How to Control Multiple Users on One Excel Spreadsheet

Updated March 23, 2017

Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are often the lifeblood of a project. Their columnar structure makes it easy to organise changes and track progress. Often, multiple individuals are at work on a project, and thus many users require access to the same Excel spreadsheets. Most computer files cannot be edited by more than one person simultaneously. Excel, however, is designed to allow shared spreadsheets. Once the feature is activated, the program is an ideal choice for managing data input between many people.

Open the Excel spreadsheet you wish to share among multiple users.

Click "Tools" and select the "Share Workbook" option. A pop-up window will appear.

Place a check mark in the check box at the top of the "Editing" tab on the Share Workbook pop-up window.

Click the "Advanced" tab at the top of the "Share Workbook" pop-up window. The window will change to present a variety of customisations for controlling multiple users on the Excel spreadsheet.

Choose desired options on the "Advanced" tab. You may change the history log time frame and control how updates are handled.

Click the "OK" button. Excel will immediately save the workbook and provide a pop-up message to indicate this. The Excel spreadsheet is now set up to handle multiple users.

Place the spreadsheet on a shared network drive where multiple computers can access it.

Save the spreadsheet on any computer to immediately see updated changes by other users currently working on the same file.


In the event that two users edit the same cells in the Excel file, the second user who saves the workbook is presented with a pop-up question. This notifies the user that she has made changes to a cell altered by another user since her last save. She is given the option of keeping her own changes, and thus deleting the other user's, or deleting her recent changes. This is the common default practice when sharing Excel spreadsheets. However, this behaviour may be turned off in the "Advanced" tab of the "Share Workbook" window.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Computer network
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About the Author

James Highland started writing professionally in 1998. He has written for the New York Institute of Finance and He has an extensive background in financial investing and has taught computer programming courses for two New York companies. He has a Bachelor of Arts in film production from Indiana University.