What Is Share An Excel Workbook?
Share an Excel workbook is a feature that enables users to access, view and edit a workbook collaboratively. And Excel allows one to track by highlighting and accept or reject the changes made to a shared workbook.
Users can share an Excel workbook to ensure multiple users can do real-time modifications, such as data addition and updating formulas, in the workbook simultaneously.
For example, the image below shows a workbook containing a firm’s employees’ monthly salary details. And the file is in a local network location, accessible to a set of users.
And the requirement is to share the workbook with the concerned users.
So, we can use the share an Excel workbook legacy option, Share Workbook (Legacy), to share the file.
In the above share an Excel workbook legacy example, we choose the Share Workbook (Legacy) option in the Review tab. The Share Workbook window will open, where we must check the option to use the old shared workbooks feature and click OK.
Next, Excel will show a warning message stating that the workbook will get saved. We can click OK to proceed.
Finally, we will see the workbook name containing the phrase “[Shared]”. And the Unshare Workbook option gets enabled in the Review tab, indicating that it is now a shared workbook.
Table of contents
- The command to share an Excel workbook enables one or more users to access and use a specific workbook simultaneously.
- Users can use the Excel share workbook option to ensure multiple users can edit the specific workbook simultaneously for real-time collaboration without conflicts. Thus, the productivity of the users working with the shared workbook improves. And the communication between them becomes seamless.
- We can use the Share Workbook (Legacy), Protect Sharing (Legacy), and Track Changes (Legacy) options to share and protect a workbook with changes. And we can track the changes in the shared file, enabling us to highlight, accept, and reject the changes.
How To Share An Excel Workbook?
We can share an Excel workbook saved in a local network location, not OneDrive or SharePoint, with one or more users.
However, the options associated with sharing a workbook became legacy features from the Excel 2016 version onwards. So, we can’t share an Excel workbook if the Excel version is relatively newer. But, we can enable the legacy commands from the Excel Options window to use them from the Excel ribbon and share the required workbook.
And here is how to get the options in the ribbon.
- Select File → Options.
- The Excel Options window opens, where we must choose the Customize Ribbon tab.
- Choose the Review tab in the Main Tabs list in the Customize the Ribbon section.
And click the New Group option.
A new custom group gets created in the Review tab.
We chose the Review tab since the previous Excel versions had the share workbook option in the Review tab.
However, we can create a new custom tab within which we will have a custom group. And we can have the required share workbook-related options in the new custom group in the new custom tab.
- Click the new custom group and click Rename.
- Click on the new custom group created in the Review tab, choose the Share Workbook (Legacy) command from the All Commands list on the left and click Add.
Likewise, add the Protect Sharing (Legacy) and Track Changes (Legacy) commands, one by one, to the newly-created custom group in the Review tab.
Finally, click OK in the Excel Options window to view the share workbook legacy options and the other related commands in the custom group in the Review tab.
Next, the steps to share an Excel workbookare as follows:
- Select the Review tab → Choose the Share Workbook (Legacy) option.
- The Share Workbook window opens, displaying two tabs- Editing and Advanced. Check the option box to use the old shared Excel files feature rather than the new co-authoring experience in the Editing tab. And click OK.
- Excel will show a warning message that the workbook will get saved. Click OK to save and proceed.
Finally, the Excel file name will include “[Shared]”, and the Unshare Workbook option in the Review tab gets enabled. So now, the workbook becomes shared in the local network location, which users can access and edit together.
The image below shows a workbook containing the invoice data for week 1 of July 2023.
And the requirement is to share the workbook with other users.
Since our Excel version is 2019 and has no workbook-sharing option, we can’t share an Excel workbook. Thus, as explained earlier, we must first enable the legacy commands.
And then follow the below steps to complete the task.
- Step 1: Select Review → Share Workbook (Legacy).
The Share Workbook window opens. It contains two tabs, Editing and Advanced.
The Editing tab shows who has the workbook open currently, with the date and time.
And the Advanced tab allows us to set the required track and update changes, conflicting changes between users and include in personal view settings.
- Step 2: Check the first option in the Editing tab to use the old shared workbooks feature.
And click OK.
- Step 3: A warning message box will pop up, stating that the workbook will get saved.
Click OK to achieve the required shared workbook.
Highlight The Changes Done On Excel By Other Users
Continuing the previous example, assume we share an Excel workbook savedin a local network location with multiple users. And the users make changes to it.
Then, here is how to highlight the changes made in the shared workbook by other users.
- Step 1: Choose Review → Track Changes (Legacy) → Highlight Changes.
The Highlight Changes window opens.
- Step 2: Check the options for tracking changes while editing, highlighting changes on the screen. And check and update the When field, as shown below.
And click OK.
Excel highlights cells E5 and E8, where users have edited the data based on the chosen changes highlight settings in the Highlight Changes window.
- Step 3: Select Review → Protect Shared Workbook (Legacy).
The Protect Shared Workbook window opens, where we must check the option to share the workbook with track changes in Excel.
And click OK.
Furthermore, we can hover the mouse over each highlighted cell to view who changed the data in the specific cell, with the date, time, and the changes made.
How To Accept/Reject The Changes Done By Other Users
After we share an Excel workbook with multiple users and they edit it, we can decide whether to accept or reject the changes.
Considering the previous example, assume a user changed the cells E5 and E8 data. And the requirement is to decide if we must accept or reject the changes in the two specified cells.
- Step 1: Select Review → Track Changes (Legacy) → Accept/Reject Changes.
- Step 2: The Select Changes to Accept or Reject window opens, where we must set the following settings to decide which changes to review for acceptance and rejection.
And click OK.
The Accept or Reject Changes window opens.
While the first cell, where a user made changes, gets selected, the window shows the count of the specific change out of the total changes. And it shows the details of the user who made changes in the specific cell, with the date, time and changes made.
We shall click Accept to accept the change.
Next, the above process commences for the second cell, where a user made changes.
We shall click Reject to reject the change.
Finally, Excel highlights the cell where we accepted the changes a user made.
And hovering the mouse over the specific cell will show the details related to the changes.
Important Things To Note
- Consider you have to share an Excel workbook, and the Excel version is 2016 or above. Then, enable the share workbook-related legacy commands from the Excel Options window to view and use the options from the ribbon.
- Ensure you check the option to use the old shared workbooks feature rather than the latest co-authoring experience in the Editing tab in the Share Workbook window. Otherwise, you will not be able to share the workbook.
- Ensure you check the option to track changes while editing in the Highlight Changes window under the Track Changes (Legacy) option. Otherwise, you cannot set the settings to decide what changes to highlight in the shared workbook.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You can share and unshare an Excel workbook using the Share Workbook (Legacy) command and Unshare Workbook option in the Review tab.
For example, the image below shows a workbook containing a list of students and their test scores in different subjects.
Here is how to share and unshare the workbook.
• Step 1: Select Review → Share Workbook (Legacy).
• Step 2: The Share Workbook window will open, where we must check the option to use the old shared workbooks feature.
And click OK.
• Step 3: Excel will show a warning message stating that the workbook will get saved.
Click OK to save the file, and the workbook will become shared, as indicated by the file name.
• Step 4: Select Review → Unshare Workbook.
The workbook will get unshared, and the file name indicates the same.
The limitations of shared workbooks are as follows:
• Array formulas
• Charts and Pictures
• Conditional Formatting
• Data Validation
• Excel Tables and PivotTable reports
• Grouping or Outlining data
• Merging cells
• Slicers and Sparklines
• Sorting and filtering by format
• Worksheet protection
A maximum of 256 users can access an Excel shared workbook from a local network location, where the file is saved.
And when they access it simultaneously, the workbook may be a read-only file. In such a scenario, the user having the issue can wait for others to close the workbook. And then, they can access and work with the Excel file according to their requirements.
This article must be helpful to understand the Share An Excel Workbook, with its formula and examples. You can download the template here to use it instantly.
This has been a guide to What Is Share An Excel Workbook. We learn to share it, highlight & accept/reject changes made by users in the workbook with examples. You can learn more from the following articles –