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Sharing and Collaborating on Google Spreadsheets

The truly unique feature of Google Spreadsheets is the ability to share a spreadsheet with others—either for viewing or for collaborative editing. The only hitch to this process is that anyone you wish to share with has to have their own Google account in order to access the Google Spreadsheets site. That said, you can easily invite other users to create their own new Google account.

The sharing feature is a read-only process that lets other users view your spreadsheet, but doesn’t give them access to add or edit data. The collaboration feature lets all users you specify edit the spreadsheet online, in real time.

To share or collaborate on a spreadsheet, or enable others to view a spreadsheet, click the Show Sharing Options link; this opens the sharing pane. If you want to share your spreadsheet on a read-only basis, enter the email addresses of the people you want to view the spreadsheet into the Invite People to View box. If you want to let others collaboratively edit the spreadsheet, enter the other users’ email addresses into the Invite People to Edit box.

Once you’ve entered all the email addresses, click the Invite People button; this opens an Invitation window. Enter a personal message if you like, then click the Send Invitation button.

Your recipients now receive an invitation via email. The invitation contains a link to the spreadsheet; clicking this link opens the spreadsheet in a new browser window.

If you chose to start a collaboration session, the other users can now edit the spreadsheet, in real time. In fact, multiple users can edit the spreadsheet at the same time; each person’s edits appear on all the other users’ screens as soon as they press the Enter key when editing a cell.

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