How Applicant Teams with External Collaborators Can Tap Workspace’s Full Potential

As the Legacy PDF retirement deadline nears, some applicant organizations are preparing to apply using Workspace for the very first time.

We recently sketched out application scenarios for organizations new to Workspace – a simple, minimalist approach to applying, as well as a standard approach.

Advanced approach to Workspace is the best path for organizations with external users, such as consultants

In this post, we sketch out a third scenario – one that involves a team of 5 to 12 (or more) registered applicants who range from grant managers and writers to outside consultants and sub-applicants from partner organizations.

Here’s the scenario:

You are about to begin your first federal grant application using Workspace. For years, you and several other colleagues applied using the old Legacy PDF Application Package. You traded a package of PDF forms back and forth—and back again.


You are eager to try Workspace because now everyone – both inside and outside your organization – can access a shared application workspace using their own credentials and begin working on forms specific to their roles, such as budget forms, subforms, and attaching any required documents and files to the application.


The shared online application environment will enable your diverse team to work simultaneously on the forms, saving time (and stress).

A team like this could proceed with their application as follows:

  1. Make sure all team members and external contributors have registered with

Without a account, team members or external contributors will not be able to access the workspace and fill out application webforms. For example, if you want seven different individuals to help complete webforms, then all seven should register a account. Note: Unregistered collaborators are able to complete PDF (offline) forms that are emailed to them.


  1. Design an internal application workflow and assign responsibilities to your team members and external contributors

For example, you will want at least one “participant” (i.e., a person added to a workspace in to have the Manage Workspace role, so that he or she can create the workspace. You will also want a participant (associated with the DUNS that owns the workspace) who has the AOR role, so that the application can be submitted when it has been completed.


  1. Log in and create your workspace from the Package tab on the View Grant Opportunity page of the grant announcement

Any user with the Manage Workspace role may create the workspace. The user who creates the workspace will automatically become the Workspace Owner.


  1. Add team members from your organization as “Participants” so they can access the application forms

The Workspace Owner (an access level automatically assigned to the user who creates the workspace) should add Participants to the workspace. At least one Participant should have the AOR role so that the workspace can be submitted. (Note: The EBiz POC can also add users to a workspace.)


  1. Add any additional Participants who are registered with, though not part of your organization

Workspace owners can search for these external collaborators by their username. Upon locating their profile, they can add the user to their workspace as a participant.


  1. Limit budget form access to only the Participants who need it

The Workspace Owner may want to control access to sensitive budget forms. This is most conveniently done when adding participants to the workspace.


  1. Add subforms to your workspace so that sub-applicants can easily find and complete them

Some workspace forms contain subforms that must be filled out separately from the “parent” form. A Workspace Owner can access and enable a package’s subforms by clicking the Manage Subforms link in the Form Name column on the Forms tab of the Manage Workspace page. After adding subforms, the Workspace Owner can then add sub-applicants to the workspace and – at the same time – limit their access to subforms only.


  1. Reuse forms from previous workspaces

Applicants may choose to reuse forms (or even an entire workspace). When a form is reused, the information on the form’s cover sheet will be updated to match the current workspace. Also note, after a form is reused, any data in the new workspace form will be overwritten, so do this before you begin filling out forms – or if you want to start over.


  1. Complete all selected forms that remain

Applicants may choose to complete either the PDF version or the webform version of each form. They may also switch between form types. recommends that the person completing each form locks access to it, so that others cannot overwrite the work.


  1. When all forms have been completed, the user with the AOR role can be notified and the application submitted

Workspace performs some error checks on form fields automatically. Other checks are run by clicking the Check Application button within the workspace. When the application is ready, the Workspace Owner (if he or she is not an AOR) has the option of clicking the Complete and Notify AOR button. However, at any point after all selected forms are in the “Passed” status, the user with the AOR role may log in and click the Sign and Submit button.


  1. Track your application and download the submitted application for your offline record-keeping

We recommend tracking and downloading your submitted application via the Details tab of your workspace, as well as verifying that all contents of the application were retrieved by the grant-making agency (including attachments).

Did you find this helpful? Visit the Workspace Overview page to access more applicant resources.