Excel’s Shared Workbook

Excel is a great tool that I thought was poor for distributed work because of the locking of the file inconvenience. When many people wanted to access a document right after they receive notification to update the document in their email, there is a log jam and some people may forget that email.

When I found out about Excel’s Shared Workbooks, I was really excited since for a business setting where everyone has access to a shared network drive, being able to update an Excel document as the same time as excellent and productive. I have been using it and have enjoyed its success so far.

Some downsides that are glaring at the lack of features. This is a trade-off allowing multiple people to access the document but tables are replaced by filters along with other features. Pivot tables are removed as well, a critical part of excel. I found that creating a second excel spreadsheet with references to the first will solve this problem. Make sure the pivot tables are on refresh and you will enjoy your Pivot Tables again and everyone else updates your data in the shared spreadsheet.

Having to save every so often is annoying. Excel should have a feature to auto-save to the network drive every few seconds/minutes instead one needs to write a macro for that. More saves (similar to Google Drive) decreases the need to merge changes. Look up a macro if you are seeing a lot of merge conflicts.

The inability to remove sheets is annoying since I always see “Sheet 2” and “Sheet 3” and want to clean that up. Someone smart should be able to fix Excel so that it can support simple deletes. One can always copy and rename the .xslx and then delete the original, and then rename the copy to the original though, probably a manager’s job.

Give it this tool a shot at work and everyone will be impressed, even though this is likely common knowledge in the business world. Reply if you have any issues with Shared Documents that you want a suggestion for!

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