You are here: Help Topics > Setup > Caseware SmartSync > About SmartSync

About SmartSync

SmartSync is a file synchronization system that enables you and your team to collaborate on client files simultaneously. As you work on a file, your changes synchronize instantly with each online user, and their changes synchronize with you.

File synchronization operates in the background and requires little intervention from users. When you create a sync copy of a file, the entire file is copied to your local drive. A hidden sync folder is also created on your local drive in the Working Papers file folder to track SmartSync information and record the changes.

Any updates you make to your local copy are then stored in this sync folder. During synchronization, only the changes made to the file (which are stored in the sync folder) are transmitted to the sync folder of the parent file. Synchronization is a two-way exchange; not only can you send your changes to the parent file, but you can also receive changes the parent file has already received from other sync copies. Throughout this process, the parent file does not need to be open.

When synchronized copies are working in an online state (in communication with the parent) these changes are synchronized in real time, without a need for manual intervention. Users can also choose to work offline and store their changes locally for a time before synchronizing with the parent.

CaseView and external documents

For CaseView and external documents (such as Word and Excel), incremental changes are not tracked. SmartSync can only detect that a change occurred in the file when the document is saved. In this case the entire file is compressed, saved and synchronized across the SmartSync network.

When working in external or CaseView documents it is important that an excessive number of versions are not saved as this can result in poor network performance. To avoid transmitting a new version of a document every time it is changed and saved, you can set the default synchronization behavior to On Demand.

Changes that require saving manually, such as modifying a CaseView document, are handled on an ongoing basis. The document is assumed to be the most up-to-date and so each save overwrites the previous save. The previous versions are retrievable however, and can even be compared to the most recent version to see what changes have occurred.

Peer-to-peer synchronization

Peer-to-peer synchronization lets users take advantage of SmartSync's benefits even while at a client site. Depending on the type of network connection available, you can either synchronize with a peer using your internal network or establish an external network in the field. When you return to the office, you can once again synchronize with the parent file.

It is important to note that in peer-to-peer synchronization the parent file does not leave the office. For more information, see Peer-to-peer synchronization.

Frequently asked questions

  • How are files stored in the Working Papers file folder, but not in the Document Manager, handled by SmartSync during publishing?

    All files in the Working Papers file folder and sub-folders are included in the published file. Files that are not in the Document Manager will not be published.

    For example, placing a Word document in the Working Papers file folder, but not in the Document Manager, will include the Word document in the published file and all sync copies created from it. All users can open the Word document and update it via Windows Explorer; however, these changes are not sent to the parent file, so they will not be seen by the other sync copies.

  • Does SmartSync support FTP?

    No. SmartSync requires byte level file locking which FTP does not support.

  • What ports does SmartSync use?

    During installation, SmartSync opens firewall port 50412 for Caseware SmartSync Presence Information. This is required for Working Papers to pass SmartSync information to other workstations on the local network. This information includes the list of users accessing SmartSync copies of a parent file as well as the documents within those copies that are currently open.

    If you do not open the port, you cannot view information about SmartSync copies in the user list window.

  • Does the Working Papers interface change when I upgrade to a SmartSync version?

    Yes. To view a detailed comparison, see Differences between SmartSync and non-SmartSync.