Essentials of Excel 2013: How to Share Workbooks

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Sharing workbooks

We're looking at the file called 11-Workbook before Sharing. It's got a single sheet in it called Vendor Sales and let's imagine that one person has been updating this from time to time and then others get involved too and they make changes to it. Eventually the need might arise that these different people who do the updating might need to have the file open at the same time. A file can be open by different users, but we also want to allow them to be able to make changes at the same time and that's a special status. Excel refers to this capability as sharing the file and that might sound as if we're just allowing others to open the file, but it's more than that, it means simultaneous sharing and making changes.

So to put a worksheet in that kind of status we go to the REVIEW tab and Share Workbook. Share your workbook so that others can work on it at the same time. Note the information here, workbooks containing tables can't be shared and by the way, you should check the help system as well to see that there are quite a few other features that are inhibited by this capability. Share Workbook and this dialog box appears. The Editing tab has a box, Allow changes by more than one user at the same time, that's the key idea.

It goes beyond the non-Excel meaning of what share really means. Who has this workbook open right now? I do. Now eventually there will be others. There is an Advanced tab here. When you share a workbook, it's going to be advantageous much of the time to keep track of the changes. Although that can be a separate feature, it comes with the capability of sharing, and we might want to keep changes for 30 days or for a long time, I'd strongly suggest to keep this checked, consider how long you want to keep it, don't check the other box for not keeping the change.

Update changes, every time we save the file. Well maybe or maybe every 15 minutes or some other time setting. And ultimately by way of tracking you might even want to consider what happens if different users at approximately the same time are making changes? It doesn't have to be the exact time, one person might make a change to a cell; another person might come back. We'll talk about these in the next movie on tracking changes. But these are features that are allied with shared workbooks and we want to be thinking ahead of time about what's going to play out here.

If we click OK, remember the key step here was on the Editing tab checking the box. When we click OK, we see the dialog box, This action will now save the workbook; do you want to continue? Now I've name the workbook, Workbook before Sharing but we're actually about to make it be a shared workbook. And as I click OK, watch the top of the screen. We still see that same file name which maybe now is a bit off, but in brackets we see the word shared. Now shared does not mean by itself that someone else has this open or even that someone else couldn't have it open.

If this file is saved on my flash drive for example, no, nobody else can do it right now. Shared means we open the door for the possibility of allowing others to get to this file and open it and make changes at the same time. So it's ultimately a powerful feature but it's one where you really have to think out the possibilities. And what I would strongly suggest in exploring this capability is either think out how you on two separate computers might have the same file open, test some of the possibilities that might occur when you're making changes to the same cell at approximately at the same time.

Another way to do this is to work with another user and probably in the same room on different computers and go back and forth for some of the changes that might occur to get a better sense of how this capability works. But there is no question that in certain kinds of files, say a file like this that is tracking transactions, you want to be able to allow different people make entries here and make changes. And so as we've seen on the Review tab you can share a workbook, meaning that we allow multiple users to get to this at the same time and make changes.

Sharing workbooks
Video duration: 4m 7s 6h 32m Appropriate for all


Sharing workbooks provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Dennis Taylor as part of the Excel 2013 Essential Training

Business Education + Elearning
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