What is real-time editing?
If you want to maximise the productivity and efficiency of your team and, in turn, improve the quality of the work you produce, real-time editing tools are an incredibly effective solution.
Real-time editing means that multiple team members are able to work on a single file simultaneously, and that any changes to that file update for every user, almost instantaneously. Real-time collaboration relies on online, cloud-based applications that allow any number of users to access and edit files synchronously from computers, tablets or mobile devices.
Real-time editing tools on Dropbox Paper
Dropbox doesn’t just enable real time editing, it amplifies it. A robust collaborative editor, Dropbox Paper allow teams to really capitalise on the benefits of live editing, with tools that facilitate a fluid, consistent workflow.
Dropbox Paper goes far beyond being just a collaborative text editor. Your team can transform the blank canvas of Dropbox Paper into fully functional workspace not just for production, but for every step of a project’s lifespan.
Create checklists and to-do lists on the go and instantly notify your co-workers whenever changes are made. Within a single Dropbox Paper document, you can add many types of content, from text, to links, to checklists, even SoundCloud clips and YouTube videos. That means that you can see an entire project from the early strategy-planning stages to the feedback and finalisation stages all within a single, flexible space.
Have more meaningful meetings
The ability of co-workers to collaborate in real time means that you can save not just time, but money and resources too. Before real-time editing, if a team needed to work collaboratively, in real time, the only real way to do so would’ve been through an in-person meeting.
That means needing a space, needing to get everyone in the same room and either sharing a computer or having to send files back and forth. Even once you’re in the same room, working collaboratively on the same document without live editing would still be a stalled process.
Of course, when you collaborate in person, you’re limited to those who are local, while real-time editing allows you to expand your resource pool and work collaboratively, and efficiently, with anyone in the world.
Where in-person meetings are still necessary, real-time editing can be used to really make the most of them. Dropbox Paper has customisable agenda and meeting minutes templates which, coupled with live editing, allow for a more focused, productive meeting. Everyone can take notes in real time in the same place, without needing to depend on a single minute-taker, ensuring that all the important info is easily accessible to the entire team.
Let’s say you and your teammates are off-site at a workshop, learning about a client’s new products that you’ll be campaigning. Rather than each person taking their own notes and then having to merge them after the fact, you could instead all work on the same document, saving you time and ensuring that no detail goes unmissed.
Synchronous multi-tasking with real time editing
Imagine a team is producing an article for their website’s blog. They might have one or two people researching the topic and adding their notes to a Dropbox Paper file. At the same time, the writer of the article can monitor the research as it comes and get a head start on production.
If there are any changes in the brief or additional notes after production has begun, team members can easily add these notes as annotations on the same Dropbox Paper document, tagging the writer so they’re instantly notified.
Without real-time editing, these tasks would’ve had to occur consecutively, not simultaneously. This doesn’t just take time, but it also means having to send new versions of files or lengthy email chains whenever there’s an update, which could lead to messy and confusing file management as your documents begin to stack up.
Real-time editing lets everyone work within a single space, so you won’t have to navigate endless near-identical files to make sure you’ve got what you need.
Productive reviews with live editing
Real-time editing makes the review and feedback process more efficient and productive than ever.
Continuing on from our last example, once the piece is written, you may need to run it by not only a proofreader or reviewer, but also clients, partners, legal teams and other relevant parties. Through real-time editing, you don’t need to wait for one person to add their notes before the next can hop in. Everyone can annotate the document at the same time and talent can get straight into implementing feedback as it comes through.
If you have a two-step review process, real-time editing saves the hassle of having to save and send each amended version separately. The moment the first review is complete, you can quickly notify the next reviewer at the click of a button, so the work can continue to flow organically.
It might be a case of having a massive work file, perhaps a spreadsheet with thousands of product descriptions, for instance. You’d be wise to split the review across a few editors, but you don’t want to keep them waiting for their turn. Live editing means you can have different users working on different sections of a piece at the same time, so you can speed up the review stage significantly.
Effective feedback with real-time collaborative editing
You can streamline the entire feedback process with live editing.
If comments and feedback are coming from more than one person, you want to make sure that it’s easy to see all the important notes all in one place. It’s a hassle to have to go through numerous email chains, chats and document mark-ups to gather all the feedback and notes you need, and it can lead to important points being missed.
Annotations on Dropbox Paper allow any user with access to add their feedback directly to the document they’re reviewing. Beyond Paper, you can annotate photos, PDFs, Excel files, Photoshop files and more, without needing any additional software.
When you tag a co-worker, either as a comment or in the body of a Dropbox Paper document, they’ll be instantly notified and the owner of the file is notified of any changes whether they’re tagged or not. This means the flow is never interrupted and you can keep the ball rolling without delays.
With real-time editing, important feedback is always easy to find, manage and implement. You can easily see what the feedback is directly alongside the specific section it relates to, who gave the feedback and any discussions among team members about that specific feedback, neatly arranged in digestible threads.
It allows for a more organised work environment, which will ultimately improve the quality of the work you produce as you’ll be better equipped to identify and overcome any problems that arise, as they arise.
Whatever feedback process or workflow works for you and your team, you can enhance it with real-time editing in Dropbox Paper.
Real-time editing with Microsoft Office and Google Docs files in Dropbox
It’s not just Paper files that you can edit in real time on Dropbox. When you integrate your Dropbox with Microsoft Office, you’ll also be able to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files online, collaboratively. You can also collaborate on Google Docs, Sheets and Slides directly from Dropbox.com.
You’ll be able to see in real time who’s working on the file and communicate directly with them through comments. Any changes made will be automatically saved to your Dropbox, and your teammates can keep working on the file even if you close it.
This lets you streamline your processes better. For instance, rather than have five separate spreadsheets being passed around for various components of an analysis project, you can all work on a single Excel file with tabs for each section, knowing any changes are instantly saved in your Dropbox.
Get on the same page with real-time editing
Give your team the powerful advantage of being able to work synchronously and define a clearer, more structured workflow with real-time editing.
Having more time means having more opportunities. Through real-time editing, you’ll be able to take on more work and expand your resources much further.
Live editing makes project management easier, allowing project managers to bypass convoluted processes and messy communication. Instead, they can streamline their workflow from a central space where every team member can communicate and collaborate together in real time.
Simply put, real-time editing gets your team on the same page, literally.