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Microsoft makes sharing Excel workbooks in Teams happen in real-time with ‘Excel Live’

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing to make real-time collaboration actually work inside Teams. Its latest effort in this space is called Excel Live. This feature will be available in public preview at the end of August. Microsoft officials announced Excel Live on Day 1 of the company’s annual Inspire partner conference on July 19.

Excel Live is meant to allow people in a meeting to be able to collaborate in real-time inside of Teams meetings on their Excel content. Like PowerPoint Live, which Microsoft introduced earlier this year, Excel Live allows users to access and share their latest Excel workbooks by using the Share tray in Teams. Once a workbook is shared, everyone in a meeting can edit the Excel file directly from the meeting screen.

The new feature supports Sheet Views so that everyone co-editing a workbook can create customized views to sort or filter information without disrupting anyone else’s view. Users can set permissions and use “Show Changes” to make sure edits were made during a meeting.

(Users also can access the Excel Live experience from within Excel for the Web using Share and then “Work together in Teams. ‘)

I think the new Excel Live capability will use Fluid Framework technology under the covers like Live Share in Teamswhich Microsoft introduced at Build 2022, does. Fluid Framework is Microsoft’s fast co-authoring and embedding technology. Teams hosting and managing runs on top of the Azure Fluid Relay service, which is what supports Fluid Framework clients.

I’ve asked Microsoft to confirm whether Excel Live is built on top of the Fluid Framework technology – and whether we should expect more real-time “Live” collaboration experiences built on Fluid for Word, OneNote and other Office apps. No word back so far.

In other Teams-related news at Build, Microsoft also announced the new Video Clip feature coming to Teams Chat that will let users record, send and view short videos. Video Clip is built using Microsoft’s Stream video platform and will work with the newly announced Viva Engage module that Microsoft announced today at Inspire. Video Clip will be in public preview in August and generally available in September.

Microsoft also showed off collaborative annotations for Teams which will allow all meeting participants to draw, type and react on top of / to content that’s shared in a meeting using the Microsoft Whiteboard toolset. Collaborative annotations are now generally available.

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