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It is commonplace nowadays for any business to use Excel as their preferred tool to input, manage and share work. While some users continue to share files as email attachments, this can quickly result in too many downloaded versions of the same file. Not only can this be confusing to know which download is the most up-to-date version, but it can also cause issues with collaboration and productivity.

Luckily, the most recent versions of Microsoft Excel (2010, 2013, and 2016) allow you to collaborate with others while working on a single version of your current spreadsheet. This article will explain how to share an Excel file in Mac for multiple users, how to protect a shared Excel workbook, and how to make the Excel file editable for multiple users.

How to make an Excel file shared?

Excel allows you to share/save your workbook to a local network location where other users can access and make changes to it. As the owner of the Excel file, you can keep full track of changes by accepting or rejecting them.

Let’s look at a step-by-step on how to share your Excel files with others:

  1. 1. Click on the “Share” button to the far right of your Excel toolbar.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Share button
  1. 2. As instructed in the pop-up window, you can either “Move” or “Copy” the file. Unless you wish to maintain a local copy, then select “Move” as shown below.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Move
  1. 3. Once you select your preferred option, you can change the name or not. Since we chose “Move”, we have kept the original file name.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Maintain File name
  1. 4. Below the “Name” field, you have the “Place” drop-down menu. This will allow you to choose between OneDrive or any other previously created local or shared folder.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Place
  1. 5. To explore more places to share the file, click on “Other”.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Other places
  1. 6. In the new window, you can also choose to “+Add a Place” in case you would like to share your file to more than one OneDrive folder or shared local folder.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Add a Place
  1. 7. At this point, you can also choose to connect OneDrive for Business or Sharepoint.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Sharepoint vs One Drive

NOTE: OneDrive provides a files experience on all devices via web, mobile, and the desktop (Windows PC or Mac OS). OneDrive for Business is part of Office 365 (including the Sharepoint server) and grants company employees with personal storage managed from a central location. Sharepoint can act as a platform for portals, news, business apps, etc. For more information on the advantages of each, read this Microsoft Support entry.

  1. 8. Let’s use the standard OneDrive and click on “Choose Location”.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Choose Location
  1. 9. Complete the sharing process by selecting “Upload”, next to “Move” option.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Upload
  1. 10. Just to be sure, check that the “AutoSave” is “ON” in the top-left corner of your Excel file.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Auto Save ON
  1. 11. You can also “Send a Copy” as an email attachment, at the very bottom of the pop-up window.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Send a copy
  1. 12. Select the file format you would like to attach.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Format File
  1. 13. Click on “Email as Attachment”.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Send a copy 2
  1. 14. Alternatively, select the upload icon next to “Email as Attachment” to upload to one of the options shown below.
How to share an Excel file for multiple users Upload options
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How to protect a shared workbook

Although Simultaneous collaboration on an Excel shared workbook, can be useful, you may want to protect your workbook from certain actions to avoid any accidental setbacks. These could include users reverting changes, turning off the change history, or even removing the spreadsheet from shared use.

  1. 1. Go to the Review tab of your shared Excel workbook and click on “Protect Workbook”.
How to protect a shared workbook Protect Workbook
  1. 2. You will be prompted to enter a password.
How to protect a shared workbook Enter Password

IMPORTANT: Note that this feature protects your workbook from being moved, deleted, hidden, renamed, etc., and the steps followed are similar to what is explained in how to password protect an Excel file. However, changes can be made to individual sheets. In order to protect specific data, you need to go to Review > Protect Sheet. For a full step-by-step illustration of different methods and levels of protection, read our article on how to lock cells in Excel.

Now you know how to protect your Excel from removing track changes or changing history features. This is a good way to keep track of any modifications in case you want to revert or undo any editing made to the shared Excel workbook. Moreover, it’s the only way to resolve any conflicting changes in a shared Excel file.

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How to make an Excel file editable by multiple users?

You can either specify the users that can edit or simply make the whole Excel shared workbook editable by not following the “Protect Sheet” process. This way, anyone with access to the shared workbook (on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or Sharepoint) will be able to make changes to the file without the owner having to accept or reject their changes.

To allow specific users to edit:

  1. 1. Go to the “File” tab and select “Share”.
How to protect a shared workbook Invite People
  1. 2. Or click on the “Share” button to the far right of the Excel window and select “Invite People”.
How to protect a shared workbook Invite People 2
  1. 3. Then, simply type in the email address of users you want to allow to edit and make sure you leave the “Can Edit” box ticked. When you are done, click on the “Share” button.
How to protect a shared workbook Can Edit

So far, we have shown how you can manage to edit and share options locally. Although this would also require that you are online, you can make these changes directly via OneDrive.

How to protect a shared workbook One Drive

As you can see below, it allows users to “Open” the spreadsheet in the browser or desktop.

How to protect a shared workbook Browser vs Desktop

This is a great built-in feature since users might work on different Excel versions, In some cases, it may be more advisable for everyone to edit the shared file in the browser.

Once a project or task is finished, you might want to unshare the Excel file to safeguard the work that has been done so far. This is as simple as clicking the “Unshare Workbook” appearing in the “Review” tab. If you cannot view this feature, then you can move the shared file to a local folder.

How to share different parts of an Excel file with multiple users?

Layer is a spreadsheet platform that works on top of Excel and Google Sheets. It allows you to easily manage and automate spreadsheet workflows. Using Layer, you can:

  • Upload or connect your existing Excel or Google Sheets-based budget.
  • Share different sheets or even cell ranges of your spreadsheet with various stakeholders or departments involved in the budgeting process.
  • Automate your communication flows and keep track of your data submissions, contributors, and deadlines.
  • Review every single change made and decide which ones to merge with your spreadsheet or discard.
  • Eliminate errors in your budget or manually copying and pasting data across files.

Sign up and schedule an onboarding call to get started with Layer right now.

Conclusion

Now you know how to share an Excel file or workbook and how to make it editable by multiple users. Whether you are working on Windows or Mac OS, you need to make sure that you apply the editing features before sharing the Excel file, since shared workbooks do not have all the features that Excel desktop has. Please remember that as you are sharing your Excel workbooks online, you must have access to a local network at all times – if not, you may risk losing important edits and changes to your Excel files.

Prefer to collaborate on Google Sheets? Take a look at our article on how to password protect a Google Sheet to control the changes made to your spreadsheets by other users.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Jan 24 2022, Updated Mar 30 2022