1 June, 2023

Redlining a contract refers to the process of reviewing, editing, and revising a contract by highlighting proposed changes or revisions. Before the digital age, revisions were typically performed using a red pen - hence, the term ‘redlining”. In today’s digital world, word processing software creates highlighted text to indicate text under revision..

In the legal world, redlining often refers to the collaborative effort of creating and negotiating a contract. As the contract is reviewed, multiple parties often provide proposed changes which are then either accepted or rejected by the other parties until everyone involved is satisfied with the final product. These proposed edits frequently entail multiple iterations with multiple parties providing feedback. As such, the redlining process is not only cumbersome and costly, but also prone to error.

Redlining Software Improves the Process

A better solution is software designed for the redlining process. Redlining software allows users to track changes electronically and collaborate on documents in real-time and from remote locations. The software highlights changes in different colors, not just red, making it easier to distinguish between proposed changes from multiple parties.

Online document collaboration platforms also offer features that go far beyond the rudiments of marking up a document with a red pen. These features can include:

  • Integrated task management software
  • A comprehensive audit trail of all user changes, noting the owner, date, and time. This audit trail can be preserved even after changes have been accepted or rejected
  • Real-time document collaboration from remote locations
  • Version control and revision history
  • Role-based permissions that spell out what actions a user can take, such as read only, copy/paste, download

How to Choose the Right Software for Redlining

There are several online document collaboration platforms available. The best one for you will depend on your specific needs. Here are some popular options:

  1. Google Docs: Google Docs is a free web-based platform that allows multiple users to collaborate on a document in real-time. It includes a variety of features, such as chat, comments, and suggested edits. Google Docs does not automatically save and retain a history of document versions.
  2. Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that integrates with Office 365 and its Word document word processing app. It includes a range of tools, including chat, video conferencing, and document collaboration.
  3. Dropbox Paper: Dropbox Paper is a free web-based platform that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on documents in real-time. It includes a variety of features, such as comments, to-do lists, and task assignments.
  4. Quip: Quip is a collaboration platform that includes features such as chat, document collaboration, and task management. It's designed to help teams work more efficiently and stay organized.
  5. Zoho Docs: Zoho Docs is a cloud-based platform that includes a range of features, including document collaboration, file management, and online storage. It's designed to help teams work together more effectively and streamline their workflow.
  6. Collabloop: Collabloop is a cloud-based platform with state-of-the-art features designed to streamline the often cumbersome contract collaboration process. Collabloop is unique in that it resides as a module within ShareVault, an ultra-secure virtual data room. Collabloop features include: Role-based permissions, Immutable Audit Trail, Task Management, Tracking and Versioning, and integration with DocuSign, so that completed contracts can be finalized without ever leaving the secure environment of the data room.

All of these platforms offer varying levels of functionality and pricing plans, so it's important to assess your specific needs and budget when selecting a collaboration tool.

Overall, modern online redlining software platforms can be an important tool for ensuring that contracts are clear, accurate, and properly negotiated.