Co-Editing an External Document (Co-Edit with Client)

Support has now ended for Legacy Collaborate.

To upgrade to New Collaborate, refer to Upgrading to New Collaborate.

The FYI Co-Edit with Client function allows you to share editable documents with clients, their employees, bookkeeper and business contacts. It also allows more than one person to work on a document at the same time so both your client and your team members can work together on the same document. Refer also to Overview - Co-Edit with Client.

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 practice. While it is in Co-Edit with Client, the document is held on your practice's OneDrive in the relevant client's folder so you have access to see any changes the client has made.

Excel Spreadsheets with Linked Cells, Macros and Other Controls

Do not Co-Edit with the client any Excel Spreadsheets with linked cells, macros and other controls

In the chance that your clients do not have licensed versions of Microsoft Office, do not Co-Edit with Client any Excel spreadsheets that have linked cells between spreadsheets, macros, or other controls such as buttons. If unlicensed, your clients will not have the option to open the spreadsheet in the desktop application. For more information refer to Co-Editing Excel Spreadsheets with Linked Cells, Macros and other Controls, or Links to specific Worksheets.

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.

Important Note: 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 share it with additional people, you would need to Finish Client Co-Editing and re-share it again with all the required people.

  1. In FYI, select one or more Office documents. Refer to Selecting Documents in a List in Using the Documents Lists.

  2. Click the Share button in the toolbar; the Create Email drawer displays.

  3. In the Create Email Drawer, for the Send via option, select Collaborate.

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

  5. When Send via is set to Collaborate and Include as PDF is "Off" an additional option Co-Edit with client displays.


    Click Co-Edit with client to toggle the field to "On". The recipient will be able to access and edit the document with the link that is sent. Also, any of your practice's team members will have access to edit the document.

    Note: Any external users that have access to the Share Folder will be able to view the document even if it isn’t shared directly with them, but they will not be able to edit it so that any changes will be seen by the internal team members.

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

  6. In the Drawer, select the template to use.

    Note: The template must include the Attachment Link Merge Field {{ AttachmentLinks }}. Refer to Setting up an Email Template to Send via Collaborate in Including Merge Fields in Email Templates and Signatures

    Ensure you use the {{ AttachmentLinks }} Merge Field. Do not use the {{ ShareFolderLink | web_link }} and {{ UploadFolderLink | web_link }} as these are used when sharing folders via Collaborate. Documents opened from the ShareFolderLink will open in a Read Only state, and cannot be edited.

    The ShareFolderLink and UploadFolderLink Merge Fields are not designed to work in an Automation or if the Template is selected when an email is created directly. 

    Note: The Attachment link is generated for the email address(es) you choose in FYI when drafting the email. If the email is sent to Outlook and additional recipients are added, these additional recipients will not be able to access the link as it was generated for the original recipient(s) in FYI.

  7. The Cabinet and Categories set as the default for documents that are Co-Edited with your clients are the filing defaults that have been set for your OneDrive Admin Account, that is, the FYI user who has linked your practice's OneDrive (refer to Link your Practice's OneDrive Admin Account). To set the filing defaults for a user, refer to Setting Defaults and Filing Defaults for your Own Login - My Settings.

    You can change any filing details for the email that will be sent to the Client.

  8. You can add additional recipient(s) to send the email to or as the CC.

    Ensure that all intended recipients are selected so that the link is generated for each of them.

    Note: All recipients will be able to edit the shared document.

  9. 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.

    Note: 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.

  10. Click Create.


When the email is sent to the client, it is created in the same way as notification of the send and this includes a link to each document that was attached. Refer to Sharing Documents via Collaborate.

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 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.

1111 Collaborate with Co-edit with Client.gif

Documents that cannot be shared as Co-Edit with Client

You cannot Co-Edit with Client documents that are locked because they are being edited, because of the workflow status, or if it is already being Co-Edited Internally. If any of the selected documents cannot be shared for Co-Edit with Client,  the Co-Edit with client switch is not enabled and displays the following message when you try to click it.


  • If the document is locked because it is already being edited by another user, first finish the editing. Refer to Opening, Editing and Finish Editing Documents.

  • You cannot Co-Edit with Client a document that is 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.

  • If the document is being Co-Edited internally, first finish the internal Co-Edit and then Co-Edit with Client. Refer to Finish Co-Editing in Co-Editing an Internal Document.

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.

Documents can be Displayed and Edited by the Client

In the same way as when a document is shared with the client as read-only, the client clicks the link in the email to access the document. If relevant, they will be asked to request the verification code and enter this to access the document. The client can only access the specific document and the access is given to that specific user only.

Note: If the folder has been shared with the client, they can open and edit this from the Share Folder. Refer to Sharing Documents via Collaborate and Sharing the Share Folder with the Client.


The document opens directly from your practice's OneDrive Admin Account. 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).

The following is an example of a document opened in Excel Online. It shows the changes that have been made by the client and it is now being edited by the team member.


Note: Changes to a document in Co-Edit with Client are not displayed 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 editing the document, 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 editing the document.


Actions Not Available when Document is in Co-Edit with Client

When a document is in Co-Edit with Client, you cannot do the following:

  • Delete a document
  • Use Save as New Version from the Versions section in the drawer.
  • Change the client with Bulk Update.

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

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

  1. Select the document in a 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

Currently, because the documents are being added to the OneDrive folder, 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 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. This shows the user as the admin account for your OneDrive (refer to Link your Practice's OneDrive Admin Account). 

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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