How to Share Excel Spreadsheets

By David Weedmark

Learn how to share your work on an Excel file and to protect it from editing or track editing changes using Excel 2013.

Excel 2013 offers many different ways to share a workbook with others, from your computer, a shared server, through email, shared links and even on social media. Before sharing a workbook, you can specify what people can do with it, what can be edited and whether more than one person can work on the file at the same time.

Sharing on Networks

If your Excel file is already accessible to others, like on a shared drive in a network at home or at the office, you can share a workbook from the Review tab while the workbook is open.

Step 1

Click the Review tab. In the Changes section of the Review ribbon, you'll find options to protect a worksheet or the entire workbook from being edited, to share the workbook, to allow users to edit specific ranges in a workbook, and to track changes made to the workbook.

Step 2

Enter a password to protect a shared workbook.

Click the Protect and Share Workbook option in the Review ribbon. A dialog box opens prompting you to enter a password. No one without the password can edit the workbook, if you set one.

Step 3

Specify if multiple people can edit a workbook at the same time.

Click the Share Workbook option in the Review ribbon. Under the Editing tab, clear the check box if you don't want more than one person to be able to edit the workbook at the same time. Excel tells you who currently has the workbook open.

Step 4

Advanced options showing the default settings.

Click the Advanced tab. Specify how long Excel should keep the change history, how often changes should be updated on the file if a user hasn't saved yet, as well as how to manage conflicts between changed versions when several people edit the file.

Sharing with OneDrive

With your free OneDrive online storage account that comes with an Office 2013 subscription, you can share Excel files with others.

Step 1

Click the Send to Cloud icon to save the file to OneDrive.

Click the File tab and then Share. Click the Invite People option. If the file isn't already in a folder in your OneDrive account, Excel prompts you to save it there. Click the Save to Cloud button.

Step 2

Protect Workbook options.

Click the Info tab if you've already put the file on OneDrive. After saving to OneDrive, Excel takes you to the Info tab automatically. Click the Protect Workbook option . In the drop down menu, you can:

  • Mark the draft as the final version so it is locked as read-only.
  • Encrypt the workbook with a password to prevent anyone without the password from editing it.
  • Protect the current worksheet by specifying what kinds of changes can be made, like style and formatting changes or to lock specific cells from being edited.
  • Add an invisible digital signature to the workbook, which ensures the integrity of the file is protected from changes.

Step 3

Inspect Workbook options.

Click the Inspect Workbook icon to:

  • Inspect the document for hidden properties or any personal information that may be contained in the file.
  • Check the workbook's contents for its accessibility for anyone with reading disabilities.
  • Check the workbook's compatibility with older versions of Excel.

Step 4

Browser View Options.

Click the Browser View Options icon to specify which worksheets should be visible when the file is opened in a Web browser.

Step 5

Specify if people can edit or only view the workbook.

Click the Share option in the File menu and select Invite People. Type the email address of the person you want to access the workbook. If people are in your Outlook contacts list, you can enter their name, or click the Contact icon to find them.

Specify whether these people Can Edit or Can View the file using the drop-down menu on the right.

Type a message and select Require User to Sign in Before Accessing Document if desired, then click the Share icon.

Creating a Share Link

Copy the created link.

Use the Get a Sharing Link option if you want to share the workbook with a large number of people and you're not particularly worried about having unauthorized users from seeing the file. Create a View Link to make the workbook read-only. Create an Edit Link to allow anyone with the link to edit the workbook. After you create a link, highlight it and then press Ctrl-C to copy it. You can then send it in an email, as a chat message, or post it on a service like Facebook.

If you no longer want to share the file, return to the Share window and click Disable Link.

You can also post the workbook to social networks like Twitter and Facebook if you have connected them to Microsoft Office.

Sharing as an Email Attachment

Email attachment options.

Click the Email option in the Share window to send the workbook as an email attachment. Here, you can attach the workbook as an Excel file, PDF or XPS file or send a OneDrive link to the file. The benefit of this option is that Excel is integrated with Outlook so the attachment is added to a new email message automatically so you can just enter the email address, enter a subject and a message and then click Send.