Microsoft hosted its annual “Inspire” event today, where the company unveils new products and services for large organizations. One of today’s announcements was “Excel Live”, a new collaboration tool.
Excel Live is the latest collaborative feature for Microsoft Teams, joining PowerPoint Live and other tools already present in Teams. People on a Teams call can share an Excel spreadsheet with participants, which can then be viewed and edited by everyone on the call. Many video chat and conferencing services already have whiteboard-style collaboration areas, but Excel Live uses existing spreadsheets and can save changes to a file that can be easily opened and edited later.
Microsoft said in a blog post, “Sharing spreadsheets within a Teams meeting was a pretty one-sided experience. You share a file and everyone watches while you make updates. But what if your group could use that meeting time to get the job done together? Based on what we’ve learned and the changing needs of today’s workplace, we’ve created an enhanced collaboration solution for working on Microsoft Excel workbooks, Excel Live, allowing your group to collaborate in real time within your Teams meetings.
Excel Live will be available for public preview “at the end of August”, but unfortunately it will only be available via Microsoft Teams. Unless you’re in a business or organization that uses Teams, or have access to it through a paid Microsoft 365 family subscription, you’ll have to stick with editing a web-based Excel file (which typically doesn’t work not as good with Live Edits like Google Sheets).