Co-Editing a Document with a Client

Co-Edit with Client allows you to share and edit documents with clients, their employees, bookkeeper and business contacts. It allows both your client and your team members to work together on the same document at the same time. 

This could be used, for example for an Annual Checklist that the client can fill in and enter any questions. There is no need for the client to email the document back to your practice. While it is in Co-Edit with Client, the document is held on your practice's Collaborate site in the relevant client's folder so you have access to see any changes the client has made. Refer also to Overview - Co-edit with Client.

Incompatible Excel Features for both Desktop and Online

Some features of Excel are only available in the Desktop version. To ensure that all of your clients can use your spreadsheet successfully, you should only co-edit documents with clients that contain features compatible with both the Online and Desktop versions of Excel.

Features we don't recommend using:

  • Linking cells between sheets
  • Macros
  • Other controls e.g. buttons

Sharing a document as Co-Edit with Client

You can only use Co-Edit with Client for an Office document (Word, Excel spreadsheet or Presentation). These files cannot be sent as PDFs.

Share Via Email

  1. Select one or more documents from the Documents list.

  2. Click the Share button in the toolbar to display the Create Email drawer.

  3. Include any additional Recipients.

    : If you want to share a document as Co-Edit with Client with more than one person, select all the recipients when you perform the Share. Once a document is in Co-Edit with Client, it cannot be shared with any other external users. If you subsequently need to add extra people, you would need to Finish Client Co-Editing and re-share it again with all the required people.

    Note: Any external users that have access to the folders in the Collaborate site will be able to view the document even if it isn’t shared directly with them, however, they will not be able to edit the document.

  4. Select the Template to send to your client.

    Note: The template must include the Attachment Link Merge Field. If the document is accessed using the CollaborateSiteLink or UploadFolderLink attachments it will be opened as Read Only  and cannot be edited. Refer to Setting up Collaborate Email Templates
    Note: The Attachment link is generated for the email addresses you choose in FYI when drafting the email.

  5. Change any filing details for the email that will be sent to the Client.

  6. Select Save or Send in the same way as any other email to save it as Draft in FYI, Draft in Outlook or Send Immediately. By default, this is set as Draft in FYI.

    If you select Draft in Outlook, ensure that you do not make any changes to the recipients as the link will not be generated for any recipients added to the email in Outlook. Emails saved as "Draft in Outlook" are marked as "Sent" in FYI immediately, and should be managed from Outlook directly from that point onwards. The Workflow Status will be set to "Completed".

  7. Update the Send Attachments option to Collaborate.

  8. Include as PDF must be set as "Off".

  9. When Send Attachments is Collaborate and Include as PDF is "Off" an additional option Co-Edit with Client displays.

    Set the Co-Edit with Client option to "On". The recipient will be able to access and edit the document. In addition, any of your practice's team members will also have access to edit the document.

    Note: When Co-Edit with Client is "Off", the document is shared as read-only, and is sent as an Office document (not as a PDF).

  10. Click Create.


The client can then access the document directly from the email link, or the New Collaborate SharePoint site. Refer to the section How Clients Access and Edit Documents in Co-Edit below.

Share No Email

  1. In FYI, select one or more documents. Refer also to Selecting Documents in a List in Using the Documents Lists
    Note: Up to 10 documents can be shared at one time.

  2. Click the arrow on the Share menu and select No Email.

  3. The Share Document Drawer is displayed.

  4. The Client will be automatically selected, and the client folder where the file will be uploaded. 

  5. From the Send Documents drop-down select Collaborate. Two new options will be displayed - Include as PDF, and Co-Edit with Client. 

  6. Set Include as PDF to "Off".

  7. Set Co-Edit with Client to "On".

  8. Click Send

  9. The file is uploaded to the New SharePoint site with the correct permissions applied.

The client can then access the document directly from the New Collaborate SharePoint site. Refer to the section How Clients Access and Edit Documents in Co-Edit below.

Finding Documents in Co-Edit with Clients

When a document is marked for Co-edit with Client, it shows the Co-Edit with Client icon in the Documents lists.


The Documents List can be updated to display the Edit Status column, and filtered to display only documents with a status of Client Co-edit. Refer to Adding, Removing and Moving Columns in the Documents Lists.


Any documents that are shared as Co-Edit with Client are also included in the Client - Collaborate tab.


Documents that cannot be shared as Co-Edit with Client

You cannot Co-Edit with Client documents that are:

  • Already being edited by another user. You must finish editing the document first. Refer to Opening, Editing and Finish Editing Documents.
  • Locked because it has a workflow Status of "Completed", "Approved", "Pending Client Signature" or "Client Signed". A user with the appropriate workflow Approval Level can first change the workflow status. Refer to Workflow Basics.
  • Being Co-Edited Internally. You must finish the internal Co-Edit first. Refer to Finish Co-Editing in Co-Editing an Internal Document.

If any of the selected documents cannot be shared for Co-Edit with Client,  the Co-Edit with client setting is not enabled and displays the following message when you try to click it.


If you select a document other than an Office document (for example, a PDF or an email) it will be shared as read-only and will not be shared as Co-Edit with client.

How Clients Access and Edit Documents in Co-Edit

In the same way as when a document is shared via email with the client, the client clicks the link in the email or opens the document from the Collaborate site. 

If a document was enabled for Co-Edit using the Share - No Email process, clients will be able to access the document from the New Collaborate SharePoint site. To send the client a link to the document, follow the steps in the Share Via Email section above.


The document opens directly from your practice's Collaborate site. The client can make any changes using Office online. The following is an example of a document opened in Excel Online where the client is making changes.


Making Changes to a Document that is in Co-Edit with Client

Documents in Co-Edit with Client can also be edited by a team member, as long as the user has access to the Cabinet the document is filed under. The document can be opened from the Client - Collaborate tab or from any Documents list.

Once a document is in Co-Edit with Client, it cannot be edited exclusively by a user.

  1. Select the document in a list.
    The Co-Edit button displays in the toolbar (instead of the Edit button).

  2. Click Co-Edit to open the document for editing in the relevant Office Online product (Word Online, Excel Online or PowerPoint Online).

Note: When you make a change to a document in Co-Edit with Client, it does not show in your Home - My Edits.

More than One User Working on a Document at the Same time

In the same way as when co-editing an internal document, if the client (or another team member) is editing the document that is in Co-Edit with Client at the same time that you have the document opened, and you are working in the same area of the document, you will also see any changes being made by the other person as they make them.

If the client or another person is editing, a flag displays next to where the other user is working with the person's initials.


You can hover over the initials to see the name of the client who is Co-editing the document which is the account the client logged in as.


If the client is editing at the same time as a team member is also editing, the client will see that person's initials.


The client can hover over the initials to see the name of the other user who is Co-editing the document.


Actions not available when Document is in Co-Edit with Client

  • You cannot Delete a document that is in Co-Edit with Client. First, Finish Client Co-editing (see below) and then you can Delete.
  • You cannot use Save as New Version from the Versions section in the drawer.
  • You cannot change the client with Bulk Update.

If you need to do any of these actions, first Finish Client Co-Editing.

Workflow Status and Co-Edit

If the workflow Status is changed for a document that is already in Client Co-Edit (for example, to "Approved" or "Completed") the document is then locked for users and no further Client Co-Editing changes can be made. If further changes are needed, change the workflow Status to unlock it.

Finish Client Co-Editing

Finish Client Co-Editing can only be done by the user who initiated the Co-Edit with client, or by an FYI Admin.

  1. Select the document from the list.
  2. In the drawer, click Finish Client Co-Editing.

  3. Click Yes to confirm.


If you need to make the document Co-Edit with Client again, you can share it again with the client.

Note: If the client has the document open when you click Finish Client Co-Editing, you will see a message that the document cannot be synced.

User Showing in the Activity and Modified By

The documents in Co-Edit with Client may show initially the user as the Modified By user, or the Saved by user, as the user set up as the admin account for your OneDrive (refer to Link your Practice's OneDrive Admin Account). When a user edits a document that is in Co-Edit with Client, the Modified By shows the relevant name. When a user finishes Co-Edit with the client, this will once again show the Modified By user as the user set up as the account for your OneDrive. 

Activity Section in the Drawer
As well as any changes to the filing details, the Activity section in the drawer shows the audit trail of who Client Co-Edited the document and when the Client Co-Edit started and was finished.

Document Versions

When the document is Client Co-Edited, a new version is added to the Versions section in the drawer, and the file name is changed to display the new version number. This automatically creates the audit trail and, if needed, allows you to restore earlier versions. Refer to Version History and Creating a New Document Version.

Adding a version number to the end of the file name ensures that each file is unique, and that correct permissions are applied to ensure only authorised clients and users can access the file. It also avoids any risk of caching issues caused by files sharing the same file name.

The first time the file is created there is no version number. Each time the document is marked "Finish Client Co-Editing" the number will increase consecutively, for example, 1, 2, 3 and so on.

Note: This version number cannot be modified or removed. Changing the file name manually will impact the ability of clients to access the file. 

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