Distribute an Excel worksheet in an e-mail message

Applies to
Microsoft Excel 2002

If you have Microsoft Outlook® or Outlook Express installed, you can embed a worksheet in an e-mail message and send it directly from Excel. Distributing a worksheet via e-mail allows you to do the following:

  • Quickly share a worksheet with others     Just create the worksheet as usual, specify the recipient information, click a button—and the worksheet is on its way.
  • Embed a worksheet in a message     In effect, the worksheet is the message. There's no need for recipients to locate and open a separate attached file.
  • Use HTML format so almost anyone can view your worksheet     Excel sends the worksheet in HTML format. To view the worksheet, recipients don't need Excel or other special software—just an e-mail program that can read HTML format.

 Note   You can send only an individual worksheet (not an entire workbook) in HTML format. You must send an entire workbook as an attachment. You might also want to send a worksheet as an attachment if you want to collaborate on the worksheet, or if the recipient doesn't have an HTML-compatible e-mail program. An attachment is not converted to HTML format, so anyone using Excel 97 or later can view and modify it. For more information about sending files as an attachment, see Excel Help.

Step 1: Prepare your worksheet

Open or create the worksheet you want to send. Then, because the HTML document that appears in your recipient's e-mail program might not look exactly the same as the original, you might want to make some minor customizations to the worksheet before you send it. For example, to improve readability, you can add cell borders to selected cells by clicking Cells on the Format menu, and then clicking the Border tab.

Sample worksheet that includes borders and shading

To help your recipients understand the worksheet, you might want to add a comment that describes the worksheet's contents. To do this, click a cell at the top of the worksheet, click Comment on the Insert menu, and then type your comment.

Step 2: Start an e-mail message in Excel

On the Standard toolbar, click the E-mail button. Clicking this button displays (and hides, if clicked again) an e-mail header that lets you set e-mail options and send the worksheet, as shown in the following picture.

Worksheet with e-mail header displayed

Now you're ready to address the message. In the To and Cc boxes, enter the recipient names separated by a semicolon. Or select recipient names from a list by clicking the address book icon next to To or Cc.

 Note   To send the message to someone privately, you can add the Bcc box by clicking Options on the e-mail header, and then clicking Bcc.

By default, the worksheet's file name appears in the Subject box. You can delete this text, if you want, and type your own subject line. For example, "Please review this document by Friday."

Step 3: Set e-mail options

Before you send the worksheet, you might want to include an attached file or set e-mail options, such as a message flag or security level. To attach a file, click the Insert File button. To set options, click Options, and then choose the options you want.

Step 4: Send the worksheet

When you click Send this Sheet, Excel sends a copy of the worksheet, and then closes the e-mail header. The following picture shows how the worksheet looks in your recipient's e-mail program.

Worksheet sent as HTML e-mail message

In Excel, the original worksheet remains open so that you can continue working on it. When you save the worksheet, the e-mail information (recipient list, e-mail options, and any file attachments) is saved with the worksheet. The next time you send a copy of the worksheet, the e-mail information appears in the e-mail header. This makes it easy to send updates of the worksheet to the same recipients.

Responding to a worksheet message

If you receive a worksheet sent in HTML format, you'll notice that the body of the message contains only a static view of the original worksheet. However, some of the original worksheet information (such as formatting and formulas) is preserved. This means you can make some modifications to the worksheet within your e-mail program. For example, you can add data, use formulas, sort the information, or filter it.

If you have Excel installed, you can click Edit Message on the Edit menu in Outlook, and the worksheet will open in Excel. Then you can modify the worksheet by using any Excel features you want. When you finish, you can save the worksheet to your local computer or send the revised version back to its originator.