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Excel/Making an excel database shareable


Hi Bob. Thank you for you consideration -- I'm hoping you can help me.

I manage a large decentralized team. We've created one excel database which houses a lot of our marketing data;  the file is saved on a server accessible to the entire team

Unfortunately as it is today, only one person at a time can be in the file; updating it. We have tried to make the grid shareable, using the instructions posted by Excel but I have reports that teammembers get "locked out" notifications. Or changes made aren't being saved

Can you help me mind the file shareable?  So that multiple people can be in at the same time?  All while ensuring the files stability?

Thanks and please let me know if you need any additional information


So many things become unavailable when you share files in Excel, I (and many others) find this feature unusable. THe best way to do what you want (which could likely involve a large redesign) is to have people update DATA only, not the actual file -- that is, the data which feeds the file is kept separate from the file, and data can be imported & exported to a "data file". If the design of the file needs to be changed, then that is done independently of the data inside the file.
Unfortunately, if it involves too much effort to redesign, or is just not possible, I'm afraid there really is no way to do what you describe without bumping into the one-person-at-a-time restriction. It's not like Access, where this is an inherent feature, I believe (I'm not an Access person)
Sorry for the bad news.
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Bob Umlas


I`m a Microsoft Excel MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and have been since the inception of the program in 1995. I can answer every kind of Excel question except: API, Importing/exporting to other programs (powerpoint, word,...) Also check out my in-person training link at


Worked with MS Excel since version 0.99 (on the Mac!). Was contributing editor to Excellence Magazine, having written >300 articles. John Walkenbach said of me "I finally met someone who knows as much about Excel as I do."

Excellence, The Expert, Microsoft

BA in math, Hofstra University, 1965

Awards and Honors
Led sessions for the Convergence 2004-2006 seminar on Excel tips & tricks

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