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Working Simultaneously

In this guide, you'll learn how Simul makes it easy for multiple people to work on a document at the same time.

Now that you know how to invite members to your document and collaborate with them, it’s time to talk about working simultaneously.

Depending on how you were currently collaborating on documents before Simul, you likely experienced some variation of this problem

  • Both Aaron and James open Version 5 of the document at the same time and make changes
  • Aaron and James both save the document as Version 6
  • You now have two, conflicting versions of the document with different content in each
  • Best case scenario, you realise this has happened and manually have to merge the changes back together. Worst case scenario is you don’t realise this has happened and continue to work on James’s version 6 and Aaron’s changes are lost forever.

Alternatively, if you’re coming from a tool like Sharepoint which has a ‘check in, check out’ system then you’ve probably familiar with the frustration of not being able to work on a document when you need to because it’s ‘checked out’

Simul has a solution to this problem called ‘Branching’. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Multiple users open the document at the same time and make changes

If multiple people have the document open at the same time, Simul will automatically recognise that this has happened.

multiple documents open

Step 2: Simul automatically saves each members changes in a separate branch and shows you what each person changed

When each person closes and saves the document, Simul will save their changes in a separate branch.

branches highlighted

When you click on each version, the Comparison window will show you what each person changed.

Show changes

Step 3: Merge the conflicting versions back together in 1 click

To make it easier to bring these conflicting versions back together, Simul has a dedicated merge engine that can automatically merge the two versions by simply clicking the ‘Merge’ button.

Merge button

This will create a new ‘merged’ version of the document and bring the branches back together in the version history.

Merged version

Step 4: Identify and fix any issues

It’s possible that there is conflicting content in the merged version of your document that you’ll need to address (I.e. Because both James & Aaron made changes to the same Clause in a contract).

Simul’s approach to merging is to bring the two conflicting versions back together into one version, but not make any decisions about what is the right or wrong content.

Instead, when you open the merged version in Word we use Microsoft Word’s built-in Track Changes feature to highlight what each person changed so that you can easily review the content and fix any issues that have arisen (I.e. Because James & Aaron made changes to the same Clause).

To do this, you simply click ‘Open in Word’ on the merged version and it will open in Word on your computer with all changes marked up using Track Changes.

Track Changes Marked Up

With the conflicting versions merged back together and any issues fixed up, you can continue collaborating on your document with other members. If multiple people open the document at the same time again, two branches will be created and you can simply repeat the above process!

Read the next guide

Collaborating outside Simul

Now that you know how to collaborate with others inside Simul, learn the various ways you can collaborate with people outside of Simul and still get all of their changes back into the version history

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