Excel 2013 users have several options for sharing Excel sheets online. You can save the file to the cloud, publish a link, share to several social media platforms, and send the file via email. While you've been able to save Excel files to the cloud for a while by sharing to Windows SkyDrive, the choice to share to Windows SkyDrive is now an interface option. In addition, invitees no longer need a Microsoft account to view and/or edit shared Excel files. Sharing to SkyDrive is now an easy choice.
SkyDrive is online storage hosted by Microsoft. If you don't have it, you can install it. Most Office 2013 applications, not just Excel, support SkyDrive. These instructions are specific to the desktop version of Excel 2013, but Office 365, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox 360 also support SkyDrive.
1. Identify the file
First, you have to identify the workbook you want to share. With that workbook open in Excel, click the File tab. In the left pane, choose Share. Figure A shows the initial share configuration, with the Invite People option selected.
Clicking Share in the left navigational pane starts the sharing process.
2. Route to the cloud
Before you can share your workbook, you must save it to a cloud location. Click Save To Cloud (on the right). Then, identify the appropriate location. Click Windows Live SkyDrive. Then, click your Windows SkyDrive account, as shown in Figure B. (That's Excel's grammatical error, not mine!) Excel will default to your SkyDrive account, so click Save in response to the Save As. Dialog.
Choose a cloud location.
3. Manage options
After saving the workbook to SkyDrive, you have many options, shown in Figure C, for controlling access to the file. These options require more exploration on your part, but briefly:
- Use Protect Workbook to restrict changes to the file.
- Use Inspect Workbook to hide personal or confidential information you might not want to share and to check for other troublesome issues, such as accessibility and compatibility with other versions.
- Use Versions to recover unsaved changes.
- Use Browser View Options to limit the areas of the file other users can view.
Use the options on the left to manage the file. On the right, you'll find a number of file properties.
4. Invite contacts
At this point, you can share the location of your file with others. To do so, click Share in the left pane and choose between Excel 2013's many sharing options. With Invite People selected (the default), enter the email addresses of those contacts you want to share the file with. As you type, Excel uses AutoComplete to match your input with names and addresses in your Address Book, as shown in Figure D. Click an address in the dropdown to add it the list. If you're sending the invitation to multiple contacts, type a semi-colon character between names (Excel will add them for you.) In addition, you can click the Search The Address Book For Contacts icon to search for contacts.
Choose names from the AutoComplete dropdown or type them yourself.
5. Set editing option
By default, Excel lets anyone with an invitation edit the file and SkyDrive will automatically save those changes. If you don't want users to change the file, choose Can View from the editing dropdown, as shown in Figure E.
Be sure to restrict editing permission, if you don't want others to modify the file.
6. Add a message
This optional setting lets you add a personal message to the invitation, as shown in Figure F. If you omit this step, Excel will generate a generic invitation for you.
You can add a personal message to the email.
7. Require sign-in
Another optional setting is Require User To Sign-In Before Accessing Document. Checking this option will force others to log into a Windows Live account before they can open the file. You'll probably use this security option sparingly.
At this point, you're ready to send the invitation to those listed. To do so, simply click Share. When you do, Excel sends the invitation via email. As you can see in Figure G Excel also lists the recipients and their editing status.
Excel helps you remember those you've invited to view and/or edit the file.
9. Follow the link
Each invitee will receive an email message that contains a hyperlink, as shown in Figure H. Simply click the link to open the file on SkyDrive.
Click the link to view the shared workbook.
10: View the file on SkyDrive
Those who receive the link do nothing other than click the link. Windows SkyDrive does all the work, opening the file in Excel Web App for quick viewing in the local system's default browser! If you don't change the editing default (#5), the invitee can even make changes to the file using Excel Web App.
Invitees can view the file using Excel Web App using their default browser.
Sharing is an easy choice in Excel 2013. Now that you know the basics, you can explore the other sharing options and share files with ease and confidence! Even if you don't need to share files with others, SkyDrive is an easy way to access your own files when you travel, or when you want to work from home.
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.