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DocVerse: Easy MS Office Document Sharing and Collaboration

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docverselogo1One of the great things about apps like Google Docs (s goog) and Zoho is how easy they make it to collaborate with others. No more emailing a Word 2007 document to a colleague only to find they’re using Word 97 — or even worse, that sinking feeling that comes with the realization that you and your colleagues have all been working on different revision versions. New startup DocVerse aims to bring the kind of easy cross-platform sharing and collaboration you get with Google Docs to Microsoft (s MSFT) Office users.

I took the beta version of DocVerse for a spin today, and first impressions are good.

DocVerse promises easy document sharing and collaboration and it does just that: you get one-click syncing of documents from with Office and the ability to collaborate on documents with people who don’t have Office installed. Notably, it’s currently limited to PowerPoint 2007 users; DocVerse plans to roll out support for Word, Excel and Office 2003 later this spring.

You start by downloading and installing the software, and setting up a DocVerse account. DocVerse installs an add-on for PowerPoint, which adds a new pane to your PowerPoint window:

DocVerse pane in Powerpoint window
DocVerse pane in PowerPoint window

To start sharing the presentation, you just click the large “Add to DocVerse” button. The file gets uploaded to your DocVerse account. From now on, every time you save the file, it is synced with your DocVerse account. Here you can see that I’ve created a presentation and added it to my DocVerse:

Presentation ready to be shared using DocVerse

There are a couple of options for sharing the document. The first is to enter the email addresses of other DocVerse users into the “People” box, which means that any changes your colleague makes will be synced with your document and vice versa. DocVerse has a built-in resolution system to deal with any potential conflicts.

The second option is to use the document’s DocVerse URL. The great thing about this option is that you can use it to share the document with anyone; they don’t need to have PowerPoint or DocVerse installed.

Here’s my presentation in a browser window:

My presentation in Chrome
My presentation in Chrome

Although they can’t edit the document directly, people viewing the presentation in a browser can add comments that are then synced back to the file on my computer. This kind of simple cross-platform sharing and collaboration will make DocVerse really useful. I can’t wait for it to roll out support for the rest of the Office suite, for while I love Google Apps, I still need to use Office (particularly Word) from time to time.

DocVerse is currently in private beta. If you’d like to try it out, we have 200 invitations to give away to WWD readers .

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