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How To See Who's Editing a Microsoft Office File via Google Drive File Stream

When you have Google Drive File Stream (GDFS) installed, all of your Google Drive files are available on your "G" drive. So if you want to edit an Office file, for example, simply click that drive, navigate to the folder you need, and double click a file to open it. This works great for Office files like Excel and Word.

If you're using a shared drive, you may find it helpful to know when someone else is already editing a specific file. Google calls this feature "Real Time Presence" and it is turned on by default for all users. To make sure it's turned on for your account:

  1. Right click the GDFS icon in your system tray.
  2. Click the gear icon and select "Preferences"
  3. Make sure the checkbox is turned in for "Real time presence"


With this feature turned on, when you open an Office document, Google provides information about the status of the file in a small window in the lower right corner of the document. The best way to see how this works is to test a few scenarios.


1) Open a document that you know is not being used by someone else.  You'll see this message telling you that it's safe to edit:


2) Open a document that someone else is already editing, you'll see a message like this, suggesting that you wait to edit:


If you remain in the document while the other user is editing, you'll see messages similar to these:




Google only uses this feature to notify you of the status of the document. It's then up to you to decide what to do next. You can choose to save your document as a copy, you can compare the different versions of the document, you might even want to just call the other person to coordinate the editing of that file. If both users choose to save their version of the document, the last one saved wins.

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