Multiple Users Opening Office Document Files

How to Handle Multiple Users Working on the Same Office Document Files

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Most normal file types such as MS-Word and Excel do not support the advanced merge logic and change queuing required to safely accommodate multiple users working simultaneously on the exact same file. This problem is especially troublesome for those working remotely over a VPN connection where time between editing and saving is often delayed. Unfortunately, if you are using a shared file storage source there is no real solution for this. In fact, sometimes the files can even become corrupt and no longer usable. The problem lies in how files systems and applications handle these file documents. When you double click a file saved on your common server, most of the file contents are downloaded to memory and temporary staging storage on your local computer. While editing, the software application is primarily using this local memory and temp data copy to manipulate and render the document you see onscreen. Only when you 'SAVE' the document are the full contents written back to the original server file location. If someone else is also opening and editing the file using this same process it is easy to see how changes can quickly become crossed and one person's work disappears. In general, multiple people should not working on the same file at the same time. You should copy the file locally to your computer desktop or My Documents location with a different name such as "filename-yourname.docx" to work on it. Once you are finished making changes, drag-and-drop the finished file back to the server. After checking if anyone else has made changes, you can then safely change your custom file name back to the original filename. You can also use a renaming method to alert others you are working on the document. Before you starting work on a file, change the server located document name to "filename-judit.docx". Then double-click to open the newly changed file. Changing the file name will alert others you are working on the file and if another users happened to have it already open before hand when they hit "SAVE" their file will be re-saved back as the original filename, resulting in two different files on the server you can then manually compare and solve. If you get an "access denied" error while trying to change the file name - it is very likely someone else already has the document file open. Regardless of the method you choose, it will require some communication between you to solve and provide smooth editing of the same file.

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