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Share and Review in Microsoft Excel 2010

Most people have experienced that brief moment of irritation when you've tried to open that all-important spreadsheet that your team was using to keep track of a project, and discovered that it is "Locked for Editing". Once you could finally go to work again, you wondered whether your colleague already added that latest order to the total, or not...? And you had to laboriously sort through the data to check.

Fortunately, with Microsoft Excel 2010 for Microsoft Office 365, you can set up any spreadsheet or workbook so that you and your colleagues can all work on it at the same time. You can even choose a range of cells for shared working (that'll stop Bob from Marketing from messing up your carefully calculated formulas!). Let's take a look at some of the options available on the Review Ribbon tab in Excel 2010.

To share your workbook, click Share Workbook. A dialog box will appear, so navigate to the Editing tab. To allow multiple people access to your workbook, tick the checkbox on this tab, then OK. You can also click the Advanced tab to customise settings for sharing the workbook.

You can choose:

1.How long to keep a history of the changes everyone has made.

2.When to update changes and whose changes you see.

3.Options for dealing with conflicting changes (when more than one user tries to edit the same cell at the same time).

4.Whether to keep your own Print and/or Filter settings, or use the defaults set by the workbook owner.

It is also possible to share your workbook in a way that allows you to see all the changes that have been made. Click Protect and Share Workbook in the Changes section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab). You will be prompted to set an optional password.

You may also want to share only a certain portion of your spreadsheet, for example, you may want to allow users to enter new data, but not to change certain data or edit cells with formulas in them. To do this, click Allow Users to Edit Ranges in the Changes section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab).

Now that we've shared our spreadsheet, and before beginning work, let's see how our team can communicate within the document - crucial to avoid duplication, confusion or errors. Begin by clicking the Review tab and then highlight the cell/s you want to comment on. The command New Comment will appear in the Comments section of the Ribbon at the top of your page.

When you click New Comment, a box containing your name will appear near the cell/s you selected to comment on. Type in a comment, then click on any other cell to save your comment.

You can edit or delete your comment at any time after you've made it. Choose Edit Comment or Delete Comment from the Comments section of the Ribbon (Review tab). When there is more than one comment in a spreadsheet, navigate between them using the Previous Comment and Next Comment commands, found in the Comments section of the Ribbon (Review tab).

Clicking Show All Comments will display all the comments everyone has made on the spreadsheet, all at the same time.

Clicking on Show Ink selects or deselects the option to show all cells which have had comments made about them with the top right-hand corner coloured in. Another way to help keep track of what changes to the workbook are being made and when, is to share it using Track Changes. Click Track Changes in the Changes section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab).

The Highlight Changes dialog box will appear. You can now choose When to highlight changes (Since I Last Saved, All, Not Yet Reviewed or Since Date. If you choose Since Date, you can set a date and all changes after that date will be highlighted). Other options are Who's changes you highlighted; Everyone or Everyone But Me. Ticking the Where checkbox allows you to choose cells, so that any changes made to those particular cells will be highlighted. Click OK to save your changes.

Other useful sharing features to be found in the Review tab of the Excel Ribbon include Share Now and Send by IM. To use these features, you must have Microsoft Lync installed. To share your current workbook immediately, first Save your work, then click Share Now in the Share section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab). If Lync is installed and you're signed in, the Lync window will open, followed by a Share Now dialog box. Either highlight the name of the person you wish to share your workbook with, or search for them among your Contacts. Then click OK.

The process for Send by IM is almost identical, except that by holding Control and Left-Clicking your mouse, you can share your workbook via Instant Message with several contacts from your list at the same time.

The Proofing section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab) allows you to Spellcheck the contents of any cell, or Research cell contents using reference books or websites, including the search engine Bing. This might be particularly useful when coming across a cell containing the name of a customer company that is new to you, for example.

The Language section of the Excel Ribbon (Review tab) contains the Translate button, which allows you to quickly translate the contents of any cell to and from a wide variety of languages. It also gives you the option to insert your translation, particularly useful if you don't have a specific foreign language scripts keyboard installed, or aren't familiar with the positioning of the letters.

We hope you've enjoyed this tour of Excel 2010's powerful share and review capabilities. You may also want to see our articles on Pivot Tables and Importing into Excel for more in-depth guides on getting to grips with this exceptionally useful software.