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Microsoft Excel update is game-changing for collaboration — Here's how it works

Microsoft Excel on laptop and mobile
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft 365 has introduced considerably better collaboration tools over the last couple of years to compete with Google Workspace and the gold standard Google Docs. But one feature missing from Excel made the prospect of collaboration a bit of a nightmare. 

That missing feature has now been addressed with the addition of Show Changes. Microsoft introduced it today in a blog post as a game-changer for users with complex workbooks who were previously terrified to share only to see a carefully crafted workbook broken by a colleague.

Show Changes tracks every change made to an Excel document, no matter how small, showing you the change itself along with who made the change and when they made it. Filtering allows you to view the changes sorted by date or limited to a specific range within the workbook down to a single cell.

The cards with the changes don't appear in real-time in the column, but a "See new changes" button will instantly pop up at the top of the column. You can click on that whenever you want to see the latest changes, but Microsoft considered it distracting to have them appear in real-time.

Microsoft Excel Show Changes feature

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Show changes will save edits for up to 60 days, ensuring that you have plenty of time to catch any accidental or unwanted changes and revert them back with just a couple of clicks. Changes are captured across all platforms so whether you or your colleagues are working on Windows, macOS, iOS, iPad OS or Android, they will all appear in Show Changes.

The feature is available starting today, so if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription you can check it out right now.