Share an Excel workbook online and in real time with Skype for Business

 

At a glance

The world of business requires many of us to collaborate over long distances, making video conferencing a valuable tool. In Excel 2013, you could present an Excel workbook online through Lync, but this service is now available through Skype for Business for both Office 2016 and Office 365.

To share an Excel workbook in an online video conference through Skype for Business, we’ll:

  • Download Skype for Business as a standalone application.
  • Initiate a conference call and share your Excel workbook in real time.
  • Send an Excel file via Instant Messenger with Skype for Business.

The workplace is no longer limited to a group of people who share an office space. Many businesses span counties, states, and even nations. New technology has made it possible to collaborate with colleagues in a virtual space.

Microsoft has changed the Excel 2013 feature of presenting online with Lync, Microsoft’s communication software. In Excel 2016 and Excel 365, you can present a workbook online and get input from faraway coworkers in real time using Skype for Business instead, as shown in Figure A.

Download Skype for Business

Before you share Excel workbooks online, you need to download Skype for Business—if your company administrator hasn’t already done this for you.

This application is different from regular Skype, and when you go online to learn more about Skype for Business, it’s easy to make the mistake of setting up a regular Skype account instead of a Skype for Business account. Depending on what Office suite you have, Skype for Business may cost you.

Skype for Business is part of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business Essentials, and Office 365 Business Premium. If you do not have one of these versions of Office 2016 or Office 365, Skype for Business will cost a minimum of $2.00/month for one user.

Tip: If you aren’t sure which version of Microsoft Office 2016 you have installed, you can check right within Excel. Just click on the File tab and then choose Account. You will see your version of Office 2016 along with icons representing every application that your version includes.

Note that if you have an Office 365 account, you can easily set up a Skype for Business account using your Office 365 username and password.

To set up a Skype for Business account for Office 365:

  1. Open your preferred web browser and go to https://products.office.com/en-us/skype-for-business/compare-plans. These business plans are for multiple users. For a standalone user account at $2.00/month, visit https://products.office.com/en-us/skype-for-business/online.
  2. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up a Skype for Business account that suits your needs. You’ll be asked for contact information and company information. Microsoft will create an account for you with an email address matching this format: name@companyname. onmicrosoft.com. Essentially,you’re creating a Microsoft 365 account, as shown in Figure B.
  3. Alternatively, if you have a version of Office 365 that already includes Skype for Business, simply sign in using your Office 365 account and the Sign In link at the top of the page.

A: Skype for Business uses a company domain to allow instant messaging, audio/video conference calls, and online presentations between internal and external contacts.

B: Microsoft’s on-screen prompts will help you set up an Office 365 account if you don’t already have one.

C: Make sure you choose the 32-bit or 64-bit Skype for Business application based on whether you have 32-bit or 64-bit Office applications installed.

Caution: If you purchase a standalone Skype for Business account, know that you’re asked to set it up as a business. You will be the account administrator and you will purchase the use of a new domain. This method may be beyond the scope of some Excel users. Skype for Business is best used if this is a service already available and set up through your workplace.

To download Skype for Business for Office 2016:

  1. Open your preferred web browser and go to https://support.office.com/en-us/art[...]
 
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