Use TypeWith.me to Collaborate on Documents in Real-Time

Having to shift between different computers and mobile devices is something we do without thinking about. We spend so much time staying connected that it’s second nature to us by now. However, our flow is interrupted whenever we have to figure out a way to work on something we may not have easy access to. What if you forgot to email yourself a copy of a document? Perhaps you might need to quickly collaborate with several people to create a proposal – and none of them are in the same location.

This is where a tool such as TypeWith.me comes in handy. You can either use a generic URL which the application will assign to you, or choose your own document name by typing in typewith.me/documentname (if it’s not already taken, that is!). There’s nothing to configure or install, and you’ll find a host of options to help you get things done. If you’ve already been scratching out notes in a standard text program and need to share it with others, simply choose to import your file from HTML, standard text, Microsoft Word or from a Rich Text File document.

This application (based on the open sourced EtherPad code) allows you to invite anyone to join in the process simply by sending them an email from inside your document or by pasting a link in an email or IM. Your unique URL is created when you begin the document, and every change is saved immediately. You can quickly revert to a previous version at any point in time, and adjust the slider bar to only save in increments of your choosing.

While you are viewing a saved version, you can grab a link to it (instead of your working document) and share it with others to read-only or collaborate with you on. You’ll also be allowed to download these saved versions at any point in time – exactly the way each of them were saved. No more deciding “I like the old way better!” and having to completely redo things. Just click on the version you want and go from there.

Your collaborators can each type in their changes and additions in a color assigned to them. This makes it a snap for you to see who has done what… and why! You can, of course, also strip away background colors completely, as well as the line numbers. Additionally, you can change the spacing of the document slightly so that it is easier for others to read. Simply click on the Options tab at the top of the page and make your changes.

You can use this free service from virtually any type of laptop, computer or phone that you might own – as long as it can access the Internet. This genius little document creator even works on an iPad. You’ll have to export the document as text or HTML first in order to select text on that particular device. Your export options include HTML, plain-text, bookmark file, PDF and Microsoft Word.

TypeWith.me is not meant to replace traditional text-editing documents. It is, however, a fantastic way to quickly access your documents from any machine or device you happen to be using. Type or click your URL and you’re there.

And be careful about what you place on the open Internet. The chances of people finding what you’ve done is slim… but you never know!