Real-time collaborative editing

Multiple team members can now view and edit a topic’s description simultaneously, enabling more seamless collaboration with less friction.

Apr 22, 2024

We’re delighted to announce that topic descriptions are now fully collaborative, real-time documents. Multiple users on your team can view and edit them at the same time.

From day one, Flat has always synced changes between users in real time. Drag and drop a card across the board? Add a label? Leave a comment? Your teammate would see your changes an instant later.

Changes to a topic’s description synced in a more limited way, after you clicked “Done” to submit them. Well, that limitation is no more! Now, topic descriptions sync in real-time as you type, just like a Google Doc. There’s no “Done” button anymore — changes are saved and synced automatically like everything else in Flat.

Real-time collaborative editing enables lots of use cases, including:

  • Capturing meeting notes: Everyone in a meeting can view the topic and watch in real time as the notetaker captures the notes. They can even make corrections themselves.

  • Cross-functional collaboration: A cross-functional team can collaboratively edit a topic’s description to hammer out a shared understanding of the work to be done from each of their perspectives.

  • Retrospectives: Using a Flat topic’s description to capture a project’s retrospective is a great way to add to your team’s knowledge base. With collaborative, real-time editing, your team can hash out the retrospective in a joint “jam session”.


To edit a topic’s description, just start typing. Your changes save and sync to the rest of your team automatically.

At the top of a topic’s page, you’ll also see who else is viewing the topic with you, even if they’re not actively editing it at the moment.

Flat topics vs. Google Docs

Although we’ve likened real-time editing in Flat to Google Docs, don’t think of them as replacements for one another. We think they’ll each have a place in your team’s work.

Google Docs is a full-featured word processor. That makes it a great place for producing many of your team’s work “outputs”: things like memos, articles, newsletters, brochures, reports, etc., and especially documents that will be printed or distributed outside your team. But as we talk about in this post, Google Docs can’t effectively serve as your team’s “home base” in the way that Flat can.

Unlike a Google Doc, a Flat topic captures two things about a piece of work: (1) its status — who’s working on it, how far along it is, etc., and (2) its context — what’s the goal, why are we doing it, how does it relate to other work. The topic’s description is what provides the context to anyone who views the topic today or in the future. Now that the description is a real-time document, your team can hash out that context more collaboratively and seamlessly than ever.

Andrew Kallem is Flat's co-founder and lead engineer. He has a background in finance, risk management, and computer science, and he has been writing software for nearly 30 years.