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Sharing Spreadsheets – What a Concept!

Sometimes – usually just after having had a period of feeling real smart 😉 – I realize that I have a lot of room for growth in my software knowledge.

At SAP, we regularly have spreadsheets that several people are expected to access and update. Usually, this update is supposed to be completed by a certain date, and as there are many people like myself who are total procrastinators, the spreadsheet opens up as “Read Only” – big bummer because that means I have to work late again to get this task done on time!

A colleague shared something incredibly useful with me the other day. It is very easy to set a spreadsheet to being shared. This means that Excel will keep track of changes, even if several people have it open, and Excel will synchronize them to the degree possible upon saving.

To do this, simply follow these steps:

Step 1:
Go to “Tools” on the menu bar, then to “Share Workbook”.


Step 2:
Simply set the flag for allowing changes by more than one user at a time.


Next time you open the spreadsheet, you will see the “[Shared]” in the header bar. If another colleague opens this spreadsheet now, they can also work on it.

My hope is that you didn’t know this either, and I can help you in your work.
Then again…maybe I am the only XLS-unenlightened one out there! 🙂

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  • This was greta help .In our projects we are using three different workbooks for keeping track of verious events in Project.So we need to update those workbooks more frequently.I think shared workbook will allow more than one user to change it.That was really great help.
  • Just remeber to keep an eye on the file size. We used an excel sheet for project timewriting which was rather big from the start, and everytime there was a conflict (which does happen) or someone didn’t release the share correctly, the file size would double. The file size was about 400 MB when I realized this and had to clean it up.
      • The reason why I didn’t provide the solution, is that I really don’t remeber all the details.

        It should be done by clicking the remove user button (on the share workbook dialog), but there were some extra problems. This of course removes any changes this user has not saved before excel crashed (used office 2000).

        The extra problems might have been caused by a very slow network disk and some awful vb code which generated the sheet.