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Smarter collaboration: Collaborative writing

Collaborative writing

When you write an essay or project report together with colleagues it is much easier if everyone has access to the same document online and everyone can edit and comment without sending different versions back and forth by e-mail. There are some excellent free tools to help you collaborate! 

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The author is Linneunilib (Linnaeus University Library).

This license applies to the text and layout on this page. Images and films may have other licenses which must be respected when reusing.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a collection of tools that can in principle replace for example Microsoft Office (though Microsoft have their own cloud service Microsoft 365). The difference is that you store everything online (in the cloud) instead of on your computer's hard drive. You can access your files from any device (after logging in) and you can share each file with colleagues of your choice and decide what they can do (read, comment, edit). You get 15 GB online storage where you can save documents, images, films etc. To start you need a Google account (your Lnu e-mail account).

Advantages of Google Drive

  • Everything stored online
  • You decide who to collaborate with and what rights each person has 
  • One version in one place, all previous versions automatically stored 
  • Several users can write simultaneously 
  • See who wrote what

Useful for

  • Group work in the form of a report, presentation or spreadsheet 
  • Collaborative note-taking 
  • Create an online form or questionnaire. All answers automatically saved in a spreadsheet. 

Here is a short introduction.

 

TLK.io

Tlk.io is an extremely simple chat tool that you can use without even creating an account. If you want to start a chat session during a class or to discuss something with colleagues you just go to the site, choose the name of your session and send the link to everyone who wants to participate. To participate you just choose a name and start chatting. You can also use your Twitter ID if you want.

Advantages

  • Easy to start, no log-in
  • Restricted space, only visible in your group
  • The chat is cleared after use
  • Works on all devices

Overleaf

Overleaf allows you to write articles, dissertations or project reports with your colleagues, wherever they are. The tool offers a selection of templates for a variety of academic texts. You can access your texts from anywhere by logging in, you can write simultaneously on the same document and all versions can be saved. When the text is ready you can export it in various formats and you can also publish it yourself.

Here is a short introduction film.

MeetingWords

MeetingWords was previously known as TitanPad and Etherpad and is probably the simplest tool for collaborative writing. You can create a new document in one click and then share the link with your colleagues. Each participants is automatically assigned a colour to write in so it's easy to tell who has written what. 

Your text is saved on the web, and more than one person can edit the same document at the same time. Everybody's changes are instantly reflected on all screens. Work together on meeting notes, brainstorming sessions, homework, team programming and more!

When you're finished the text can then be saved as a Word document.