Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Turning Off Track Changes without Unsharing.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2018)
Excel allows you to track changes made to a workbook, as described in other issues of ExcelTips. When you turn on change tracking, Excel requires that you share the workbook. After all, change tracking is meant to be used in an environment where multiple users access and change the same workbook.
At some time you may want to turn track changes off, so that they are no longer noted in the workbook. If you turn it off, Excel assumes you also want to stop sharing the workbook, so it automatically turns off sharing. If you want to still continue sharing—without tracking—then you may wonder what your options are.
Unfortunately, Excel is rather confusing when it comes to sharing a workbook and tracking changes. The two features are intimately related to each other.
Is it any wonder that all this is confusing? The simplest way to turn off track changes and still have a workbook shared is to turn off track changes, then save the workbook. This saves it in single-user mode. You can then share the workbook and again save it. Four simple steps (turn off tracking, save workbook, share workbook, and save workbook) and you are exactly where you want to be. Remember, however, that if you choose Tools | Track Changes | Highlight Changes, it will appear that track changes is still turned on. Ignore the check box and click Cancel; it is not turned on at this point.
The only way to achieve the desired outcome faster is to use a macro. The following macro automates the steps just discussed:
Sub KeepShared() Dim sFile As String Dim sMsg As String Dim iUsers As Integer Dim iAnswer As Integer With ActiveWorkbook If .MultiUserEditing Then sFile = .Name iAnswer = vbYes iUsers = UBound(.UserStatus) If iUsers > 1 Then sMsg = sFile & " is also open by " & _ iUsers - 1 & " other users:" For x = 2 To iUsers sMsg = sMsg & vbCrLf & .UserStatus(x, 1) Next sMsg = sMsg & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "Proceed?" iAnswer = MsgBox(sMsg, vbYesNo) End If If iAnswer = vbYes Then .ExclusiveAccess .SaveAs Filename:=sFile, AccessMode:=xlShared End If End If End With End Sub
The macro starts by checking the .MultiUserEditing property to make sure that the workbook is shared. If it is, then the macro checks to see if the workbook is being used by multiple people at the present time. If it is, then you are prompted whether you want to continue. If you do (or if there are not multiple users with the workbook open at the current time), then the workbook is set for exclusive access (single user) and then saved in shared mode. Setting the workbook for exclusive access turns off the track changes feature, as well.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2511) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Turning Off Track Changes without Unsharing.
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