Merge copies of a shared workbook

Tip: The shared workbook feature of desktop versions of Excel is unnecessary in cloud versions of Excel, which support shared editing by default. For more information, see the articles Share a workbook and Share a workbook in Office 365.

When other users update a shared workbook and you want to compare the changes that they have made before you update the workbook with those changes, you can use the Compare and Merge Workbooks command. By default, this command is not available with other shared workbook commands on the Review tab in the Changes group, but you can add it to the ribbon or to the Quick Access Toolbar.

In this article

Add the Compare and Merge Workbooks command to the ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar

Compare and Merge

Potential issues with workbook merging

Add the Compare and Merge Workbooks command to the ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar

Note: For an overview of adding commands to the ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar, see Customize the ribbon in Office and Customize the Quick Access Toolbar.

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  2. Do one of the following:

    Add the command to the Quick Access Toolbar
    • In the Quick Access Toolbar category, in the Choose commands from list, click All Commands.

    Add the command to the ribbon
    1. In the Customize Ribbon category, in the Choose commands from list, click Commands Not in the Ribbon.

      Scroll down the list and locate the Compare and Merge Workbooks command.

    2. In the Customize the Ribbon list, choose Main Tab, and then under Main Tab, click Review.

    3. Below the Main Tab box, click New Group. Optionally, rename the new group.

  3. In the commands list, click Compare and Merge Workbooks, click Add, and then click OK.

Compare and Merge

Note: Remember, you must add the Compare and Merge Workbooks command to the ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar. It is not shown by default. For steps, see the preceding section.

  1. Open the copy of the shared workbook into which you want to merge the changes.

  2. On the Quick Access Toolbar or the ribbon (depending on where you added the command), click Compare and Merge Workbooks.

  3. If prompted, save the workbook.

  4. In the Select Files to Merge into Current Workbook dialog box, click the copy of the shared workbook that contains the changes that you want to merge, and then click OK.

    Tip: To merge the workbook with multiple copies of the shared workbook at the same time, hold down CTRL or SHIFT and click their file names, and then click OK.

Potential issues with workbook merging

  • Potential issue - The workbooks you are trying to merge aren't copies that were made after the original workbook was shared using the Share Workbook command.

    Details - In desktop versions of Excel, a shared workbook is not just a workbook that is saved in a location that multiple people can use. You must use the Share Workbook command in the Changes group on the Review tab to share a workbook before you make copies and merge them.

    What to do - In this circumstance, you must manually merge the copies. To help prevent it from happening again, make sure to use the Share Workbook command to make a workbook suitable for merging before any copies to be merged are made.

  • Potential issue - The workbooks you are trying to merge aren't in the same folder.

    Details - To use the Compare and Merge Workbooks command, copies to be merged must be located in the same folder as the shared workbook. This means that copies of the shared workbook must also each have a unique file name that differs from the original workbook.

    What to do - If you're sure the workbook was properly shared before the copies you want to merge were created, rename each copy to be merged, using a different name for each. Then, move the copies to the same folder that contains the shared workbook.

  • Potential issue - The workbooks you are trying to merge are copies of different shared workbooks.

    Details - You can only merge a shared workbook with copies of the same shared workbook. If someone else has made a copy and then shared it separately, it can no longer be merged with the original workbook or copies of that workbook.

    What to do - Make a copy of the shared workbook that you want to merge into. Then, copy all of the data from the other workbook (the one that won't merge) into the new copy of the shared workbook. Save the copy with a new name in the same folder as the shared workbook, and the Compare and Merge Workbooks command should become available.

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