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How to Collaborate as a Team on PowerPoint (PPT) Presentations (+Video)

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Read Time: 8 min
This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Make a Great "Any Questions" Final PowerPoint Slide (PPT)
How to Share Your PowerPoint Presentation Online (For Free)

PowerPoint collaboration helps you to stay in sync and work together. Microsoft has added these features to PowerPoint to help solve problems with shared PowerPoints. Multiple users can work in the same presentation at the same time.

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Microsoft Office Online allows you to edit and collaborate in PowerPoint presentations right inside of a web browser.

Picture this:

You're working to wrap up a presentation for a class project or work group. You're passing the file back and forth using email or file-sharing and it's hard to stay in sync on the project. Pretty soon, you've got multiple copies of the same file floating around with inconsistent changes.

You may be wondering: can you share a PowerPoint? The answer is yes. Microsoft PowerPoint has added many collaborative, online features in its recent versions.

Collaboration means that you can invite and work with others inside the PowerPoint app instead of passing files around.

 In this tutorial, I'll teach you how to use the PowerPoint sharing features to work together on a single PPT file online.

How to Quickly Collaborate on PowerPoint Presentations (Watch & Learn)

In this video, I'll show you how to get started with saving a file to the cloud, as well as working with others on editing the same presentation. You'll learn to invite other users to collaborate and what to expect when working together in PowerPoint.

Keep reading to find out more about how to get started with PowerPoint collaboration, including a totally free option to use Microsoft Office Online.

Microsoft Office, Explained

You might be wondering what's possible when it comes to collaboration. To understand that let's talk a bit about the various versions of Microsoft Office.

Back in the day, Microsoft Office was easy to understand. Every few years, Microsoft would release a new version of Office and labeled it according to the year of release, such as "Excel 2016" or "PowerPoint 2013."

Times are different now though. The apps are updated often. Microsoft is essentially responding to competitors like Google Drive and Dropbox Paper. Here are the various current versions of Office that are available to use:

  • Microsoft Office Online. These are the web-browser based versions of the Microsoft Office apps, including PowerPoint. They're free to use, and you can think of them as Microsoft's answer to Google Drive.
  • Microsoft Office 365. Much like Adobe's Creative Cloud, Microsoft now offers a subscription-based model to use the Office suite. Pay a monthly fee, and you'll get access to all the Office apps and consistent updates.
  • Microsoft Office Home & Student. This is most like the traditional model, where you pay a one-time fee for the app and have it to use.

All these can work with Office collaboration, but it helps to consider that your collaborators may be using a different version. 

The best news is that Microsoft Office Online is available to everyone, for free. This means that anyone can create a Microsoft account and use it to collaborate with other Office users.

Also, you might have heard of Microsoft OneDrive. This is Microsoft's cloud storage service (think Dropbox.) You'll need OneDrive to save your PowerPoint file for collaboration. You can get 5 gigabytes of OneDrive storage for free with a Microsoft account.

Prepare to Share

Let's dive into collaboration in PowerPoint. A great way to begin is by saving your presentation in OneDrive.

A PowerPoint saved on your computer is accessible only to you. By saving it online, you can set up a collaborative editing PowerPoint. This is how to share a PowerPoint with multiple users. 

To save a presentation in OneDrive, go to the File > Save As menu in PowerPoint. When the Save As menu appears, click on Online Locations. From the Place dropdown, choose OneDrive. Name your file, then click Save. This will save your presentation to the cloud so that others can collaborate with you.

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Save your PowerPoint presentation to OneDrive to begin collaborating.

Now that you've got your file saved, you need to make it a shared PowerPoint. That means you'll need to invite some other users to collaborate with you on the presentation. Find the Share button near the upper right corner and click on it to invite others to your presentation.

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Click Share to start inviting others to your presentation.

Now, you'll see a new window where you can add others to your PowerPoint presentation. From your list of options, click on Invite People. On this menu, you can add the email addresses of your collaborators. 

You can also control how to work on PowerPoint together here. The Can Edit check box controls whether others can make changes. Leave it checked if you want a collaborative editing PowerPoint. But if you want users to see a view-only copy, uncheck it. 

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Enter an email address and the share settings to invite them to share.
Office Online is free to use. You can invite someone who doesn't subscribe to Office 365. By creating a Microsoft account, they can join and collaborate on your presentation.

Once you press Share, the recipient will get an email with a link to collaborate on the presentation. Keep adding more users to create a truly collaborative presentation. You're ready to start collaborating with others in the same presentation file.

PowerPoint Team Collaboration Options

How you collaborate with your team in PowerPoint is up to you. This could be as simple as asking someone to visit the link and review it. But there are plenty of options to work inside of the file at the same time.

PowerPoint collaboration is useful if you're working all at once on the same project. For example, you might all be on a videoconference completing changes together. 

First, someone will receive the link and click on it. This opens up Office Online. Again, this is a version of Office that doesn't require downloading an app. 

From here, there are two options. Both are on the Editing dropdown.

  1. For basic edits, click Editing on the menu. This lets you make changes right inside Office Online.
  2. But if you need a full suite of features, click Open in Desktop App. This  launches the PowerPoint app if it's installed. 
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Choose between Editing and Open in Desktop App to control where you make edits in your PowerPoint collaboration.

If you've got a desktop version of PowerPoint, it's your best choice. The full set of features and tools will be available to work with presentations. Office Online is great for viewing and quick edits, but the desktop version delivers more. 

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Changes appear in real time when you use PowerPoint collaboration features.

Once the online or desktop app is open, it’s time to get to work. Any changes that you or others make will appear in real time. Office Online defaults to an auto-save option, so the slides save each time they’re changed.

As you work with your global team, there won’t be any delay in the changes becoming visible. This is how to work on PowerPoint together to drive great results.

View PowerPoint Collaborators

Wondering how to collaborate on PowerPoint? It helps to know exactly who’s on your team. When you’re working in the desktop version of PowerPoint, you can click on the Share button again. A list of users and their permissions will appear.

This way, you can track who has access to your shared PowerPoint. You can also tell whether they've got View or Edit access to your slides.

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Control access and permissions in your shared PowerPoint with the Share menu.

For Office 365 users, there are more options, like chatting with users from the sidebar. You can always click Share to manage who is able to work on the file and change their editing permissions.

No matter which version of PowerPoint you use, collaboration works best with OneDrive. Inviting collaborators within the PowerPoint interface makes it much easier to share. That's always true, no matter which PowerPoint version each of your team members is using. 

Learn More About Making PowerPoint Presentations

How do you collaborate when working with others? Do you like to use PowerPoint's built-in features to share and collaborate, or do you prefer using apps like Dropbox to pass files back and forth?

Outside of collaboration, there are plenty of other great PowerPoint tutorials on Envato Tuts+ that can help you build your presentation skills. Check out these PPT tutorials to learn more:

Or, browse through our best PowerPoint template designs on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. They give you plenty of creative slide designs to build a great presentation with quickly. 

Need Help? Grab Our Making Great Presentations eBook (Free)

You can find more information in our eBook on making great presentations. Download this PDF eBook now for FREE with your subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

Making Great Presentations eBook Free Download PDFMaking Great Presentations eBook Free Download PDFMaking Great Presentations eBook Free Download PDF

It'll help you master the presentation process, from initial creative ideas, through to writing, design, and delivering with impact.

Collaborating in PowerPoint Made Easy

Many have wondered: can you share a PowerPoint easily? As you can see, the answer is yes. With PowerPoint’s built-in features, you can share slides with the world. This means that your PowerPoint collaboration can span the globe. 

Your team doesn’t even have to have the PowerPoint desktop app. Download one of our premium PowerPoint templates, then use them with PowerPoint collaboration features. Thanks to Office Online, your team can view and make edits from anywhere. This article focused on how easy it is to work together inside PowerPoint.

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions and a video from Andrew Childress. Andrew is a freelance instructor for Envato Tuts+.

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