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New in SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 is a feature called coauthoring. If you're working on a document that requires contributions from different people, instead of taking turns saving different versions of documents or perhaps merging multiple documents together, you can have two, three, or more people edit a document at the same time. There's really nothing special that you need to do in order to do this. If I open up this document in Microsoft Word 2010, and perhaps I'm on a conference call and a colleague of mine also opens it, within a few seconds I'll see a notification that my colleague is also editing this document at the same time that I am.
And I can select the People icon in the Status Bar to see who is working on this document. If my colleague actually makes some changes to the document, within a few seconds I'm going to see a notification that that's actually occurred. Now, while she is doing it, the message that I'll get is that to avoid conflicts I can edit this area until she has finished editing this particular area and saving her changes or uploading to the server. Once she actually saves her changes, I'll see a slightly different notification that says, okay, I can now get those changes if you want them.
Updates are available. Save your document to refresh the area. So I hit Save or Ctrl+S and I'll immediately see her changes. She still has the document open and is still actually editing it. I can also make my own changes at the same time and just continue to save as I'm doing this, and she will be notified that I'm doing the changes. You pretty much continue using Word the same way you always would. If you find this feature an inconvenience and you want to stop it, you can require that documents in your document library be checked out before they can be edited.
That's just a setting on the document library, the same way it was in SharePoint 2007. In your Library settings on that document library, the Versioning settings section has an option at the bottom saying that you require documents to be checked out before they can be edited and that would effectively enforce the idea that only one person can be editing this document at a time. While coauthoring isn't something you use all the time, it's very useful when you need it.
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