How to Unshare an Excel File?

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Collaboration is an integral part of many professional environments, and Microsoft Excel has become the go-to tool for working on projects collectively. With Excel’s sharing feature, multiple users can edit and contribute to a file simultaneously, streamlining teamwork and enhancing productivity. 

However, there may come a time when you need to regain control over your Excel file, whether it’s to restrict access, maintain data privacy, resolve conflicts, or make confidential changes. Unsharing an Excel file is the solution you’re looking for.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of unsharing an Excel file on different platforms, such as Windows and Excel Online. By following these instructions, you’ll be able to confidently unshare your Excel files and take back ownership of your data. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can regain control over your shared Excel files and effectively manage your collaborative projects.

Why Unshare an Excel File?

There are several reasons why unsharing an Excel file might be necessary:

  • Restrict Access: You may need to limit access to the file and prevent further changes from collaborators.
  • Confidential Changes: Unsharing the file allows you to make confidential changes or additions without others being able to view them.
  • Create a Backup Copy: Unsharing an Excel file enables you to maintain a backup copy of the file without shared access.
  • Resolve Conflicts: When multiple users edit the same file simultaneously, conflicts and inconsistencies may arise. Unsharing the file can help resolve these issues.

Checking the Shared Status

Before proceeding to unshare an Excel file, it’s essential to verify if the file is currently shared. Here’s how you can check the shared status:

  • Open the Excel file.
  • Look for the presence of a “Share Workbook” or “Protect Workbook” option in the menu bar. 
  • If you can see either of these options, it means the file is shared.

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Unsharing an Excel File on Windows

To unshare an Excel file on Windows, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Excel File

Locate the Excel file you want to unshare and open it using Microsoft Excel.

Step 2: Navigate to the Review Tab

In the Excel menu, find the “Review” tab at the top.

Step 3: Click on the Share Workbook Option

Under the “Changes” group in the “Review” tab, click on the “Share Workbook” button.

Step 4: Uncheck the “Allow changes by more than one user” box

In the “Editing” tab of the “Share Workbook” dialog box, uncheck the “Allow changes by more than one user at the same time” box.

Step 5: Save the Changes

Click “OK” to save the changes and unshare the Excel file. Make sure to save the file with the modifications.

Unsharing an Excel File in Excel Online

To unshare an Excel file in Excel Online, follow these steps:

  • Open the Excel file in Excel Online.
  • Click on the “Review” tab.
  • Locate the “Share Workbook” option.
  • Uncheck the “Allow changes by more than one user at the same time” box.
  • Save the changes.

Best Practices for Unsharing Excel Files

When unsharing an Excel file, it’s important to follow these best practices:

  • Communication: Inform all collaborators about the unsharing process to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
  • Create a Backup: Make a backup of the shared file before unsharing it, in case you need to refer to the previous version.
  • Explain the Reason: Clearly communicate the reason for unsharing the file to maintain transparency and collaboration trust.
  • Password Protection: Consider using password protection for sensitive Excel files to add an extra layer of security.


Unsharing an Excel file provides you with complete control over your data and allows you to restrict access or make confidential changes. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can easily unshare Excel files on Windows, Mac, and Excel Online. Remember to save the modified file after unsharing to preserve your changes and maintain data integrity.

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