MS-Excel / Excel 2003

Learn to Share Workbook

To facilitate workbook sharing, start by saving the spreadsheet file in a folder on a network drive to which everyone that needs to edit the spreadsheet has access. After doing that, you can turn on workbook sharing in one of the following ways:

  • Set up file sharing for the workbook by choosing Tools → Share Workbook.
  • Turn on change tracking for the workbook by choosing the Tools → Track Changes → Highlight Changes.

Whenever you use one of these methods to share a workbook, Excel indicates that the workbook is now shared by appending [Shared] to the workbook's filename as it appears on the title bar of the Excel program window. When a second person on another computer on the network opens the shared workbook file, Excel opens a copy of the workbook file, and the [Shared] indicator also appears on the title bar of his or her Excel program window appended to its filename.

This is different from the way Excel treats a regular, unshared workbook on your computer. When you try to open an unshared file that's already open, Excel displays a File in Use alert dialog box informing you that the workbook you want to open is already open. You can then choose between just opening the file in read-only mode (in which you can't save your changes under the original filename) and having the program first open the file in readonly mode and then notify you when the other person closes the workbook so you can save your changes.

All users don't have to be running the latest or the same version of Excel on their computers in order to edit a shared workbook. Workbook sharing is supported by Excel versions 97 through 2003. (You can't save changes to a shared workbook when using any earlier version of Excel.) Also, when you make changes to a shared workbook, Excel uses your user name to identify the modifications that you made. To modify your user name, edit the name in the User Name text box on the General tab of the Options dialog box (Tools → Options).

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