Editing shared, Online Document

Collaborative Document Editing in the Cloud

Sharing and Editing Online Documents Securely

Almost all documents created in a PE will be viewed and/or edited by members of the team. Some examples:

  • a presentation of the practice enterprise and/ or range of products:
  • a catalogue;
  • a flyer or promotion;
  • general terms and conditions;
  • agreements 
  • commercial documents: purchase/sale;
  • analysis and statistics of sales results; 
  • price comparison;
  • meeting report 

Collaborating on a document and therefore sending it back and forth via email often leads to confusion. Without the right technique or naming of the document, it quickly becomes unclear who made which changes, what the most recent version is, where the most recent version is stored locally, etc. 

Therefore, it is important that document storage is done consistently.

Through collaborative editing of documents, the trainee is going to avoid those frustrations and ambiguities. Moreover, there are extra features that the offline version does not have. 

Sharing and editing online documents is an efficient way for multiple trainees to work together in the same document. Below is a brief description of some commonly used platforms:

  • Google Documents is a standard tool in a Google account that allows you to create, edit and share documents. Multiple trainees can work simultaneously on the same document, and changes are updated in real time.
  • Microsoft Office Online is a web version of the MS office suite. It lets you create, edit and share documents through a Web browser. It offers similar features to those of the well-known versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Dropbox Paper is a collaboration platform that lets you create and share documents. It has an intuitive interface and supports real-time collaboration. You can add comments, track changes, and add files directly from your Dropbox account.

When sharing online documents, you can usually set access rights, such as read, edit, or view only. This allows the trainer to manage the appropriate level of access to the documents and limit who can make what changes.

Sharing and editing online documents offers the benefit of remote collaboration, where multiple trainees can work on the same document simultaneously. It facilitates communication and collaboration between trainees.
You can share files by placing them in a cloud or by sending them via email to participating trainees.

In groups:

  1. Choose one of the collaboration platforms mentioned in the introduction.
  2. Create a clear structure in Drive/Cloud.
  3. Make clear arrangements regarding consistent document storage.
  4. Divide tasks and roles to edit documents such as a catalogue/presentation in real time with multiple people (co-authoring). (Google doc/Google slides).
  1. Choose a Collaboration Platform: Select an online collaboration platform that suits your PE. Each platform has different features and capabilities, so choose a platform for the specific requirements of the PE.
  2. Create a Document (Catalogue/ Presentation/Flyer): Start by creating a new document or uploading an existing one to the chosen collaboration platform. 
  3. Set Permissions: Determine who you want to share the document with and what level of access (view, control, edit) they should have.  This ensures that trainees can contribute to the document according to their roles and responsibilities.
    View: each trainee can only view the data in the spreadsheet. They cannot edit anything
    Comment: The trainees can view the data and post text comments. However, they cannot make any changes to the actual data.
    Edit: As expected, the trainees can edit the data inside the spreadsheet. They can add, remove, or modify cells, formulas, etc.
  4. Share the Document: Share the document by sending an invitation or open the document directly in the chosen platform. 
  5. Collaborate in Real-Time: Once the trainees have access to the document, they can edit it simultaneously. Real-time collaboration allows multiple people to work on the document simultaneously, making it easier to collaborate, provide feedback, and make changes in a coordinated way.
    Example of editing a catalogue in real-time:

Person 1: creates the document, chooses the layout, inputs of logo, choice of font

Person 2: input of photos  and description of the products

Person 3: input prices and continuously adjust if necessary

It is certainly not always necessary to work in real time. File sharing services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive can be used to store and share documents. In our PE the trainee must upload the document to the cloud storage service. Each trainee can download the document, can edit the document, and can upload an updated version.
A second way to edit and share documents without real-time collaboration is to edit the document using editing software on your computer. Afterwards the trainee can send the updated version as an email attachment to the person you want to share it with. A disadvantage of this method is that it may lead to the existence of multiple document versions.
In this case each trainee must save a new version of the document e.g. catalogue_V1, catalogue_V2, …. Each trainee can edit the latest version. If you wish to work in one version, you can use the revision history to view and/or evaluate the latest changes. 
In the folder structure below, the catalogue is stored in the Sales folder -> Catalogue subfolder.

6. Track Changes and Add Comments: Collaboration platforms often include features to track changes made by different trainees. This helps you keep track of edits, see who made specific modifications, and even revert to previous versions if needed. 

7. Save and Sync Changes: As trainees make edits, the changes are automatically saved in real-time. The document stays synchronized so that everyone always has the latest version of the document.
If several trainees work on the same file, e.g. a catalogue, it is possible to return to a previous version –> ‘See revision history’. Date and modification are then made visible.

8. Finalize and Export: Once the document is complete, you can finalize it and export it into various formats, such as PDF, Word, or Excel, depending on the document type. This allows you to easily share the final version with others or save it for future reference.  A clear structure in the Cloud/Drive is very important.

Below is an example of a folder and subfolders of the sales service in the PE.

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  • Structural editing: reorganizing structure, new content suggestions.
  • Copy Edit: reviewing structure, tone, readability, spelling & grammar, feedback on content.


  • Technology skills: Knowing how to use the platform used.
  • Empathic skills:
    • Builds trust
    • Improves problem-solving
    • Increases team coherence
    • Avoids conflict situation
    • Boosts well-being
  • Digital skills:
    • General computer skills
    • Word processing (WORD)
    • Spreadsheets (EXCEL)
    • Presentations (POWERPOINT)


  • Be focused on vision and goals.
  • Follow-up and feedback.
  • Appreciate result-oriented work.
  • Cooperate.
  • Treating the work of others with respect.

Through this WebQuest, the trainee will learn how to edit shared, online documents.


Through this WebQuest, the trainee will learn more about collaborative document editing (in the Cloud)

In the practice firm, documents are edited by all trainees and then stored on a common platform. Here, it is very important to observe several security rules so that not just anyone can read and edit these documents. Think, for example, of invoices, commercial agreements, etc. Because digital security is an ongoing process, it’s important to stay informed about the latest technologies to protect documents.

In groups:

  1. Control if the used platform is secure. 
  2. Limit and restrict user access for accounts.
  3. Send files with two-factor authentication.
  4. Password protection: create a strong password for documents
  1. Ensure that the platform used is secure and offers encryption and other security measures. Platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft Drive are reliable platforms. Data encryption works by securing transmitted digital data on the cloud and computer systems. Users can access encrypted data with an encryption key. So before sharing a document use an encryption software that is provided by the editing software.
  2. To restrict user access to a folder or drive you must change the properties of the used folder/Drive and for each user/group, you can edit the permissions for the folder/Drive. There are different sorts of permissions.

Full Control: Allows the user to read, write, change, and delete the files and subfolders in the folder.
Modify: Allows reading, writing and deletion of files and subfolders.
Read & execute: Allows viewing and listing of files and subfolders as well as executing of files.
List folder contents: Allows viewing and listing of files and subfolders in the folder, as well as executing of files; inherited by folders only.
Read: Allows users to view and list the files and subfolders.
Write: Allows users to add files or subfolders to the folder and allows writing to the files in the folder.

3. Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security that requires two forms of identification. In most cases this involves entering a password or PIN and then confirming the user’s identity through a second factor such as a fingerprint, security token of a verification code sent to a mobile device. In most cases the extra authentication is a simple numeric string, a few digits sent to your phone as a code that can be used only once. The best way to do this is to install an ‘authenticator app’. Once linked to your accounts, the app displays a constantly rotating set of codes to use for logins whenever you need. There are numerous apps like Google and Microsoft as well as Duo Mobile, …

4. There are a few strong password practices to follow:

  • do not use sequential numbers or letters
  • do not include your birth year/month
  • use a combination of at least eight letters, numbers, symbols
  • combine different unrelated words
  • use a password manager to store your passwords (do not store them on your computer)

Here you can check links to help you edit online with safety: 



Help Range

PC Mag

Terra Nova Security


  • Security features available in the software or platform you are using to edit and share documents.
  • How to configure access control settings within the document editing or sharing platform. This includes setting permissions and restrictions on who can view, edit, or download the document.


  • Knowing how to use the platform used/sharing and backing-up documents.
  • Understand the risks and threats in digital environments.
  • Know about safety and security measures.


  • Vigilance
  • Being productive

Through this WebQuest, the trainee gets knowledge about how to edit and share online documents in a safe way because it is crucial to protect sensitive information and to maintain data security.