How to merge changes in shared workbooks

The shared workbooks feature in Excel is a useful feature if you have a single workbook that several people need to work on. We covered the basics in another article, How to collaborate in Excel with shared workbooks.

But, once your colleagues have finished with their updates, how do you merge the changes back into a single workbook?

If you’re using Excel 2013, the first thing to do is to enable the Compare and Merge Workbooks button:

  1. In the top left of Excel, there is a button which is a downward pointing arrow with a horizontal line above it. This is the ‘Customize Quick Access Toolbar‘ button. Click this button now:
    Excel Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  2. Select ‘More Commands…‘ from the menu:
    Excel More Commands
  3. In the dialog box which opens:
    • Select All Commands in the Choose commands from drop down
    • Scroll down and select Compare and Merge Workbooks
    • Click the ‘Add >>‘ buttonExcel Compare and Merge Workbooks
  4. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes and close the dialog box
  5. The Compare and Merge Workbooks is now available in the top left of Excel:
    Excel Compare and Merge Workbooks button

The following steps will walk you through how to merge changes in shared workbooks:

  1. If your shared workbooks aren’t all in the same folder, copy & paste them so that they are all in one folder
  2. Choose one of the workbooks which will be the master copy. All the data from the other workbooks will be merged into this master workbook
  3. Open the master workbook
  4. Click on the Compare and Merge Workbooks button in the top left of Excel:
    Excel Compare and Merge Workbooks buttonIf you’re on an earlier version of Excel, look under Tools -> Compare and Merge Workbooks
  5. The Select Files to Merge into Current Workbook dialog box will open. Browse to the folder where the shared workbooks areĀ and select each of the shared workbooks except the master workbook
  6. Click the OK button and Excel will get to work merging the shared workbooks