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How collaborating with Simul compares to Word Online

Microsoft Word Online is a real-time co-authoring environment that allows multiple people to work on a document at the same time. However, that has a number of downsides that Simul can help you overcome.

Better control of changes

Collaborating in Word Online means any invited user can make any changes to the document they want, and it’s almost untraceable. Simul provides more control over what content makes it into the document and what doesn’t.

How Word Online works

Word Online is a real-time co-authoring environment where any invited user can edit any part of the document at any time. Think of it like a big whiteboard where everyone is writing at the same time.

word coauthoring simul

PROBLEMS WITH THIS APPROACH

Edits can be made without you knowing

Because anyone can edit any part of the document at any time, someone could easily change a paragraph or statistic without you knowing.

Content can be snuck in or out 

Because anyone can edit part of the document at any time, someone could easily add dubious content or remove important wording from the document with your knowledge. This can be a particular issue with legal documents.

No history of who made what changes

Word Online’s Version History feature allows you to download snapshots of what a document looked like at certain points in time (I.e. 1:32pm Wednesday), but they contain no record of who made what changes, leaving you with no idea of who changed your document.

No ability to work offline 

Word Online is only available when you have internet access, making working offline on planes, trains, etc impossible.

How Simul helps

Simul takes a different approach to collaborating on Microsoft Word documents that gives more control over content.

Instead of an online document anyone can edit at any time, when a user opens a document in Simul they’re actually opening and editing their own isolated version. Then when they save it, they are essentially ‘submitting’ it back to the main document and (if it is accepted) it gets created as a new version.

simultaneously edit word documents

BENEFITS OF THIS APPROACH

Control changes microsoft word

Full control of changes

Simul allows you to control whether a user’s changes make it back into the original document or not, ensuring nothing gets in without you knowing.

work offlne microsoft word

Full ability to work offline

Simul allows you to download the latest version of a document and work offline. Then, when you're back online, you simply upload it as a new version. If someone else has edited the document in that time, you can easily merge your changes in just 1 click.

see history of word document

Full history of who made what changes

Each time someone edits a document, Simul automatically creates a new version & shows you what they changed, giving you a full history of every change made to the document and who made it.

A proper version control system

Word Online has very basic version history functionality through OneDrive, whereas Simul is a dedicated version control system with a number of additional features that make collaborating on Word documents much easier.

How Word Online works

Word Online’s version history functionality is more like a change log. It’s literally just a list that shows when a document was modified and who modified it.

Sharepoint version control

PROBLEMS OF THIS APPROACH

Doesn’t show what changed

Sharepoint’s basic list doesn’t show what changed between versions. To see this, you’d need to download the two versions you want to compare, open them both in Word, and either manually compare them or use Word’s Compare functionality.

Doesn’t show who changed it

Sharepoint doesn’t track who made what changes, so if two people are editing a document at the same time the changes that were made will be saved as a new version, but there’s no way of knowing who made what change.

How Simul helps

Simul is a dedicated version control and collaboration tool for Microsoft Word and provides advanced features such as:

visual history of changes word docu

Quickly see a visual history of changes

Simul’s unique tree visualisation makes it easy to understand how a document came together

see who made changes word document

See who made what changes

Simul shows exactly who made what changes in a document, giving you a full history and accountability.

see what changed between versions word doc

Easily see what changes between versions

Within the Simul interface, you can see exactly what changed between two versions. No messing around downloading multiple documents, opening them, comparing them, etc.

Name versions microsoft word document

Name versions & add comments

Simul allows you to name versions and add comments (I.e. ‘Added results section’) which makes it easier to navigate previous versions and find what you need.

An easier way to fix conflicts

When multiple copies of a document exist, Word Online provides no way to merge them. Simul does.

How Word Online works

Because Word Online is only available when you have an internet connection, it’s likely that at some stage someone will download and work on their own copy in order to work offline.

This then means you have two conflicting versions of the same document, and will need to bring them back together.

Word Online doesn’t have functionality to handle this, so you’ll likely need to open both versions, manually identify the changes, and copy and paste them across.

How Simul helps

If somebody does create and work on their own version of a document, you can easily merge them back together.

You simply upload the modified version to Simul and with the click of a button the two versions are merged together.

When you open the merged version in Word, each authors edits are marked up as tracked changes, allowing you to easily identify the changes, accept or reject them, fix conflicts, and keep moving forward.

merge microsoft word documents

So which is best for me?

Word Online is a great tool for real time collaboration on short, non-critical documents.

But if you have a larger, more critical document that you need to collaborate on with others while retaining control of the content, and you want full transparency into what changed, who changed it and when, then Simul is a better fit for you.

That being said, it’s worth noting that Simul integrates with Word Online. So if you’re using Simul, you can actually open and edit documents in Word Online and when you save them a new version will be created in Simul.

That way, you get the best of both worlds. You get the convenience of Word Online but the powerful version control and collaboration features of Simul.

UCLA Logo

“Simul allows anyone on our team to access the latest version of a document instantly. It automatically creates versions, allows us to compare them to see what changed, and gives us a full version history of the document. It’s made writing research reports so much easier.”

Nikolas UCLA Version Control Word

Nikolas Balanis - Cancer Researcher, UCLA

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