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Using the Syncplicity App Tab

The Syncplicity App Tab is a collaboration feature that works with desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, from Office 2007 onward. The App Tab was introduced in the Syncplicity desktop client version 4.1.0 for Windows.

When you use Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint to open a file inside a synced folder, the Syncplicity App Tab displays. The App Tab helps you avoid accidental file conflicts when collaborating on shared files, with visible notifications when a file’s status changes. Popup notifications display directly inside Microsoft Office when other people view a file that you are also viewing, when someone else starts editing that file, or when a newer version of that file becomes available.

Anatomy of the App Tab

The App Tab displays inside Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint when you open a file in a synced folder.

By default, the App Tab displays in the middle of the right edge of your document window, but you can drag it anywhere along the left or right side of your Microsoft Office application. The color and icon of the App Tab will change based on the state of the document. Whenever the state changes (for instance, when someone else starts editing that document), the larger popup window will briefly display to show you the status. You can also click on the App Tab at any point to check on the status of your document.

The notification window contains three sections, as shown above:

  • The Info section displays the current status message regarding your file, and when the file was last updated. It also contains quick access to online Help.
  • The People section shows you others that are actively viewing or editing the same file (with pictures if they have associated a Gravatar icon with their Syncplicity account email address). The People section will also let you switch to a newer version of the file, if someone else saves changes.
  • The Settings section contains a Browse to My Syncplicity link, which will open My Syncplicity in your default browser directly to the location of the file, so you can access version history. A settings menu contains options to prevent popup notifications for advanced users, or even hide the entire App Tab. Of course, if you hide the App Tab entirely, you won’t know when other users are editing shared files. If you choose this option, you can re-enable the App Tab from the Syncplicity Settings dialog, which is accessible from the Windows taskbar.

A Quick Feature Tour of the App Tab

The App Tab works with any number of people viewing and editing the same file. In this guide, we’ll pretend that you and a coworker named Doug are working on a shared file.

Here, the App Tab shows that you are the only person viewing this file:

When someone else opens the same file, the App Tab shows a notification:

If you start making edits, your App Tab changes to a pencil icon to indicate that you changed the file:

And if someone else starts editing first, the App Tab will notify you with a lock icon, suggesting that you wait before making changes:

You can choose to wait until the other person saves their changes. Or you can both edit the file if you really need to. In that case, you will both get a warning that if you both save changes, you will create multiple conflicting versions of the file:

As with previous versions of Syncplicity, it’s not harmful to create conflicting versions, but it can be confusing to have extra conflict files show up in your shared folders. So the App Tab gives you the information you need to avoid creating these extra files by accident.

When someone else saves their changes, Syncplicity will sync the file as it normally does. The App Tab will let you know whenever a new version is ready. Simply click “Switch to this version” and your file will be updated to the newest available version:

Ah, you say, what if your colleague saves a new version while you are editing a previous version? No problem! If you have unsaved changes, and someone else saves a new version, the App Tab will offer to save your changes separately so no information is lost:

One more neat feature to mention: clicking “Browse to My Syncplicity” will open your browser to My Syncplicity, directly to the location of the file you’re editing! This will let you easily browse or restore other versions or branches of your file.

And that’s it! We hope you enjoy using this new collaboration feature, and send us feedback. There’s always more to do.

 

For more info, watch the App Tab video Guide

 

Technical Info:

  • The App Tab communicates over industry-standard WebSocket connections. If your company’s network infrastructure blocks WebSocket connections, the App Tab will not function properly.
  • The event server used by the App Tab communicates over this secure URL, which must be allowed through your network: https://event.syncplicity.com

 

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