Collaborating via Word documents when being used to Git

Maybe, this is a weird question, but does anyone here have tips on how to collaborate with people who work via Word? I’ve used Git so much now that I simply don’t know anymore how to manage

  • applying changes without breaking things,
  • managing who changed what, and
  • reverting to old versions.

Using collaborative text editors such as Google Docs isn’t really an option. The people that I’m collaborating with are used to sending Word documents back and forth. I’m hoping that some of you here have some trick like “convert the Word document to Markdown via Pandoc and track that via Git”, or maybe another tool…

If it’s a somewhat recent version, then Word also supports some form of comments and annotations for suggested changes. It can also keep versions inside of a document, though it’ll balloon document size.

Though asking on this forum may be a little off the rails - maybe you can spearhead a change away from this system? The best course of action will probably be to talk to the other parties involved.

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Haha nice one to know still

I guess that Google Docs would be possible. However, a switch to Git seems nearly impossible. Switching to Git means switching away from Word since the two tools don’t work well together.

If you’re using Word documents to manage information, just use email to communicate it. Email is standardized, has searchable history and a variety of hosting options, everyone’s got an address, it’s easy to include others on a thread, etc. It’s a fine workflow for exchanging things that aren’t code, and is accessible to basically anyone who isn’t comfortable learning modern version control technology.

(Of course, if you are exchanging code, and trying to do that with Word, that’s a horrible idea and a waste of everyone’s time. Word documents were not made for collaboration; use Google Docs or store plain text/Markdown documents in Git instead.)

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That’s basically what we’re using and I my question is about how to make it easier to track changes and stuff.

Say that one has a document of 10 000 words. I‘ve had someone accidentally removing an image. I had to go back three versions because no one noticed that the image was removed. Also, if I accept a change and figure out one day later that I shouldn’t have done it, it’s quite a hassle to figure out what the original text was.

You can use Markdown with Git. Then when you need to see pretty-pretty, convert to HTML or Word using pandoc.


It is possible to use word in the same way as google docs, with all editing the same online shared file. If the author puts the file in the OneDrive. Something like that.

Now, if you are writing scientific papers, learn the GoogleDocs PaperPile add on and with that convince everyone else that it is much easier to use that than any other cumbersome reference manager (sorry bibtex included). Has worked for me so far.


You may use Office 365. Then you will have real time collaboration, comments and built in version control.
It should give you a similar experience to what you’re looking after.


I agree with @RoyiAvital but also concur with others. Word is pretty bad for collaboration. Microsoft did build some sort of collaboration features for it though in recent releases. It makes it much more like Google Docs. I think Dropbox also offers something like this if you are a paying subscriber

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