Co-authoring Office Documents on a Mapped WebDAV Drive

TurboFTP Server Corporate version provides WebDAV service with file locking support. Authoring or editing software like MS Office suite comes with built-in WebDAV support and speaks WebDAV's file locking protocol, which makes it possible for multiple users to work on the same document safely and efficiently.

In this article, we demonstrate files residing on a WebDAV mapped drive, backed by TurboFTP Server, can be accessed by Office software, and the exclusiveness of write access is achieved. In our example there are two Windows machines, A and B. A has Office 2007 installed, and B has Office 2016 installed.

An important pre-requisite for WebDAV collaboration to work is to ensure date and time are sync'ed on client machines and the server machine. Make sure the machines' time are the same. Some WebDAV clients might rely on the file timestamp to identify a newer version, data loss is likely to occur when different systems' clocks are not sync'ed.

a. Map TurboFTP Server WebDAV share as a network drive on Windows boxes A and B.

b. Open a file called book1.xlsx on A, and make the modification. If during this time it is opened on B, Excel will notify that the file is in use (Fig. 1). B can only open the file in read-only mode and you can choose to get a notification when the file is ready for opening in read-write mode. Click Notify.
Office show locked file in use
Fig. 1: Excel shows file on WebDAV share is in use.

c. Close and save book1.xlsx on A's Excel 2007. After a short while Excel 2016 on B will prompt you that the file is ready for editing (Fig. 2). Click the Read-Write button to re-open the file for editing.

Office shows file available (unlocked) for editing

Fig. 2 Excel shows the file on WebDAV share is available for editing.

TurboFTP Server supports Windows version of MS Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. In addition, it supports MS Office for Mac 2011, 2016 and 2019.


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