Co-authoring on SharePoint 2013 basically means, the use of a single piece of document by two or more individuals at the same time.

To understand Co-authoring in action take a look through this post about SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint 2013 which has screenshots showing co-authoring in progress Post

Co-Authoring is really an important feature when there are members within an organization spread across multiple teams, geographical locations working on different sections within a same document for example. But with all good things there is also a bit of a drawback.

With on-premise deployments of SharePoint 2013, co-authoring can be quite system resource intensive on small scale deployments of SharePoint 2013. By Small scale it could be

  • All in one server with both SharePoint 2013 and SQL backend
  • Two tier model with a single application layer server with a separate SQL backend.

With deployments as above, system resource allocation may not be the best suited to have Co-Authoring enabled for that matter. You can either have co-authoring turned off completely or target specific web service level or the web application level. In both scenarios the target applications are Word and PowerPoint documents.

In order to disable Co-authoring at a web service level, run the following set of commands from a PowerShell Script.

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$SPServer = "<NAME_SharePoint_Server>"
$SPsite=new-object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($SPServer)
$SPsite.WebApplication.WebService.DisableCoauthoring = $true;
$SPsite.WebApplication.WebService.Update();

In order to disable Co-authoring at a web application level (preferred) , run the following set of commands from a PowerShell script.

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$SPServer = "<NAME_SharePoint_Server>"
$SPsite=new-object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite($SPServer)
$SPsite.WebApplication.DisableCoauthoring = $true;
$SPsite.WebApplication.Update();

Cheers