Co-authoring comes to Excel for Windows desktop - Insider Slow

Update: Co-authoring has been released to Insider Slow in Version 1707 (Build 8326.2033)

Hello Insiders –

Today, we’re enabling co-authoring in Excel on Windows desktops, for Office 365 subscribers in the Slow level of the Office Insider program. This means you can work at the same time with others in any shared cloud document without missing a beat. No more locks on Excel files!

Starting with Excel Version 1707 (Build 8326.2033) for Excel on Windows desktop, you can co-author with others and no longer worry about getting locked out of a shared file that’s stored in SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business. With Excel co-authoring you’ll find it’s easy to know who else is working with you in a spreadsheet, and you view their changes automatically in seconds. Co-authoring is already available in Excel Online, Excel on Android (7830.1012 or later), Windows Mobile (7830.1013 or later) and iOS and Excel on the Mac (16.9.18011602 or later). Coauthoring is not yet available for customers in the Semi-annual channel. 

We’re also bringing AutoSave to Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops, for files stored in SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business. With AutoSave, you can stop worrying about hitting the save button, whether you’re working alone or together with others. So, you can rest assured that your changes are saved automatically.

For more information and the latest details on coauthoring availability please refer to the "what you need to co-author" section of the co-author support article, Collaborate on Excel workbooks at the same time with co-authoring

Availability

To use co-authoring in Excel on Windows desktops, you must:

  1. Be an Office 365 subscriber in the current channel release (coauth is not yet available for SA customers) 
  2. Have Version 8326.2033 or later installed
  3. Save your file to SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.
  4. Work with another user who is on a co-auth enabled platform
  5. Share your file with others in the Insiders program

Note - You can co-author with others not in the Insiders program however they will not be able to take advantage of co-authoring on Excel on Windows desktop and must use another supported version (Excel Online, Excel on Android, iOS, Mac or Windows Mobile)

Open the file and work in it together at the same time

To use AutoSave in Excel, you must:

  1. Be an Office 365 subscriber and opted into the Slow level of the Office Insider program
  2. Have Version 8326.2033 or later installed
  3. Use .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb files. If your file isn’t in this format, open the file and then click File > Save As > Browse > Save as type. Change the format to .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb.
  4. Save your file to a shared location

Getting Started with co-authoring

Start by uploading a workbook to a supported, shared cloud location such as SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.

Share your workbook with others- If you clicked the Share button, people will receive an email message inviting them to open the file. They can click the link to open the workbook, a web browser will open, and the workbook will open in Excel Online. To use co-authoring in Excel on Windows desktop, click Edit Workbook > Edit in Excel. However, these users will need a version of Excel that supports co-authoring.

Co-authoring is currently supported for all customers in Excel Online, Excel on Android, iOS and Mac and Excel Mobile on Windows. Co-authoring is currently available in Excel on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers on a current channel release. If the people you are collaborating with you do not have a supported version of one of these apps, they can co-author using Excel Online by clicking Edit Workbook > Edit in Browser.

Now you’re ready to start co-authoring. Once you’ve shared your workbook with others as described above, you can begin to edit in the workbook at the same time, and when you’re co-authoring using Excel on Windows desktop, you’ll know you're co-authoring if you see pictures of people in the ribbon.

When you are co-authoring, you can see each other's changes in a matter of seconds and when co-authoring in Excel on Windows desktop or Excel Online you'll see other people's selections in a colored box around the cell they’re working in, represented with different colors. This allows you to quickly determine where others are working to avoid working in the same cell at the same time.

Co-authoring tips: When using Excel on Windows desktop, if you want to jump to where someone is working, click their picture or initials, and then click the Go to option. You might see other people's selections in different colors. This happens when you are both using either Excel on Windows desktops or Excel Online. If they're using another version you won't see their selections, but their changes will appear as they are working. If you see other people's selections in different colors, they'll show up as blue, purple and so on. However, your selection will always be green. And on other people’s screens, their own selections will be green as well. If you lose track of who’s who, rest your cursor over the selection, and the person’s name will be revealed.

Learn more about co-authoring in Excel.

Excel AutoSave

In Excel on Windows desktops, Office 365 subscribers might notice an AutoSave option in the upper-left corner. AutoSave is enabled when a file is stored on the cloud. When we say “cloud,” we mean SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business. AutoSave automatically saves your changes to the cloud as you are working. And, if other people are working on the same file, AutoSave lets them see your changes almost instantly. When co-authoring with other people, AutoSave will save every few seconds. Although the time can vary depending on what you are working on.

Learn more about AutoSave in Excel.

Try the following scenarios:

Open the same Excel file for editing using Excel on two different Windows desktops at the same time.

Co-authoring is now available in Excel on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Fast level of the Office Insider program. Previously, you would get locked out of an Excel file and would not be able to edit it if you left the file open on another machine, or if another user had it open at the same time. We have now given you the ability to always access your file for editing whether you left it open on another machine or other colleagues have it open at the same time. No more lockouts on Excel files!   

  1. On a Windows PC, use Excel to open an existing file stored on SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.
  2. On another machine, open the same file from the Recent list in the File > Open tab. You will be able to successfully open the same file on both machines, without seeing a “File in Use” dialog that blocked you from accessing the file on the second machine.
  3. In addition to not being locked-out when you make changes in either file and you should see them quickly appear in your second file.

Co-author in an Excel file with others while simultaneously using Excel on Windows desktops.

* For this scenario, you’ll need to work with other Office Insiders. We recommend contacting others through personal message. 

  1. On a Windows PC, use Excel to open an existing file stored on SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.
  2. Share the file with others (must be others in the Insiders program to take advantage of Excel on Windows desktop) using the Share option in the top right and select the default “Edit” permissions. Alternatively, you can use a file on a shared file location such as a SharePoint Online document library (team site) which is already shared with your team if others on your team are also in the Insiders program.
  3. *Team up with one or more other Insiders and edit the file simultaneously with them.
  4. When others join the file, you should be notified with an in-app notification and when you are using Excel on a Windows desktop, you will be able to see where they are working within the workbook.

Co-author in an Excel file with others simultaneously using Excel Online, Excel on Android and Excel Mobile on Windows.

  1. On a Windows PC, use Excel to open an existing file stored on SharePoint Online, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.
  2. Share the file with others who are using a version of Excel that supports co-authoring and using the Share option in the top right and select the default “Edit” permissions. Alternatively, you can use a file on a shared file location such as a SharePoint Online document library (team site) which is already shared with your team if others on your team are also in the Insiders program.
  3. Team up with one or more others and edit the file simultaneously with them.4.     When others join the file, you should be notified with an in-app notification. If you are using Excel on a Windows desktop, you will be able to see where they are working within the workbook.

Learn how to get Office Insider Fast builds of Office for Windows desktops.

Go ahead and try it and please share your feedback. We want to hear from you.

  • Supply feedback directly from within the app. Go to File > Feedback
  • Take the in-app Survey

Thanks!

Scott and the Excel Team

Resources

How Office 365 commercial customers can get early access to new Office 2016 features

What's new in Excel 2016 for Windows for Office Insiders

 

Discussion Info


Last updated October 22, 2018 Views 21,042 Applies to:

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I love coauth for some things, but maybe my workflow differs from what Microsoft's typical consumer is.  I can't really adapt to the instant-auto-save environment.  I'm working with giant data models (although thanks to PowerQuery, very small actual file sizes). But I can't have it saving every little thing I do.  Heck, I must open a file read-only and use as reference a dozen or more times a day, where I really don't want a single thing I do to be saved, let alone create another 'version' of the file in the audit trail.

I can only think of a few cases where I need coauth, and when I do I typically advise all participants to just use their web browser and edit with Excel Online version, because getting all the full client programs (Office Excel 2016) and the planets to align so they work correctly is frustrating if not downright impossible.

Shawn "Cmdr" Keene | Microsoft MVP - Windows Insider | CmdrKeene.com | tweet me: @LtCmdrKeene
Microsoft MVPs are independent experts offering real-world answers. Learn more at mvp.microsoft.com.

Dear Excel Team,

I was very excited to see that Microsoft had released this co-authoring feature when it came out. It had the potential to solve several problems we had at the office, where several people needed to edit the same file.

However, I will have to stop using this feature because it is far too unstable. I have lost count of the number of times I or someone on my team has received a version conflict warning, a failure to save warning or any other such problems that result in the loss of work for one or more people co-authoring the document. 

I understand that this is not a simple task given the number of features in Excel and that fact that a change that one user makes may immediately conflict with another user's work, but you have to figure out a way to deal with these things because the way the software works now is unacceptable and impractical from a user's perspective.

I hope you take this into account in future releases.

Best,

Christian

Hmmm this approach seems a little flawed to me.

Not least because a number of updates have come through to my perpetual licence Office 2016.

Indeed just today my Excel had a pop-up window suggesting that I turn off "shared workbook" to use better collaboration tools.  See this snip:

Hmmm, yes I would love to but I can't have auto-save so I can't - talk about being a tease.  Deprecate a feature - oh yeah that is rolled out to my perpetual licence.  Tell me about the new, better feature, repeatedly suggest I switch and use - yep that is rolled out to my perpetual licence - and then slap me in the face/kick me in the privates - no you can't use it because you can't have Auto-save, we're keeping that for people who pay monthly. 

Top notch customer service ....

Ah, I see.  Thanks Ed!
Shawn "Cmdr" Keene | Microsoft MVP - Windows Insider | CmdrKeene.com | tweet me: @LtCmdrKeene
Microsoft MVPs are independent experts offering real-world answers. Learn more at mvp.microsoft.com.

So I bought a full price perpetual licence for Office 2016 business just 6 months ago.  Is this right that if I had signed up for a subscription I would get updates to Office 2016 that I don't get if I buy a perpetual licence?  This is still Office 2016 we are talking about.  All the Microsoft sales sites for Office 365 say you get a desktop version of OFFICE 2016...

I paid full price for a perpetual licence of Office 2016 but apparently it's not the same/as good as the Office 2016 you get through a subscription monthly billing...?

When you buy the perpetual license, it is like buying the old versions of office. You essentially get what you get as of the day the suite was released (late 2015 IIRC) plus security patches and bug fixes.

Through the Office 365 subscription, you get all new features as they are added to Office. Sometime in 2018, MS will release Office 2019 (not sure if name is finalized) as a perpetual license and it will have all of the new features in Office 2016 that O365 users are getting, but it will be frozen with a feature set and you'll only get security and bug fixes in general for the next 2-3 years while Office 365 users will continue to get new builds every month or so with new features.

As Paul Thurrott says, the perpetual license is now the way to get Yesterday's Office, Tomorrow.

64 bit Office 365, Insider Builds
Surface Pro 4, i7, 16GB Ram

It's my understanding that this will happen in the future (2019), but that right now the full suite and the suite you get with your subscription will be identical.  Although depending on the version (Pro or ProPlus instead of whatever the basic one is) you'll see different features in the apps.

For example I installed the Office Suite from the Windows Store, which is just the personal edition right now, and so Excel didn't show some enterprise features in the query options.  Scared me at first.

But your ability to co-author should be the same from what I understand, as long as the file you're sharing is stored in a location that all users can reach and supports co-auth (OneDrive, SharePoint, etc). 

Shawn "Cmdr" Keene | Microsoft MVP - Windows Insider | CmdrKeene.com | tweet me: @LtCmdrKeene
Microsoft MVPs are independent experts offering real-world answers. Learn more at mvp.microsoft.com.

So I bought a full price perpetual licence for Office 2016 business just 6 months ago.  Is this right that if I had signed up for a subscription I would get updates to Office 2016 that I don't get if I buy a perpetual licence?  This is still Office 2016 we are talking about.  All the Microsoft sales sites for Office 365 say you get a desktop version of OFFICE 2016...

I paid full price for a perpetual licence of Office 2016 but apparently it's not the same/as good as the Office 2016 you get through a subscription monthly billing...?

Is this now available to general Office 2016 users?

I'm not on any "insiders" program.

I have Office 365 business essentials subscription (exchange email etc.) and Office 2016 Home and Business edition  Version 1709 (Build 8528.2139 Click-to-run) whatever all that means...

Thanks

Steve

It isn't relevant for your O365 Business Essentials as that doesn't include any desktop apps, just the web versions, which have had collaboration since forever.

It should be avail in your version of Home/Office, but only with modern file formats (XLSX, not XLS for example), and only if the file is stored in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SHarepoint, and only if the person you are collaborating with also has an updated version of desktop Excel, or they are using Excel on the web, iOS, or Android. Pretty sure Mac Excel doesn't have this yet.

For office 2016 users with a perpetual license (they purchsed the CD) they won't get it until next year when Office 2019 ships.

64 bit Office 365, Insider Builds
Surface Pro 4, i7, 16GB Ram
For what I understand it should be available with the Fall Creator Windows update.. official release was supposed to be on the 17th, but personally I'm still waiting for it...

Is this now available to general Office 2016 users?

I'm not on any "insiders" program.

I have Office 365 business essentials subscription (exchange email etc.) and Office 2016 Home and Business edition  Version 1709 (Build 8528.2139 Click-to-run) whatever all that means...

Thanks

Steve

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