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Is there a way to collaborate with someone on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet in real-time?

Christopher Webb's Profile

best way to collaborate on an excel file


Topic Expert
Shannon Mathews
Title: Controller
Company: Aldrich Services LLP
(Controller, Aldrich Services LLP) |

You can "share workbook" (on the review tab). It allows you to make changes at the same time as someone else. This does limit some of your functions (can't add or delete lines, etc). I also recommend that everyone saves regularly as it will tell you if you are changing the other persons changes (makes you click a keep mine or keep theirs warning).

We use this function for some of our employee billable hours budgets as I don't want anyone changing formating, but I do want everyone to get into the spreadsheet to update their budget when they need to (not asking "who has it open").

George Campbell
Title: nA
Company: Na
(nA, Na) |

Christopher, do you want to share your excel workbook with other person miles away from you on his computer? In that case I would recommend using tools like WebEx, GoMeetNow, Gotomeeting, RHUB web conferencing servers etc.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |


Here's a treasure trove of free excel spreadsheets, free accounting spreadsheets, plus all kinds of other excel resources, such as tests, tutorials and more:

Plus, this free "Excel Shortcuts Cheat Sheet"


Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Mark Sphar
Title: Chief Accounting Officer
Company: Veracity Payment Solutions
(Chief Accounting Officer, Veracity Payment Solutions) |

You also have the option of using Google Docs. You can typically open Excel docs in Google. They allow you to have revisions as well as see who makes the changes and who is actively in the document. They have some limitations as well, the biggest being is that it isn't Excel. Good luck.

Nandan Krisnan
Title: Practice Head
Company: Self
(Practice Head, Self) |

Google docs is a good option but it does not allow one to share spreasheets separately, and the other biggest limitation is its ability to work with large data file. How about Collatebox, its quite simple and robust

Vivian Bulger
Title: Assistant Controller
Company: WVTCG
(Assistant Controller, WVTCG) |

The above comments are great tools to use. We also utilize our office communications provider which allows us to share any document in real-time. I can review a file "live" with others who are in different locations. When I make updates to the file or move my cursor to highlight something, they see what I'm doing. I can also give them control of the document so they can review and point out discussion items as well. This is a great tool and if you need more information I would be happy to get a contact for you or your company.
Best of luck.

Topic Expert
Shannon Mathews
Title: Controller
Company: Aldrich Services LLP
(Controller, Aldrich Services LLP) |

Sharing you screen is a great way if you are working "live" together. I've been using a program called that allows you to share your desktop with someone else. You can hand over the controls so that the other person can type while you watch if needed. There is a paid version and a free version but I've found I get everything that I need with the free version.

Thomas Sherrouse
Title: Business Intelligence Manager
Company: TaxSlayer
LinkedIn Profile
(Business Intelligence Manager, TaxSlayer) |

Sharing a workbook is a great option, but it has a drawback of not being able to have tables in the workbook. This is an area I'm researching as well. I've recently received Beta Access to CollateBox which is advertising itself as a Data Sharing Collaboration Tool. I haven't had the opportunity to test it out just yet, but plan to. Google Docs is a helpful as well. If your company utilizes SharePoint then this would be great avenue to look into as well.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I have found using Excel workbook sharing problematic, in that updating doesn't occur automatically and some data has the ability to be lost.

Justin Coverick
Title: Controller
Company: Stokehouse Unlimited, LLC
(Controller, Stokehouse Unlimited, LLC) |

I use payroll systems. They are great, easy to use and scalable I have used paycom and they are good but expensive.

A.J. Verdecchia
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Dixie Construction Company, Inc.
(Chief Financial Officer, Dixie Construction Company, Inc.) |

Google Docs or GotoMeeting

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I have used both, and must admit Google Docs is very easy to use as far as multiple parties and the ability to "roll-back" should someone get to creative.

Jeff Langston
Title: CFO
Company: Baxter Franchise Group
(CFO, Baxter Franchise Group) |

See Google docs. It will send email alerts when someone makes changes. I use it for personal work as well.

Topic Expert
Deborah Godfrey
Title: Budget Administrator, Business Manager, ..
Company: Seeking Employment
(Budget Administrator, Business Manager, Project/Program Manager, Seeking Employment) |

I have also used google docs and it works pretty good. However, do remember that if you don't want the formulas tampered with, it's a good idea to lock the cell containing the formula.

Topic Expert
Jaime Campbell
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Tier One Services, LLC
(Chief Financial Officer, Tier One Services, LLC) |


Microsoft Office 365 has a fantastic collaborative angle.

When a file is placed in OneDrive and shared, multiple users can edit it LIVE, and you can actually see which cells are being edited by the other users - in real time, no less, so you don't end up editing the same cell at the same time.

Please note, to the best of my knowledge, files with macros cannot be opened online. If the file doesn't contain macros, however, it works magnificently. And if there are macros in the workbook, you can get around it by exporting the modules and importing them once the collaborative session is complete.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

We are a company with multiple locations and we use Google Docs for a lot of interactive documents. If you need to make any major changes you can always export it; make the changes in excel and upload the most recent version. It works with Excel docs, word, PDF and can be shared numerous ways to fit your needs.

You can also see who has opened the doc and what cell they are on very similar to what Jaime mentions with Office 365. Try a couple different suggestions and see what works best for you. Good luck!

Oscar Zapata
Title: Manager
Company: SHOTS Miami
(Manager, SHOTS Miami) |

I has been exploring using Ms Onedrive to share and colaborate an excel file...So far is working fine, Onedrive has been advancing fairly fast in 2014...righ now at least 2 people can open, edit and colaborate using the same file using Onedrive and Office Online...

The advantage that I see over Google Spreadsheet is that when using Onedrive and Office online, the look and feel is like using the desktop version of Excel, and so far even complex functions like Tables and Pivot Tables are working fine online.

I Include two links with articles related to the advancement of Onedrive and Office Online

Do you guys think that this tool is getting strong enough to use it for something like developing a Budget (having different files for different departments and colaborating online instead of sending mails back and forward with files updates)?

Sreehari Narasipur
Title: Co-Founder
Company: RightCloudz Technologies
(Co-Founder, RightCloudz Technologies) |

If you want to share part of a spread sheet with one set of people in your oraganization and some other part with few others, there is a nothing like CollateBox, try

If you want to support your field force with mobility and data on the go - try

Ern Miller
Title: Co-CEO
Company: Miller Small Business Solutions
(Co-CEO, Miller Small Business Solutions) |

Depending on how often you change things, I would recommend you use a database with a front end interface, built to fit your needs.

If you want to go good, MS SQL database back end and a custom-built front end. If you want to go cheap, use MS Access, and split the tables from the interface. Then, give the front end to all users.

The database and programmed interface will control access and allow alteration.

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