Review and Collaboration Improvements

Nowadays, many?if not most?business documents are developed through a collaborative process, in which many individuals participate as reviewers or contributors. With each new version of Office, Microsoft improves the collaborative tools available to Word users?and to the organizations that employ them.

Word 2003's collaboration improvements fall primarily into two categories:

  • Tools that give you better control over how your documents are reviewed

  • Tools that simplify team-based collaboration, relying on Microsoft network or Internet-based software such as SharePoint Team Services

New Document Review Tools

If you've ever been responsible for producing a large document that requires contributions from many individuals, you know how frustrating the process can be. People comment on areas of the document they know little about. They introduce inconsistent formatting. Their changes are difficult to integrate and resolve. Word 2003 adds two new features to help overcome these problems:

  • Range Permissions and Editing Restrictions. Word 2003's improved Protect Document feature allows you to restrict individuals to editing only the portions of a document you want them to edit. You can, if you want, allow them to comment on other parts of the document without actually making changes to those parts of the document.

  • Formatting Restrictions, aka Style Lockdown. Organizations that want their documents to remain absolutely consistent in appearance can prevent users from applying direct formatting that introduces unwanted inconsistencies. Word now allows the "owner" of a document to limit formatting to a specific selection of styles.

    To do so, choose Tools, Protect Document. The Protect Document task pane appears (see Figure 1.3). Then, check the Limit Formatting to a Selection of Styles check box. Next, click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box opens. To use a password to protect your formatting, enter it in both the Enter New Password and the Reenter Password to Confirm boxes, and click OK.

    Figure 1.3. Protecting a document against unwanted formatting or editing changes.


For more information about protecting documents with either passwords or server-based user authentication features, see "Limiting the Changes Reviewers Can Make in Your Document," p. 892.

New Team-Based Collaboration Tools

If you are running Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows Server 2003 with SharePoint Team Services Version 2, you can construct Shared Workspaces from within Word 2003?locations where you and your colleagues can collaborate on all aspects of a project (see Figure 1.4).

Figure 1.4. Creating a Shared Workspace from the Shared Workspace task pane.


These Shared Workspaces can bring together all the documents and information related to a project in a single document library. Shared Workspaces also provide extensive tools for keeping all project participants up-to-date on a project's status and on their individual responsibilities.

You can also create Document Workspaces to store central copies of an individual document. Through a Document Workspace, you can assign tasks to others who are working on your document. You can also provide links to other resources inside and outside the company?resources that your colleagues can use to work on your document or project.


If you're using Outlook 2003 with Exchange 2003, you can also create Meeting Workspaces, which give you and your colleagues tools for planning and managing meetings: tracking attendance and sharing agendas, documents, decisions, action items, and more.

For more information about using SharePoint Team Services from Microsoft Word, see Chapter 27, "Online Document Collaboration Using SharePoint Team Services," p. 909.


If you and your colleagues use Microsoft instant messaging services (Microsoft Windows Messenger, Microsoft MSN Messenger, or Microsoft Exchange Instant Messaging Service), you can send instant messages to anyone who is available to receive them.

To do so, you must first make sure Word can recognize the names of your IM contacts. Choose Tools, AutoCorrect Options, Smart Tags. In the Recognizers box, check Person Name (English) and Person Name (Outlook email recipients).

When you type a name in your document corresponding to an individual whose name is recognized, a thin red underline and Smart Tag icon appear in the document. When you click on the icon, you are given all your available options for communicating with the individual. If the individual is currently available on Microsoft Instant Messaging, sending an instant message will be one of the options you can choose. If you are using shared calendars through Outlook 2003 and Microsoft Exchange, the Smart Tag can even display your colleagues' availability based on their Outlook calendars.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word