Microsoft Excel 2003 has become the spreadsheet of choice for over 80% of corporate businesses around the world. One of the clear advantages of using Microsoft Excel 2003 over other spreadsheeting programs is the ability to have multiple people entering information into the same spreadsheet. This function in Microsoft Excel is called Shared Workbooks and we will go through how to setup this capability in this article.
If a user tries to open a Workbook that is already open, then they normally get a message saying that the File is locked by a certain user and would you like to open the file in Read only mode. However, you can open a workbook in shared mode by following these steps. First open the file that you want to share, then once the workbook is open, go to the Tools menu and choose Share Workbook from the drop down menu.
The Share Workbook dialog box will now appear. To enable sharing, you simply click once on the Allow Sharing check box, so that it has a tick. Once you do this other people will now be able to use your Excel workbook whilst you are working on it.
However, there are some other parameters that can be set at the same time. For other options, simply choose the Advanced tab. There are three core parameters that you need to be aware of. The first is the length of time you will store the history in your file.
Microsoft Excel allows you to store over 32000 days worth of changes to your Excel file, however, there is a catch. All of that information is stored in your file and consequently your file will grow exponentially. Most organisations generally work on a maximum of 30 days and that is the default, however the value entered simply depends on your workbooks requirements. You can choose the second option which says, Don’t Keep Change History. This simply ensures no changes are maintained.
A second option that is available is the Update Changes option. This function simply allows you to define how often the spreadsheet changes are updated. The most common element users use is the Update Every 15 minutes. What this does is to force a save and filter through the data to all the users. One point to consider is that if you workbook is relatively large and you are working on a slow computer you may want to increase that time to 30 minutes.
The last area of concern is the Save Changes function. This defines whose changes will override who’s. There are two options available which say, Ask me Which Changes Win and The Changes Being Saved Win. Which option you choose really depends on the type of workbook you have created.
The final issue you need to consider is if somebody disables the Share Workbook function. If this occurs, when you try to save your workbook you will be required to save it somewhere else or lose your work. This is one of the downsides to the Share Workbook function.