I suspect every company has, out of necessity, one or more spreadsheets on a shared drive that several people access/edit on a regular basis. Inevitibly users try to open the document at the same time and get messages about the file being locked for editing, then offered the choice to be notified or opened read only. (btw- this is a Windows environment w/ server 2k3 & XP clients)

The behavior I'm trying to figure out is as follows: User A opens doc.xls read+write User B then has to open it read-only User A finishes, saves document, and closes it User C tries to open the file (which is now open only by User B in read-only mode) and gets a message that doc.xls is locked for editing by User A. User C contacts User A, User A tells User C that they are out of the file

So, at this point I get a phone call from User C, I check in Computer Management > Shared Folders > Open Files. If I close the open file for User B (which is read only) then all locks are removed, User C can go on with what they need to do.

I tested this procedure to make sure I understood exactly what was going on, but my question is whether or not there is a way to make it so that User B does not have to close the file (since they have a read-only lock, anyway) before a 3rd user can open it read+write.

Also, I would be interested to hear about any solutions anyone out there uses to avoid this scenario entirely - the spreadsheet in question is probably edited 15-20 times a day by as many different people, so this scenario plays out at least every couple of days.

Thanks so much.


The only thing I can think of would be to use an file versioning utility, or use the "Share Workbook" feature.

  • 1
    +1 for share workbook, sounds like what's needed here (although tbh Excel isn't really intended for this kind of usage scenario at all, so expect features to be fairly rudimentary at best). – Maximus Minimus Aug 25 '09 at 15:36

To me this sounds like Excel is not correctly re-establishing the lock for User B when User A leaves. Excel for User B would have to release its R/O lock and create a R/W lock for this to handle right. This is clearly not happening. This is the kind of thing I'd submit to Microsoft as an Enhancement Request.

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