Tip of the week: How to finalize collaborative projects in only 5 steps

Dropbox commenting and Microsoft Office integration

When you’re working on a project that involves lots of other people, much of the hard work comes at the end. Getting colleagues to review the content, add their feedback, check the revised version(s), and approve the final product can take weeks or even months.

The typical process might look something like this: You send emails, ping people on chat, or find them in person to remind them to look at the files; you aggregate the feedback; you incorporate it into the content… and then you start the review process all over again for the new version.

But now there’s a better way, thanks to the combination of commenting and our Microsoft Office integration. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Open the file. Go to Dropbox.com and click on the Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file you’re working on.

Step 2: Gather feedback via comments. In the comments pane on the right, start adding a comment. Type @ and then the name or email address of one of the reviewers; repeat until you’ve mentioned everyone who should review at this stage. Finish the comment by asking for feedback on the file by a certain date and time. As the reviewers add suggestions or edits in the comments pane, you’ll be notified of new comments (unless you unsubscribe from notifications by clicking ‘Options’). You can ask clarifying questions or respond to reviewers by adding your own comments, and they’ll be notified too.

Step 3: Make the edits. When you’re ready to integrate the edits, just click the ‘Open’ button in the top right. You can choose to open the file in the corresponding desktop program, or if your company has an Office365 subscription, you can open it with Office Online and stay in the browser. All your changes will be saved back to Dropbox, so the file will be updated for all the reviewers.

Step 4: Add another comment asking for a second review (if necessary). If the new version also needs sign-off, add a comment asking for people to review the second round. Anyone who’s been mentioned or has left a comment will get notified automatically, and you can add new reviewers by using the @ symbol.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat, or rejoice. If you need multiple cycles of edits and reviews, repeat steps 1 through 4. If your content is now approved, sit back and relax!

Want to learn more? Here’s some additional info on commenting and on our Microsoft Office integration. Happy working!