Finally, Microsoft has added real-time collaboration tools in its Excel App for Windows, through a beta update. It enables users to co-author excel workbooks and collaborate with each other while working on the same workbook.
Office 2016 has paid a lot of attention to real-time collaboration – it was initially launched in Word, and then in PowerPoint. It’s a major improvement for the desktop version of Microsoft Excel, which only provided limited collaboration options until now.
However, it’s important to note that in order to enable real-time collaboration for an Excel document, you need to also store it in Microsoft’s Cloud Storage systems. This way Microsoft can sync the changes across multiple desktop versions of the File.
While co-authoring is enabled, you’ll see a list of users profile pictures on top of the ribbon in Excel Window. Clicking on a profile picture will take you to the spreadsheet location where the user is making changes. This will help you see what’s going on in your workbook and monitor the changes in real-time.
The latest update will help Microsoft catch up with G-Suite’s offerings. Google Docs has been offering real-time collaboration for many years. Although Microsoft Office’s Desktop Version is the most preferred solution among Enterprise users, Google is pushing hard to convince them otherwise.
Microsoft has also introduced an AutoSave feature for Word, Excel & Powerpoint in Windows. It automatically saves files stored in Microsoft’s Cloud Storage as users are editing them on their desktop. This helps you recover your work in case your Microsoft Office crashes. It’s another feature products like Google Docs & Apple iWork have been offering since a long time.
The newly added real-time collaboration features are available only to users who part of Office Insider Program’s Fast Ring. However, Microsoft will be rolling out the features to more users soon.
You can work with users who don’t have Excel Desktop’s beta version using Microsoft Excel Online, or Excel for Android, Windows Phone and iOS.