Monday, 10 August 2015

TitanPad – collaboratively work on a document simultaneously in real time

TitanPad is a free simple tool that facilitates people to work on a document simultaneously online without the need for account creation.
TitanPad allows you to easily create a new document or private space that can be shared using the unique url, once the person clicks your link they enter their name and can begin writing. Additions and edits to the document are made in real time and to make it easy to identify track changes each collaborator is allocated a different colour. Changes to your document are automatically saved however you also given the option to save changes whenever you like as well as having the option to revert to previous versions of the document if necessary.
There is a simple chat feature that allows group members to communicate with other fellow collaborators.

Please note that documents can only edited by those who have the unique link therefore to keep the working document private share those involved in the collaboration.  If you want to enforce security of your document then it is recommended that you create an account to obtain your own private space.
Depending on the activity of each ‘pad’ there is an automatic deletion after two weeks from when it was last accessed or when an amendment was made.

1. Create a document
Navigate to and click on the Create public pad button:

You will then be presented with the following screen:

The URL address is unique to your pad which you can share with fellow collaborators.

2. Get started
Insert your name and change the colour if necessary as you are automatically assigned.
3. Share your Pad
Click on the on the Invite link to view the sharing options which include a sharable link and sending email invites directly from Titanpad:

4. Communicate with fellow collaborators
A simple colour coded text only chat feature is available along the right hand side of the pad:

5. Text editing tools
Along the top of your pad you will notice the usual text editing tools including bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, bullet list, indentation, save, undo and redo edits as well as removing the colour coding of edits:

6. Pad Options
The Pad Options menu allows you to remove the colour coded collaboration highlights in the documentation as well as the numbers in the left margin:

7. Import / Export
Documents can be created from scratch or by using the Import feature which allows you to extract text from HTML, word or RTF files. Whilst the export feature allows the finalised document to be downloaded in the form of html, bookmark file, as an open document, plain text, PDF or word file.

8. Saved revisions
Although TitanPad saves automatically you can also create save points, which is useful if you make a major revision that you can revert back to if you change your mind at a later date. In the example below I can see there are two major edits with the ability to view the edit, restore before the edit or accept the changes by clicking the Save now button.

9. Time slider
One of the features that caught my eye was the time slider which allows you to view past document revisions in the order that they occurred.  You can either ‘play’ the slider to view the additions/edits as they took place in the document or you can manually move the timeline to specific points. Save now points are highlighted on the slider as yellow stars.
As well as viewing the changes you can move the slider to a specific point and download the document at that specific version.

Final thoughts
TitanPad offers a quick and easy to work collaboratively on a document without the need to create accounts thus saving time from any registration process usually associated with most online tools.
It is a tool that can facilitate online brainstorming sessions with multiple members that collaborate together as a group in real ideal making it ideal for students carrying out group work.

It’s best to keep in mind that TitanPad is a text only tool therefore you cannot create work with spreadsheets, charts, tables or images.  However this does not stop it from being an effective tool. Here are some ideas on what you can use TitanPad for:
- Work collaboratively with others on one document in real time
- Brainstorming ideas and lists
- Sharing pieces of information when working in a group or collaborative environment
- Improving important typing and English skills as well as critical thinking
- Task management
- Story writing
- Meeting minutes

Twitter: @SOASBLETech

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