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Multiple People Editing Workbook


October 18, 2017 - by Bill Jelen

Multiple People Editing Workbook

Excel - can multiple people edit the same workbook? Yes - the new feature is called coauthoring. Learn all about it here.

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  • How can two people edit the same Excel workbook at the same time?
  • This feature has been introduced in 2017 and is available to anyone using Office 365, Excel online, or Excel on the iPad.
  • In order to co-author, the workbook has to be stored on the OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • For regular features, like entering data and formulas, the co-authoring experience should be great.
  • A colored box shows which cells are being updated. These boxes update quickly.
  • Changes to other endpoints are shown in a few seconds.
  • There are ways to break it - using Pens on the Draw tab of the Ribbon is one way.
  • Excel might ask you to refresh the workbook on each endpoint if you hit one of these errors.
  • The message telling you that the workbook could not be uploaded and offering Save a Copy is useless - you
  • would be creating a forked version of the workbook.

Auto-Generated Transcript

  • Learn Excel from MrExcel Podcast
  • episode 2157 a bunch of people editing
  • the same workbook at the same time well
  • we've all had this situation where one
  • workbook has to be added by multiple
  • people alright and the old way to do
  • this the first person opens the workbook
  • gets write access everyone else has
  • read-only and then there's a lot of
  • infighting over who gets access to the
  • file and you all agree hey we're gonna
  • take turns but then someone forgets they
  • have the file open and they go to lunch
  • locking their door and everyone is just
  • screwed all right or you could do the
  • old share workbook thing which was just
  • horrible because then you can't do
  • anything all of excels features get
  • turned off so what we have now if you're
  • in office 365 and you have this Auto
  • Save icon in the top left hand corner
  • that's an indicator that you have what
  • they are calling co-authoring all right
  • now in order to use co-authoring you
  • have to be on office 365 or using Excel
  • for the iPad or using Excel online one
  • of those three your workbook has to be
  • shaved it saves a onedrive or the
  • SharePoint can't be stored locally on
  • your hard drive and if like in my case
  • right now I have three different Excel
  • running on three different computers in
  • my office and they all have access to
  • the same onedrive account so I have all
  • three of them open but if you're sharing
  • with other people in your department
  • then you're gonna have to send a sharing
  • like let me switch over here
  • if you switch windows report for January
  • and check this out we have multiple cell
  • pointers right the blue one and the
  • green one and I'll click on the 18 here
  • so that's mine the green one is me but
  • there's someone else out there who has a
  • second cell pointer and I'll switch
  • around here to my laptop and on the
  • laptop I'll move a couple of cells away
  • like that and you'll see that as the
  • laptop moves I get to see what the
  • laptop is working on all right so it
  • says Mary Ellen Gellin is over there and
  • that's cell and it's amazing how fast it
  • is so when it moves it updates almost
  • instantaneously now here on the other
  • workbook I'm going to take that 18 and
  • type 99 and press enter now
  • and we'll watch we'll watch to see what
  • happens see it took about three or four
  • seconds to see the change happen but it
  • is happening with multiple people at the
  • same time now I just picked up my iPad
  • where I have this file open on my iPad
  • and I'm gonna choose January 4th Apple
  • that 13 and unfortunately the iPad will
  • not transmit where the iPad is working
  • on but I'll change that to 999 I'll
  • press ENTER now and a little bit slower
  • I just changed that 13 to 999 and it's
  • not updating not updating not updating
  • how horrible is that but on the iPad I
  • can see that this 99 changed alright so
  • there's some sort of a lag there from
  • the iPad I wonder why I don't know why I
  • don't know why all right let's say that
  • we want to share this workbook now there
  • I finally finally updated how long does
  • that take will have to go back measure
  • how long that took all right so I want
  • to share this workbook with someone else
  • so we go to share and I can invite
  • people if they're in my address book
  • or I can get a sharing link and I'll
  • create an edit link alright so there's a
  • nice little edit link I copy that I send
  • it to someone and they can take it from
  • their email and let's just come out here
  • to a browser and we'll control V
  • all right now so here's someone who
  • doesn't have office 365 but needs to be
  • able to work in this workbook it's just
  • outside of your view here I'll try and
  • make this a little bit smaller and you
  • see we have a thing called edit in
  • browser when I choose edit and browser
  • alright so now I and the browser can go
  • to that date cell January 1st and change
  • the 999 press Enter
  • alright now I have nothing here on the
  • browser indicating who else is in that
  • file but when I come back to excel the
  • 999 has switched again see the Excel
  • online we're not getting transmitted
  • who's in which cell alright so
  • definitely people who are in office 365
  • working on a Windows computer this is
  • the best experience because everyone
  • will get to see where everyone else is
  • alright so now let's do the evil thing
  • here and try and break it all right so
  • I'm gonna go back to the laptop which is
  • running office 365 I'm gonna choose
  • dates for January 6 2008 eeen which
  • currently has the cell 10 and I'm going
  • to type 999 but I'm not going to press
  • ENTER alright and see it changed not
  • just the indicator but it says that that
  • other person is editing that cell like
  • that now when you see it turn dark blue
  • that means stay the heck away from it
  • but I'm gonna violate that and I'm gonna
  • come here and type 8 8 8 all right I'm
  • gonna press Enter on both computers at
  • the same time alright mine shows 888 and
  • this one shows 999 we each think that it
  • worked
  • ha but then mine changed the nine-nine
  • over here alright so when it once it
  • sings up we have a potential problem
  • which is kind of kind of bad so I would
  • have thought that they would have warned
  • me it would have said hey there's
  • something going wrong here you crash but
  • I guess the warning is the fact that
  • someone else was editing this out so if
  • I come to the 17 on the laptop
  • elderberry and start to edit that
  • changed to 666 it's my own problem if I
  • decide to go into that
  • all right we can be trained to do this
  • we can get used to stay the heck away if
  • someone else is in that cell don't let
  • them get in there right now the guest
  • the Excel online experience is actually
  • showing what cell they're in let's see
  • how fast that changed so I'll come back
  • here to Excel online choose honeydew for
  • January and then come to excel and see
  • how long it takes all right so now the
  • Excel online is actually updating still
  • no love for the excel on the iPad there
  • we can choose other cells and it's not
  • doing anything okay now one interesting
  • thing about this I was out of Excel
  • Appaloosa in Dallas and Steve green act
  • from the Excel team was there doing a
  • demo about co-authoring and showing how
  • cool co-authoring is and of course Excel
  • for the iPad has some features that you
  • know we can't normally do or can't
  • easily do on your laptop or something
  • like that so
  • on the iPad right now I'm going to the
  • draw tab I'm choosing the highlight and
  • I'm drawing a little highlight over some
  • cells 17 and 13 in Excel 2010 like that
  • and then turning off the draw feature so
  • I'm actually using the touch screen on
  • the iPad to highlight some cells and
  • then I'm also going to the insert tab
  • and I'll come out just to Cherry for
  • January 3rd I'm gonna insert a photo
  • using the camera tool the true camera
  • tool the camera on the iPad and just
  • office wall here take a picture say use
  • photo all right so I just took a picture
  • on the iPad now if you're a regular
  • viewer of the podcast and you watched
  • yesterday's episode episode 2156 that
  • was an angry video talking about how
  • horrible the autosave is autosave is a
  • byproduct of co-authoring so in order to
  • give us co-authoring they gave us
  • autosave in the one tenth of 1% of the
  • time when we need to co-author co-author
  • is an awesome feature and if you found
  • this video I
  • you're loving co-authoring because now
  • multiple view people can operate on the
  • same workbook at the same time and life
  • is really really great
  • it's the other 99.999% of the time when
  • we don't need co-authoring that autosave
  • is completely evil and it's going to
  • screw up your spreadsheets so feel free
  • to go back and watch that that video to
  • see about the dangers of autosave well
  • it took some time but the photo from the
  • iPad actually showed up but okay so in
  • general things are working well things
  • are syncing between all the four
  • endpoints even the pictures are showing
  • up that I took on the iPad even in Excel
  • online the pictures are showing up that
  • I took in the iPad which is great all
  • right so now I'm going to come here and
  • go to the drawing tools choose one of
  • these new pens and just draw a little
  • scribble here all right and then stop
  • inking and see what happens and it says
  • that it's saving saved onedrive all
  • right great now let's go see what
  • happens on the other machines Oh
  • unsupportive feature this feature cannot
  • be edit it because it contains the
  • following features objects like to our
  • controls toolbar toolbox controls or
  • ActiveX controls well I didn't insert
  • any of those I answer one of the new pen
  • items so now I'm stuck with save a copy
  • from the file tab and edit the new copy
  • well that that's horrible because now
  • I've created a forked version of the
  • file all right boy would have been nice
  • if back in Windows 7 there and the real
  • Excel it would have told me hey you're
  • about to completely screw this up for
  • everybody that would have been really
  • really good all right so you know
  • essentially now well I could save a copy
  • but I I don't have a clue what it is
  • that I recently typed here and what I'm
  • going to lose so it'd just be well I
  • don't know all right so file and well
  • we'll just lose our changes
  • all right so back here we now have the
  • red line it's not showing up in the iPad
  • the iPad says refresh recommended a
  • newer version of this file is available
  • on the server and so I say more and
  • refresh we're waiting for word to
  • download and yes now the red scribble
  • shows up on this version now going back
  • to check on the Windows 10 laptop or it
  • also made a red scribble different red
  • scribble upload failed your file wasn't
  • uploaded because your changes can't be
  • merged with changes made by someone else
  • and again my choices are save a copy or
  • discard changes and again save a copy
  • useless because now create a fork
  • version and what am I to use spreadsheet
  • Inquirer to go figure out what changed
  • so are you sure you want to discard all
  • your changes and had not been uploaded
  • to the server yes and then on the laptop
  • if I reopen the scribble that I created
  • in Windows 7 now shows up but I had a
  • closed potential lose changes and reopen
  • all right
  • so things are things were going great
  • between the four endpoints Excel online
  • Windows 7 Windows 10 and the iPad until
  • I came here and did one of these new pen
  • objects and in either of the Excel for
  • Windows versions and then well now I
  • can't do deal with the online version
  • anymore
  • and the syncing became a real hassle so
  • a just a note from Microsoft that there
  • are certain operations you can do rare
  • operations like going back here and
  • using one of the new pen things that can
  • force all the endpoints to have to
  • reload in order to get past that all
  • right no an issue it it's a thing
  • all right so wrap up co-authoring hey it
  • avoids this whole hassle if everyone has
  • to be read-only except for one person a
  • lot of infighting great news if you're
  • using office 365 or even Excel online
  • excel on the iPad in general it seems to
  • work pretty well until you do something
  • stupid like insert one of the new
  • drawing objects that it's not expecting
  • you know and then and then Excel online
  • doesn't work and then things just kind
  • of go
  • but in general life just entering
  • numbers and formulas I can see where
  • this is gonna work really really well
  • all right well hey I want to thank you
  • for stopping by we'll see you next time
  • for another net cast from MrExcel

Download File

Download the sample file here: Podcast2157.xlsm

Title Photo: skeeze / pixabay


Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
MrExcel LIVe

A book for people who use Excel 40+ hours per week. Illustrated in full color.