Chapter 2. Share Workspaces and Lists

If you’ve ever tried to collaborate on a budget, project bid, or other team-oriented workbook in Excel, you know that just putting the .xls file up on a public server somewhere doesn’t cut it. Only one person can edit the workbook at a time, and if somebody leaves the file open, the rest of the team is locked out till you find out who the culprit is and get him to close his session.

Earlier versions of Excel solved this problem with shared workbooks , which let more than one user have a single workbook open for editing. Changes are merged automatically, and conflicting changes can be resolved. That’s great, but it’s a file-based system, so there is no way to manage the document’s users, notify teammates of changes, assign tasks, or do other team-oriented work.

Microsoft Excel 2003 finally solves these problems with shared workspaces and shared lists . This solution is server-based (Windows 2003 server-based, in fact) and integrated right into the Excel menus and object model.

Get SharePoint Services

If you don’t have SharePoint Services, you need it. I don’t care if you work alone from your home office (as I do). SharePoint is too useful to pass up and it’s free ...well, kind of. SharePoint Services are actually part of Windows 2003 so if you have Windows Server 2003 already, you can download the installation from Microsoft and install it fairly easily.

If you don’t have Windows Server 2003, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial ...

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