Is there a web app I can use to version-track text?

I'm a copy editor, and I'm forever swapping chapters back and forth with author clients.

My ideal app would be able to check documents in and out, and indicate who's working on what. It'd have to play nice with Word and OpenOffice. I know that SharePoint would do the job (and then some), but it's too expensive. (I also remember it being slow.)

Everything I find out there seems to be geared for either project management (not what I want to do) or is aimed at coders. I'm looking for something more general-purpose for writers.

  • @pnuts: Why are you methodically editing long-latent questions? I can see one or two, but the front page is flooded every day with edits that seem, quite frankly, unnecessary. – ale Dec 14 '17 at 21:00
  • @pnuts This edit had nothing to do with the tagging, though. I'm in agreement with Al, especially in cases like this or adding a tag that's only used on one question. You are free to use your time as you wish, but I think that if you really want to contribute, I'm not sure this is the optimal way to do so. – jonsca Dec 14 '17 at 21:42
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    @pnuts If most of the questions are closed, it's probably safe to say that the tags are over-generalized, and we can probably just get rid of them rather than making mass edits and taking the time to make tag wiki excerpts for every last one. I enjoy your passion for the site, I just think that you're going a bit overboard at times. Front page action is important for the sites to function, and if all we have to present is questions from 2010 with (largely) inconsequential edits like this one, we're going to be in trouble. – jonsca Dec 14 '17 at 22:00
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    Perhaps this is a conversation that should happen as a meta question and not in the comments of a closed question? – neilfein Dec 14 '17 at 22:29
  • You're correct, neilfein. @pnuts, it'd be great if you could create a question on Web Applications Meta explaining this project. (Then we can delete all of these comments.) – ale Dec 15 '17 at 13:21

Have you tried Google Docs? They have version tracking and also live editing. The interface is dead simple and it allows for a ton of storage. Also, it will make it über easy to share it with other people.

It does convert files to Doc, PDF, RTF, and OpenOffice formats for extremely easy attachments and downloads.

Another alternative would be to use the new Microsoft Word (not online though) because I'm pretty sure it features most of the features Google Docs features when it comes to sharing but of course it's not online.

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    The good thing is, you don't have to check files out. Multiple people can work on the simultaneously. One can easily see what others are working on in real-time. Google Docs are great. And getting better every now and then when they add new features. – Robert Koritnik Oct 5 '10 at 12:44
  • I think that working on the documents from the online version isn't an option, which is why I want to check documents in and out. Too many people work on paper, and Google Docs, while great, is dead slow. – neilfein Oct 5 '10 at 16:26
  • ...unfortunately, it may be the best option. – neilfein Oct 7 '10 at 4:32
  • There's also Office online but it's not as great as Google Docs. Just goto officelive.com... – Muhammad Usman Oct 7 '10 at 6:49
  • I recommend against Google Docs because you don't control when a new version is created vs. a minor change that shouldn't be versioned. Also, the formatting is positively awful and they've moved away from a CSS-based model for formatting. Bleah. Plus, they do things like suddenly move from a CSS-based model to Non-CSS. – Caveatrob Jan 25 '11 at 22:22

Try Microsoft's SkyDrive. It allows versioning, sharing, and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. And the nice thing - you don't even have to have Office anymore - you can now edit the documents online.


Git: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(software)

or just Google Docs


Have you looked at DocuVantage OnDemand? This is a hosted document/content management platform and the base product includes document capture, document imaging, document management, OCR/Text search, version control, permission based security, collaboration, alerts and ad-hoc workflow. You can also add rules-based workflow, records management and electronic signature signing. The integrated modules can be purchased separately and it is a subscription service.


You could check out docUcapture a link texthosted document management system. It is low cost and permits version tracking as well as other more advanced document control capabilities.


Try HyperOffice. A real simple online document management system for small companies. It works with traditional filetypes like MS Office etc. You get online file storage, check in check out, versioning, comments, notifications, full text search, drag and drop batch uploads, desktop web folder etc.


Doesn't get much simplier or easier to use then writeboard: http://writeboard.com/

It sounds an almost perfect match for the use case your asking about.

  • Unfortunately, Writeboard doesn't support using Word/Open Office Writer files. – neilfein Oct 18 '10 at 15:03
  • Thats true - you can export as html from a writeboard, though importing would now be so easy as writeboard use textile markup. – Maks Oct 18 '10 at 22:59

KnowledgeTree has all the document management features you are looking for in a cloud app and has some integrations for office. http://www.knowledgetree.com


You should look into using MindTouch. They have content moderation, version tracking and are in the cloud. Even attachments like pdfs have version control. You may also enjoy reading the STC article "The Future of Technical Communication Is Socially Enabled".

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