The Excel Shared Workbook - How to Setup?


Do you know the Excel Shared Workbook function?

Yes, Microsoft Excel 2003 allows multiple people entering information into the same spreadsheet at the same time. This function in Microsoft Excel is called Shared Workbooks. It’s also one of the clear advantages of using Excel over other spreadsheet programs.

If a user tries to open a Workbook that is already open, then they normally get a message saying that the File is locked by a certain user and would you like to open the file in Read only mode. However, you can open a workbook in shared mode by following these steps.

Note: To utilize this feature, make sure your computer is running in the network environment.

To share an Excel file

  • Open the Excel file that you want to share.
  • From the Tools menu and choose Share Workbook.

    Excel share workbook dialog box


  • From the Share Workbook dialog box displayed, in the Editing tab, check the Allow changes by… check box.
  • Click OK. This allows other people to use your Excel workbook whilst you are working on it.

    To know the advanced share workbook features

  • Open the Excel file that you want to share.
  • From the Tools menu and choose Share Workbook.
  • From the Share Workbook dialog box displayed, click the Advanced tab.

    There are three areas that you can change:

    1. Track Changes.

    Microsoft Excel allows you to store over 32000 days worth of changes to your Excel file, however, there is a catch. All of that information is stored in your file and consequently your file will grow exponentially. Most organisations generally work on a maximum of 30 days (the default). However the value entered simply depends on your workbooks requirements. You can choose the second option - Don't keep change history. This simply ensures no changes are maintained.

    2. Update Changes.

    This function simply allows you to define how often the spreadsheet changes are updated. The most common element users use is the Update Every 15 minutes. What this does is to force a save and filter through the data to all the users. One point to consider is that if you workbook is relatively large and you are working on a slow computer you may want to increase that time to 30 minutes.

    3. Save Changes.

    This defines whose changes will override who's. There are two options available:

  • Ask me which changes win
  • The changes being saved win
    Which option you choose really depends on the type of workbook you have created.

    Another critical issue you need to consider is if somebody disables the Excel Shared Workbook function. If this occurs, when you try to save your workbook you will be required to save it somewhere else or lose your work. This is one of the downsides to the Share Workbook function.

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