Collaboration mode in MS Word for lawyers: how to effectively review and comment on legal documents

Collaboration mode in MS Word for lawyers

Legal document reviewing in teams is a single mechanism. Every author, reviewer, and other professionals involved should know what to do and reach out to colleagues in case of force majeure. When the workflow is all set and going smoothly, teams will be able to thoroughly proofread the documents and get them ready for the next steps. 

In MS Word, several lawyers can easily collaborate on the same file. One person is commenting, another one is resolving comments while another team member is editing right in the document body – all these actions and more are available in one Word space. For more helpful features of MS Word, read our all-in-one guide to MS Word for lawyers.

So which benefits can attorneys take from Word’s collaboration mode and use in their job routine?

Multiple actions, balloons and Office 365

The core of in-team reviewing in MS Word lies in the Review tab above the document.

MS Word Review tab

When using this tab, lawyers can do these actions:

  1. Highlight and comment on certain parts of the text;
  2. Track all changes made in the document by other users;
  3. Navigate across the document pages.

To start collaborating, mark the needed spot in your doc and press New comment. Here we go.

Together with your teammates, you are able to resolve, delete, accept, reject or reply to the comments in your document. To make collaborating easier and assess its efficiency, you can turn on the Track changes mode. Every comment and action will be highlighted in the document text and automatically saved in Word. 

When reviewing is done and the document is sent to other team members, they will see underlined parts of the text and related comments in balloons – special fields for commenting on the right side of MS Word. This visual detail can help you follow the document reviewing steps and then see your team’s progress. 

On the other hand, sending multiply reviewed Word documents may be not the best idea for quick collaboration and syncs. MS Word has a web version in Office 365 with all the same features and numerous options for reviewing legal documents. 

In Office 365 Word, many lawyers can simultaneously work on the same file in three modes – Editing, Reviewing and Viewing. The document’s structure is not ruined, and new changes are saved by default. Like in traditional Word, you can enable the Track changes mode to monitor your team’s actions and see the history of comments in the Show comments tab. The only key thing that you need is a stable Internet connection to stay up-to-date and be able to rapidly reach out to your team.

Office 365 Word

Roadmaps

In classic MS Word, there is one more essential part of the Review tab. It is the Reviewing tool that can help track all changes made to the document. There you can see numbers of insertions, deletions and comments along with the history of all changes made by specific users below. 

Reviewing tool

All this data forms the document’s “roadmap”, or Reviewing Pane, that enables authors and reviewers to easily move within the doc body and see the highlighted spots. If you prefer to overlook the pages and underlined spots in them, then the Thumbnail Pane tab is right for you! By the way, these two panes can also help you tailor paragraphs in your legal documents – we have created a complete guide to paragraphs in MS Word.

Thumbnail Pane

MS Word has truly become handy for collaborating and tracking all changes made in legal documents. These are the key features for contracts getting negotiated by two or more parties. The more actively legal teams work together in one space, the more productive final results will be and the more time is saved for other major tasks. 

In Word, there are many more assisting tools like plugins that can help review and fix documents faster and more meticulously. For this kind of daily work, consider Loio as one of the most advanced tools available for proofreading lots of legal documents.

We hope that with this guide cooperating on the same document in MS Word will speed up legal workflow and make it clearer for attorney teams.

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