Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Sharing Your Workbook.

Sharing Your Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 15, 2016)

3

Excel allows multiple people to access a workbook at the same time, if desired. This can be very handy when a workbook is in active use or development, and there are multiple people in your department who all have a hand in the process. You can share a workbook in this way:

  1. Load the workbook you want to share.
  2. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Share Workbook tool, in the Changes group. Excel displays the Share Workbook dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Share Workbook dialog box.

  5. Choose the Allow Changes check box.
  6. Click on OK.

This is the simplest way to share access to a workbook. There are other options available in the Share Workbook dialog box that should be examined, however. Notice that the dialog box also lists the users currently accessing the current workbook. It should go without saying that when you first share a workbook, you are the only user that will be listed in the dialog box. However, if you again display the Share Workbook dialog box at a later time (such as when you are thinking of turning sharing off), there could easily be multiple users listed.

Notice, as well, that the Share Workbook dialog box also contains an Advanced tab. This tab is where you can specify how changes should be handled by Excel.

The whole idea behind sharing a workbook among multiple users is that Excel tracks any changes made and then at a later date you merge together everyone's work. The Advanced tab is where you indicate how you want Excel to prepare for this future time. Here you can specify how changes should be tracked, when changes should be updated, and what to do if Excel detects a conflict between changes specified by two or more users.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8486) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Sharing Your Workbook.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is nine minus 5?

2016-02-16 05:23:46

Barry

Word of warning!

There a numerous documented instances of changes to a shared workbook being lost or corrupted. And I have had personal experience of this also.

The sharing works by opening a copy of the workbook in question and then when saved/closed Excel then merges the copy and the original files. The merged version is then saved with the original filename in the original file location. If another User tries to close/save at the same time then this is where I believe the errors occur, or file corruption occurs.

Having said that I've had data loss even with a single User.

Excel was never designed to provide multi-User access, and the Sharing facility, IMHO, is a bit of a kluge. Better to use a program that was designed for multi-User environment e.g. MS Access.


2016-02-15 16:12:40

Ryan McGehan

@barbara Phair - You do not specify the people with whom you wish to share the file (unlike with google docs). Setting an excel file to be shared simply means multiple users can open and edit the same file, and save using the same file name (as opposed to opening a copy, saving asa new file name, then later combining the changes).


2016-02-15 12:41:31

barbara Phair

how do you add the person with whom you want to share the workbook.
thank you.


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