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See who's editing a Microsoft Office file

Drive for desktop only



Avoid version conflicts when you’re editing Microsoft Office files. With real-time presence, you can see if someone else is editing a Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file that’s stored in Google Drive for desktop.


  • Real-time presence is automatically turned on in Drive for desktop. If someone turns it off, you won’t see if that person is in a file.
  • Before you can use real-time presence with Apple Mac, you must change your system permissions. See Instructions.
  • Real-time presence works with Office 2010 or later versions.

See who's editing an Office file""

  1. In Drive for desktop, open a shared Office file in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

    The real-time status appears at the bottom right.

  2. Based on the status, you see one of the following options:
    • Safe to edit—No one is editing the file, so you can make changes.
    • Wait to edit—Someone else is editing the file.
      • To get notified when they’re done, check the Notify me when it’s safe to edit box.
      • To see more about who is editing or viewing the file, click a person in the list.
    • New version created—Someone created a newer version. To get their new version, click Get latest.


Merge different versions""

If someone saves a new version of a file while you’re editing, you get a notification.

You can save your version as a copy or you can manually merge your changes into the latest version of the file. On the notification:

  1. Click Compare versions.
  2. Copy changes from your version (on the left) to the latest version (on the right).
  3. When you're done, in the latest version of the file, click Save.

Your unsaved version of the file (on the left) is deleted.

Change system permissions on a Mac""

  1. On your Mac, open System Preferencesand thenSecurity & Privacyand thenPrivacyand thenAccessibility.
  2. At the bottom, click the lock to make changes.
  3. Check the Google Drive box.

Turn off real-time presence""

If you turn off real-time presence, other people won’t see you in a file.

  1. On your computer, click Drive for desktop "".
  2. Click Settings ""and thenPreferences.
  3. At the top right, click "".
  4. Uncheck the See if someone else is editing a shared Microsoft Office file box.
  5. Click Save.

Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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