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Excel 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Sharing Your Workbook

Change tracking is really just one part of a larger feature known as workbook sharing. Workbook sharing makes it possible for more than one person to modify an Excel document at the same time. In order for this sharing to work, the workbook file needs to be somewhere that both people can access. (The most typical location is somewhere on a company network.)

Workbook sharing is a little risky (as you'll soon see), but it gives you some unique collaboration abilities that you wouldn't have otherwise. To get some perspective on how workbook sharing works, you need to understand what happens when two people fight over a workbook file that isn't shared. Read on.

Multiple Users Without Workbook Sharing

Ordinarily, only one person can open an Excel workbook file at a time. Excel enforces this restriction to prevent problems that can happen when different people try to make conflicting changes at the same time and someone's changes get lost.

Figure 25-18 shows what happens when you try to open an Excel workbook that someone else is already using. Excel warns you about the problem but gives you the chance to open a copy of the document that you can save with a new name. If you need to update the version that's currently in use, you can ask Excel to notify you when your collaborator closes it and the workbook becomes available again.

Top: If you try to open a workbook that someone else is using, you receive the message shown here. You can click Read Only to work with a copy of the file, which you'll need to save with a new name. If you do so, Excel opens a copy of the file and lets you start working with it.Bottom: Once the first person closes the original workbook, Excel alerts you with a new message. At this point, you can click Read-Write to open the file for editing (at which point no one else will have access to the file). Excel automatically closes the copy you were previously working with and applies all the changes you made in your copy to the current version.

Figure 25-18. Top: If you try to open a ...

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