Collaborate with others with Excel online

Computers can make it easy to collaborate as a group on a project without having to be in the same room and Microsoft has provided an online version of Excel which is great for group projects.

Unlike the desktop version of Excel which is installed and used on your computer, the simplified, free online version of Excel can be accessed through your internet browser, like a website. Because it is online anyone you authorize can view and even edit a file you have created, meaning that everyone always has the latest version of the file.

Go to and click on the Excel icon in the online apps section. You will then need to sign in using your Microsoft account, or create a new account if you don’t already have one. A Microsoft account grants you access to various Microsoft websites and isn’t specific to Excel online. Once logged in, Excel will display a “What’s new” banner.

When Excel online starts, it looks very similar to the start screen of Excel on your computer. Here you can choose a template or create a workbook from scratch using a blank workbook. The name of your sheet appears in the centre top margin, and is usually simply “Book” or “Book 1”. To change the name click the title and type your new name.

You, and anyone you share it with, can edit this online sheet just as you would edit a normal Excel file. You may notice the interface is simpler, with fewer tools available, so there may be some things you can’t do with the online version. Another interesting feature is there is no need to save your work since Excel online does this automatically for you.

To collaborate with others, click the File tab and select the Share menu. To share the file with specific people click the “Share with people” option and then choose “Invite People”. Enter the email addresses of the people with whom you want to share the sheet, separating each address with a comma. Enter a message if you wish and click the Share button.

You can also create a link that others can use to access this sheet. Instead of selecting “Invite People”, select the “Get a Link” option to allow other people to edit the sheet, and then click the “Create Link” button. The link can then be shared with others able to access this file.

To revoke access to this file, return to the sharing settings and you will see a list of people who can access this file under the “Shared with” title. Select the link or person whose access is to be revoked, click the dropdown list and select “Stop Sharing” or click the “Remove link” button to cancel access granted by a link.