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

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Topic Expert
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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").

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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.

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Christopher,

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:

https://www.proformative.com/resources/free-accounting-spreadsheet

Plus, this free "Excel Shortcuts Cheat Sheet"

https://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/excel-shortcuts-cheat-sheet

Enjoy!

Best... Sarah

Proformative Advisor
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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.

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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

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Christopher,
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
Member's Profile

Sharing you screen is a great way if you are working "live" together. I've been using a program called join.me 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.

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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.

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

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

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Google Docs or GotoMeeting

Proformative Advisor
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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.

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

Proformative Advisor
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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
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Tier One Services, LLC

UPDATE:

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.

Proformative Advisor
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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!

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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

http://www.windowscentral.com/top-5-reasons-office-online

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2105861/one-year-later-microsoft-offices-collaboration-tools-are-still-a-work-in-progress.html

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)?

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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 http://www.CollateBox.com.

If you want to support your field force with mobility and data on the go - try http://mobilein24.com/

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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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