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Working Together

In a direct challenge to Google Docs, Apple has introduced collaboration to the iWork suite of apps. Pages, Numbers and Keynote now support collaboration through iCloud.

You can use iWork collaboration with these devices:

  • A Mac with macOS Sierra and Pages 6.0, Numbers 4.0, or Keynote 7.0 or later
  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 10 and Pages 3.0, Numbers 3.0, or Keynote 3.0 or later
  • A Mac with Safari 6.0.3 or later, or Google Chrome 27.0.1 or later
  • A Windows PC with Internet Explorer 11 or later, or Google Chrome 27.0.1 or later

If you find collaboration is not available to you, make sure that you have the latest versions of the iWork apps. I have run into this issue a few times here at Small Dog. I am always a bit ahead of the rest of the team in terms of running Apple software so if I send a Pages 6.0 document sometimes I get push back from those that haven’t upgraded. I do recommend that you update to the latest versions in order to take advantage of the new features, especially collaboration.

To invite others to collaborate on your document in Pages, Numbers or Keynote you must be signed into iCloud and have iCloud Drive turned on. I was struggling a bit as we were testing this because collaboration is very dependent upon iCloud addresses. You need to use the iCloud email address to invite someone or it may get stuck in the “verification link cannot be sent” bug.

Keep in mind that the title of the document will be included in the link that you send so if it is confidential- like “www.icloud.com/pages/09aMdbLCQ5naCrMpHaqAfxUoQ#firingemily” you might want to tell the recipient to not forward that link.

You can invite people to collaborate on your Mac, iOS device or from iCloud. To invite from the Mac simply click on the handy “collaborate” button in the menu bar. By default, people that you invite can edit your document. You can change share options and limit who can access it. If you set Who Can Access to “Anyone with the link”, and you want to add a password, click Add Password. Type your password and hint. You and other participants need this password to open the document.

Then choose how you want to invite others to work on your document. If you choose to email your invitation, type an email address or phone number for each person you want to invite. Add any other information, then send or post the message.

To invite from your iOS device, tap the ***, then tap Collaborate With Others. Again, you will be given the options to limit access or add a password. Click on Add People and you have the same choices on how to inform them via email, Messages, copying the link, Twitter or Facebook.

Inviting from iCloud in Safari is the same as doing so from within Pages on the Mac.

You may not want everyone to be able to edit the document but do want them to be able to read it. You can set this all up when you share. When you invite others to collaborate on your document, you can set restrictions on who can view and make changes to your document.

In the Who Can Access menu:

  • Choose “Only people you invite” if you want only specific participants to access the document. To open it, those participants must sign in to iCloud or iCloud.com with an Apple ID. If they don’t have an Apple ID, they can create an Apple ID after you share the document with them.
  • Choose “Anyone with the link” if you want anyone who has the link to the shared document to be able to open it.

In the Permissions menu:

  • Choose “Can make changes” if you want anyone who can access the document to be able to edit and print it.
  • Choose “View only” if you want anyone who can access the document to be able to view and print, but not edit it.
    You can change share options at any time by clicking or tapping the Collaborate button, then choosing Share Options.

It is usually important to be able to track everyone’s edits on the document and know when changes have been made. If you click on the collaborate button you can see to whom the document is shared and who is currently viewing or editing it.

Edits that you and others make to the document appear in real time. Look for colored cursors and colored selections of text and objects to see what others are currently editing. Tap or click the colored dot next to the person’s name in the participant list to jump to their cursor. If you don’t see a colored dot, that person has the document open, but isn’t editing.

If you are really confident in the editors you can hide collaboration activity on your Mac by going to Choose View->Hide Collaboration Activity or View->Show Collaboration Activity. On your iPhone or iPad tap *** and turn Collaboration Activity on or off.

You can continue to edit even if you are offline but others will not see your edits until you have re-connected.

You should note that currently not all functions are available in collaboration mode. As an example, in Pages you cannot insert, cut, copy, paste, delete, duplicate, reorder or edit sections. You cannot adjust margins, use “replace all”, create delete or reorder styles.

Once you have had enough of the sharing edits on the collaborated document you can turn off sharing by clicking on the collaboration button and hitting Stop Sharing. When you stop sharing it is removed from iCloud drive for all participants.

iWork Collaboration is still in development and I expect we will see a lot of improvements before it is a real competitor to Google Docs but it is coming along. Check it out and let me know how it works for you!

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