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Word Document Co-Authoring Locking of Comments as Read-Only

Posted on 2013-06-10
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Last Modified: 2013-07-15
Hello,

We are using co-authoring for a Word document that a number of people from disparate locations will be working on. We are using Word 2010. The document is hosted using the Office Web Services in SharePoint 2010.

So, multiple users can be in the document at the same time. Or, it may be the case that users are in the document at different times based on location, etc. We want to support both.

One of the things that users will be doing is adding comments using the built-in Word comments option. We want to ensure that these comments are locked and read-only, such that another user either co-authoring the document at the same time in parallel, or coming in later, can't delete the comment. We want the comments to be locked to user.

I know that in co-authoring, a paragraph will become locked when two people are in the document at the same time.

This is something entirely different, however. We want the comments made in a co-authored document to become historical artifacts that can be reviewed. To do that, we want to prevent users from deleting other users' comments. Is there any way to make the comments read-only or locked once they are created?

If this isn't possible, is there another way to do this within SharePoint? I know that there are a number of co-authoring solutions like Google Docs. This won't work, however. Our requirement is to be able to allow multiple users to edit a document, sometimes in parallel. They can erase or edit what others have written; however, all comments to the document must be preserved and not deleted. These do need to be line-item as they are in Word; we can't just create a forum or something for comments that is separate from the document. The two should be tightly coupled.

Thank you,
Joseph Irvine
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Question by:jkeagle13
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by:Jamie McAllister MVP
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Joseph,

This is really a Word issue rather than a SharePoint issue. Indeed co-authoring is an Office feature that works in SharePoint, not a SharePoint feature.

In Word 2010 under the Review tab it is possible to set limitations on what can be edited by clicking on the ribbon option 'Restrict Editing' and selecting the appropriate restrictions on the right hand side of the document under 'Editing Restrictions'. The thing is this doesn't do everything you want; You can restrict users of specific groups to add comments only, or track changes etc. The setup I have right now doesn't have groups so I cant see how selective this can be. Give the Word settings a try.

Documentation online exists for 2010, but is actually better put together for 2007 here (options basically the same);

http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/word-help/help-protect-your-document-against-unwanted-changes-and-comments-HA001218978.aspx
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[ fanpages ] earned 470 total points
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Hi,

When the local document is saved by a single author, the comments added & any replies to these (either within that session of editing, or all the comments recorded to date *) could be saved to an external repository (database, Microsoft Office product file, a Sharepoint area) using Visual Basic for Applications code within the document.

* Note: If recording the comments within the document at that point in time, some may have been removed, so the repository would need to record cumulative comments; retaining only the unique entries (do duplicates are not recorded).

This would serve as the master list for auditing purposes at a later date even if another author was to open the same document, remove any of the comments, & re-save.

Not ideally what you are looking for, but maybe a viable alternate option given the restrictions you have with the Microsoft Word features & functionality.

BFN,

fp.
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