Overview of sharing and collaborating on Excel data

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Sharing Excel data

There are many ways to share, analyze, and communicate business information and data in Microsoft Excel. The way that you choose to share data depends on many factors, including how you want others to view or work with the data. For example, do you want to keep sensitive or important information from being modified, or do you want to allow users to change and edit the data? Perhaps you need to share data with users who do not have Excel or have different versions of Excel on their computers. Maybe you just want to share a fixed version of your workbook that can easily be sent in e-mail and printed.

With Excel for the web, you and your colleagues can open and work on the same Excel workbook. This is called co-authoring. When you co-author, you can see each other's changes quickly — in a matter of seconds. See Collaborate on Excel workbooks at the same time with co-authoring for more information.

When you publish a workbook, the entire workbook is saved on the server, but you can specify only the parts of the workbook (such as individual worksheets, named ranges, or charts) that you want to display in the Web browser. See Publish a workbook to a SharePoint site if you are using Excel 2010 or newer.

You can send a workbook from Excel or from your e-mail program.

In Excel 2007/Excel 2010: Open the workbook that you want to send, click the File tab, click Save & Send, and then click Send Using E-mail.

In Excel 2013 or newer desktop versions: Open the workbook that you want to send, click the File tab, and then click Share. Then, choose the options that you want in the Send Link dialog that opens. 

In Excel for the web: Open the workbook that you want to send, click the File tab, click Share, and then click Share with People. Then, choose the options that you want in the Send Link dialog that opens. 

When you want to exchange workbooks with other users who may be using earlier versions of Excel, you can save your workbook in the Excel 97-2003 format (.xls) instead of the Excel XML or binary format (.xlsx or .xlsb) and work on the document in Compatibility Mode. Compatibility Mode is automatically enabled when you open an Excel 97-2003 workbook. The visual cue Compatibility Mode appears in the program title bar when you are working in an earlier version file format.

For more information on how to work in Compatibility Mode, see Use Excel with earlier versions of Excel.

You can save Excel data to a PDF (Portable Document Format) or XPS (XML Paper Specification) format for printing, posting, and e-mail distribution. Saving a worksheet as a PDF or XPS file lets you capture information in an easily distributed form that retains all of your formatting characteristics, but doesn't require other users to have Excel in order to review or print your output.

For more information on converting your workbook to PDF or XPS, see Save as PDF or XPS.

You can save Excel workbooks in different file formats so that those who do not have Excel can open them in other programs or data systems.

You can save Excel files as XML files, text files, Web pages (HTML files), and others. For a list of formats that you can save to, see File formats that are supported in Excel.

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