Microsoft held its yearly “Inspire” event today, where the company reveals 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, adding onto PowerPoint Live and other tools already present in Teams. People in a Teams call can share an Excel spreadsheet with participants, which can then be viewed and edited by everyone in the call. Many video chat and conferencing services already have whiteboard-style collaborative areas, but Excel Live uses existing spreadsheets and can save changes back to a file that can be easily opened and modified later.
Microsoft said in a blog post, “sharing spreadsheets within a Teams meeting has been a fairly one-sided experience. You share a file, and everyone else watches while you make the updates. But what if your group could use that meeting time to get the work done together? Building on what we’ve learned and the evolving needs of today’s workplace, we’ve created an enhanced collaboration solution for working on Microsoft Excel workbooks—Excel Live—empowering your group to collaborate in real time within your Teams meetings.”
Excel Live will be available in public preview “at the end of August,” but sadly, it will only be available through Microsoft Teams. Unless you’re in a company or organization that uses Teams, or you have access to it through a paid family Microsoft 365 subscription, you’ll have to stick to editing a web Excel file (which usually doesn’t work as well with live edits as Google Sheets).