About shared workbooks

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Several people editing a shared workbook simultaneously

If you need input from several people, you can create a shared workbook (shared workbook: A workbook set up to allow multiple users on a network to view and make changes at the same time. Each user who saves the workbook sees the changes made by other users.) and place it on a network location where they can edit it simultaneously. For example, if the people in your workgroup each handle several projects and need to know each other's status, the group could use a shared workbook. All persons involved can then enter the information for their projects in one and the same workbook.

In this article

Creating a shared workbook

The original author of a workbook prepares it to be shared by entering and formatting the data that needs to be present. The workbook is saved as shared, and put on a network share (not a Web server) available to the intended users.

Allow for unavailable features     Because some Microsoft Excel features can be viewed or used but not changed once the workbook is shared, you'll want to set up these features before you share the workbook.

The following features can't be changed after a workbook is shared: merged cells, conditional formats, data validation, charts, pictures, objects including drawing objects, hyperlinks, scenarios, outlines, subtotals, data tables, PivotTable reports, workbook and worksheet protection, and macros.

Make settings that affect all users     When you share the workbook, you can customize some sharing features. For example, you can decide whether to keep track of changes for the default 30 days or for a longer or shorter amount of time.

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Editing a shared workbook

After you open a shared workbook, you can enter and change data as you do in a regular workbook. A few aspects are different from working in a regular workbook, however.

Seeing other users' changes     Each time you save the shared workbook, you're updated with any changes that others have saved since the last time you saved. If you want to keep the shared workbook open to monitor progress, you can have Microsoft Excel update you with changes automatically, at timed intervals that you specify, with or without saving the workbook yourself.

Resolving conflicts     When you save changes to a shared workbook, another person who's currently editing the workbook might have saved changes to the same cells. In this case, the changes conflict, and a conflict resolution dialog box appears that allows you to decide whose changes to keep.

Keeping personal views and settings     Excel saves a custom view (view: A set of display and print settings that you can name and apply to a workbook. You can create more than one view of the same workbook without saving separate copies of the workbook.) of the shared workbook for you that includes things like which worksheet you have displayed and your zoom settings. By default your view includes any filter (filter: To display only the rows in a list that satisfy the conditions you specify. You use the AutoFilter command to display rows that match one or more specific values, calculated values, or conditions.) and print settings you make, or you can specify that you want to use the original filter and print settings. Each time you open the shared workbook, Excel displays it with your view in effect, so that each user can have his or her own settings.

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Applies to:
Excel 2003