Workbook Sharing in Microsoft Excel

First, if you are sharing a workbook, you may want to consider moving to an Access database, which is more suited to sharing. See Which Application to Use.

This information is also contained in the Excel Help files but it was very difficult to find in Excel 2003.

Did you know that multiple users can edit the same workbook at the same time? This is especially useful in a typical office environment, where files are shared over a network. To share your workbook:

  1. Open the workbook, go to the Tools menu and choose Share Workbook.
  2. On the Editing tab, select Allow changes by more than one user at the same time.
  3. On the Advanced tab, select the ~ez_ldquo~Automatically every ___ " option, and then click OK.

When you save the workbook, the workbook is now shared with others, and changes to the workbook are updated every 15 minutes by default.

Warning: There are some limitations to this feature!

Unavailable feature


Insert or delete blocks of cells

You can insert entire rows and columns.

Delete worksheets


Merge cells or split merged cells


Add or change conditional formats

Existing conditional formats continue to appear as cell values change, but you can't change these formats or redefine the conditions.

Add or change data validation

Cells continue to be validated when you type new values, but you can't change existing data validation settings.

Create or change charts or PivotChart reports

You can view existing charts and reports.

Insert or change pictures or other objects

You can view existing pictures and objects.

Insert or change hyperlinks

Existing hyperlinks continue to work.

Use drawing tools

You can view existing drawings and graphics.

Assign, change, or remove passwords

Existing passwords remain in effect.

Protect or unprotect worksheets or the workbook

Existing protection remains in effect.

Create, change, or view scenarios


Group or outline data

You can continue to use existing outlines.

Insert automatic subtotals

You can view existing subtotals.

Create data tables

You can view existing data tables.

Create or change PivotTable reports

You can view existing reports.

Write, record, change, view, or assign macros

You can run existing macros that don't access unavailable features. You can record shared workbook operations into a macro stored in another non-shared workbook.

Add or change Microsoft Excel 4 dialog sheets


Change or delete array formulas

Existing array formulas continue to calculate correctly. debuted on May 26, 2005. provides examples of Formulas, Functions and Visual Basic procedures for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. The Formulas, Functions and Visual Basic procedures on this web site are provided "as is" and we do not guarantee that they can be used in all situations.

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