Workshare's Workshare Professional 4

This editing tool documents changes and simplifies version comparison. It also strips out metadata so you won't accidentally publish sensitive information.

April 8, 2005

2 Min Read
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• Provides complete document audit trail• Integrated window pane in Word, Excel and PowerPoint• Strips sensitive metadata


• Cannot work with password-protect documents• Lacks workflow tools• Limited versioning capability

Workshare Professional 4, $349 per seat for a perpetual license. Workshare, (888) 404-4246, (415) 975-3855.

On my ThinkPad, I changed the default mail program in Internet Explorer to Outlook and fired up Word to create a document. Workshare Pro placed a handy window pane of tools right in the user interface. A full set of tools is available from a pull-down menu.

From the Workshare pane, I could send my document to others, compare different versions of the document, view hidden metadata and convert documents to PDF format. When I finished my edits, I clicked the "send" icon and the doc went to the other two in my group.The Workshare Protect feature automatically strips sensitive metadata, such as the author's name, from Word docs (see Gratifying Gadgets for more on this capability). Workshare can be configured to prevent certain files or types of files from being e-mailed as attachments to people inside or outside the organization.

Once the metadata was stripped, Workshare created a mail message in Outlook with my document attached. It automatically included a subject line and text in the body of the message alerting the recipient that version 1 of a Workshare document was attached for review.

Back at Laptop 1

When I received the document again at my ThinkPad, the subject line of the e-mail message was my only alert to new edits coming in. Workshare lacks the in-depth version tracking of NextPage, so I had to identify the original document on disk to compare and incorporate edits.

Deltaview, Workshare's compare tool to merge edits with an original document, identifies changes and presents them in a summary view to accept, reject or flag for later consideration. Once you use Deltaview, you'll never go back to differencing engines like Microsoft's windiff.exe and Unix's diff.Workshare also supplied a complete audit trail of my document with its DAF (Document Audit File) technology. In HTML or XML format, DAF reports who received the file over e-mail and provides a comprehensive history of changes to the document along with who made those changes and when.

I incorporated the edits into my original document with one click and sent it back for review one more time. Unfortunately, Workshare identified this as version 1 to my reviewers--it would have made more sense if it had identified the doc as version 3 from laptop or person 1.

Sean Doherty is a technology editor and lawyer based at our Syracuse University Real-World Labs®. Write to him at [email protected].

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