her colleague Karina. So Jane composes an email to Karina attaches the file the usual way and hits send. Ordinarily the file would be static, but with Project Lively, it’s won’t be.

Karina opens the file and installs Project Lively and turns it on for the file from Word’s Home ribbon.

Because Jane had made some changes after saving file in the traditional way — and then saved those changes with Project Lively on her PC — Project Lively on Karina’s PC will inform Karina that updates are available.

Karina hits the yes button, indicating that she would like Project Lively to refresh the document automatically with the newest changes, without asking each time. Like magic, the newest paragraph shows up at the bottom of the document.

Sure enough, when Jane adds another paragraph at the end of the document and hits Lively’s save button, those changes will show up immediately on Karina’s PC.

It is important to note that Project Lively does not attempt to handle merge conflicts. You can download and install the add-in here.

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