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: Sharing Your Workbook.

Sharing Your Workbook

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 14, 2019)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Excel allows multiple people to access a workbook at the same time, if desired. This can be very handy when a workbook is in active use or development, and there are multiple people in your department who all have a hand in the process. You can share a workbook in this way:

  1. Load the workbook you want to share.
  2. Choose Share Workbook from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Share Workbook dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Share Workbook dialog box.

  4. Choose the Allow Changes check box.
  5. Click on OK.

This is the simplest way to share access to a workbook. There are other options available in the Share Workbook dialog box that should be examined, however. Notice that the dialog box also lists the users currently accessing the current workbook. It should go without saying that when you first share a workbook, you are the only user that will be listed in the dialog box. However, if you again display the Share Workbook dialog box at a later time (such as when you are thinking of turning sharing off), there could easily be multiple users listed.

Notice, as well, that the Share Workbook dialog box also contains an Advanced tab. This tab is where you can specify how changes should be handled by Excel.

The whole idea behind sharing a workbook among multiple users is that Excel tracks any changes made and then at a later date you merge together everyone's work. The Advanced tab is where you indicate how you want Excel to prepare for this future time. Here you can specify how changes should be tracked, when changes should be updated, and what to do if Excel detects a conflict between changes specified by two or more users.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2916) 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: Sharing Your Workbook.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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