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You might have heard the phrase "working in the cloud" and wonder what that means, and how that affects the way you work with Excel. It's really all about providing easy access to your data via a browser—to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. No need for other people to have Excel installed to view, edit, or collaborate on that data.

By using Excel for the web, a browser-based extension of Excel, you will be able to do all that. You can even use it to create a new workbook on a computer that doesn't have Excel installed.

You can view and edit workbooks in a browser in one of two ways:

  • By uploading or creating new workbooks on OneDrive, which is a free Web-based file storage and sharing service.

  • By saving workbooks to a SharePoint site where Office for the web is installed.

This article covers the first method. For more information about the SharePoint method, see Publish a workbook to a SharePoint site.

What is Excel for the web?

Excel for the web is a browser-based application that you can use to view and edit Excel workbooks in your browser. Workbooks and worksheets look the same in Excel for the web as they do in Excel, and Excel for the web has the familiar look and feel of Excel. Many Excel features are available in Excel for the web, but not all features are supported or work exactly the same way. To make changes beyond what you can do in the browser, Excel for the web includes a way for you to open the workbook in Excel, and then save it back to the server.

Excel for the web makes it easy for you to:

  • Extend Excel on the Web    Use Excel features and functionality you are familiar with, in a Web environment.

  • Work anywhere    A browser is all you need to access your workbooks.

  • Work together    Your teammates can work with you on projects regardless of which version of Excel they have.

Using OneDrive to access Excel for the web

To use Excel for the web on OneDrive, you need a Microsoft account. Use that ID to sign in and then go to OneDrive to access Excel for the web. To work on existing Excel workbooks in Excel for the web, you can upload those workbooks in OneDrive.

Create a OneDrive ID

  1. Go to

  2. Click Sign up.

Upload an existing workbook

To upload one or more workbooks for use in Excel for the web, do the following:

  1. Sign into OneDrive.

  2. Under Files, click the folder where you want to upload the workbooks.

    Folders that display a lock icon are private folders; folders can also be shared folders or public (internet) folders.

    Tip    By clicking Create and then Folder, you can create a new folder where you can upload your workbooks.

  3. Click Upload to add the workbooks you want to open in Excel for the web.

Start a new workbook in Excel for the web

Instead of uploading a workbook from your computer, you can add a new, blank workbook to a OneDrive folder directly in the browser.

  1. Sign in to OneDrive.

  2. Click the folder where you want to add a new workbook.

  3. Click Create, and then click Excel workbook.

    Excel for the web opens in edit mode.

    Tip    There's no need to save your changes. Excel for the web saves your workbook automatically while you work on it. If you make changes you don't want to keep, use the Undo command (or press CTRL+Z).

View worksheet data in Excel for the web

When you open a workbook in view mode in Excel for the web, you can view and interact with the worksheet data to help you interpret it. For example, you can sort and filter the data in columns or expand PivotTables to see additional details and data trends. To make changes to the data, you must open the workbook in edit mode.

  1. Sign in to OneDrive.

  2. Click the folder that contains the workbook you want to view.

  3. Click the workbook that you want to explore.

Edit worksheet data in Excel for the web

When you work on an Excel for the web workbook in edit mode, you can change the data, enter or edit formulas, and apply basic formatting to draw attention to the data.

  1. Sign in to OneDrive.

  2. Click the folder that contains the workbook you want to edit.

  3. Click the workbook you want to change.

Excel for the web opens in edit mode.

To make advanced editing changes to the worksheet that exceed the capabilities of Excel for the web, do the following:

  1. Click Open in Excel.

  2. In Excel, make the editing changes you want.

  3. On the File tab, click Save.

    The workbook is automatically saved in the OneDrive folder.

Use Excel for the web to collaborate on worksheet data with other people

To collaborate with other people on the same workbook at the same time, you can share a workbook with them. This feature is useful when you have a worksheet that requires input, such as a group project or a signup sheet. No more sending a workbook around via e-mail, or waiting for someone else to check it back in on the server.

  1. Sign in to OneDrive.

  2. Click the folder that contains the workbook you want to share.

    Note    Other people will be able to access everything in the folder you select because you cannot provide permission to individual workbooks only. To keep specific workbooks private, use one or more folders for private workbooks, and create a separate folder for the workbooks you want to share.

  3. Click Share.

  4. Invite the people you want to share the file with.

  5. Click Share.

  6. Back in the folder, click the workbook.

    After users click the link you sent them and start working on the worksheet in edit mode, you can see the changes that they make.

    Note    If changes are made to the same cell by different people (including you), the last change will displayed in the cell.

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