These days, more and more of us work remotely from our colleagues, managers or bosses, and if you are working as a Virtual Assistant, the chances are you will rarely, if ever, see your clients. However, this doesn’t stop us needing to share workbooks with them, whether on a regular basis or just on the odd occasion.

But then what? Sharing is just one part of the story, the next part is how we open, use and edit any shared files.

So, how do we do all this? There are a few options available. You can share your workbooks direct with other, specified people, you can share them by email, or you can present them online. Let’s have a look at all these options before looking at opening, viewing and editing a shared workbook.

Sharing with People

Sharing with others within your organisation who are using Office 365 can be done in two ways: from the File – Share menu or direct from within the workbook itself.

Share with People via the File Menu

Figure 2 – Share your work with others

  1. Click the File menu
  2. Click on Share with People
  3. Click the Share with People button
  4. The Share pane opens on the right of the spreadsheet

Figure 3 – Type the email address to share with

Share with People from within the workbook

Click the Share icon at the top right of the screen

Figure 4 – Invite from within

The Share pane will open – fill in as in the instructions above.

Sharing Via Email

When working in Excel you may need to share your workbook with someone who is not in your team, such as a client or a colleague. In this instance, you may wish to email the workbook/spreadsheet or send it for shared review. You might also wish to Present it online or invite others to share it with you.

Share Via Email

Figure 5 – Share via email – choose to send as attachment or to share the workbook online

  1. Click the File Menu
  2. Click Share
  3. Select Email
  4. Then decide which of the following option you wish to use:

    Send as Attachment – starts up Outlook and attaches the workbook to a new email message

    Send a Link – starts up Outlook and puts a link to the file in the body of the message

    Send as PDF – you can send your workbook as a PDF even without a PDF program on your machine, so pick this one if that is the case for you

    Send as XPS – XPS is a document file format that allows you to save your documents/ spreadsheets electronically and, once saved, you cannot edit them – just like once you have printed a piece of paper you cannot change what is printed. You can send your spreadsheet as an XPS file, however the person who receives it will need an XPS viewer to be able to read the document

    Send as Internet Fax – you can send your document via Internet Fax – however you will need a Fax Service Provider to do so

Opening a Shared Workbook

When you receive an email telling you that a colleague has shared a workbook with you, there will be a link in the email to open it. When you click on the link, the workbook will open in a browser.

Open a Shared Workbook from a link

Figure 6 – Open a shared workbook

Click on the name of the file; this is in big, light blue letters

You may need to request permission to access the file. This will depend on the permissions that your administrator has set up. If there are no sharing restrictions, the file will open in the browser as shown below.

If there are restrictions, you may have to request permission. As soon as you do, an email is sent to the originator of the shared file asking them to approve the request. Once they have approved it, you will receive another email telling you that you can now go to the document.

The Shared Workbook


Figure 7 – Workbook opens in the browser in Excel Online

The workbook opens in a web browser using Excel Online.

Edit in Excel or Edit in the Web App

Figure 8 – Choose to edit online or in Excel

Edit the workbook in the Excel Web App online or launch the full Excel Application on your desktop.

This workbook is in a shared location and can be worked on by only one person at a time.

I find this so useful when working with colleagues and clients – it’s quick, it’s straightforward and it works! Whichever way you choose to share your files, I hope you’ve found that too.

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