Saving and Sharing Workbooks

Save and share MS Excel 2013 documents to your computer or OneDrive account. In Excel save as PDF also helps for Excel spreadsheets.


Video: Saving and Sharing Workbooks

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Whenever you create a new workbook in Excel, you'll need to know how to save it in order to access and edit it later. As with previous versions of Excel, you can save files locally to your computer. But unlike older versions, Excel 2013 also lets you save a workbook to the cloud using OneDrive. You can also export and share workbooks with others directly from Excel.

OneDrive was previously called SkyDrive. There's nothing fundamentally different about the way OneDrive works—it's just a new name for an existing service. Over the next few months, you may still see SkyDrive in some Microsoft products.

Save and Save As

Excel offers two ways to save a file: Save and Save As. These options work in similar ways, with a few important differences:

To save a workbook:

It's important to save your workbook whenever you start a new project or make changes to an existing one. Saving early and often can prevent your work from being lost. You'll also need to pay close attention to where you save the workbook so it will be easy to find later.

  1. Locate and select the Save command on the Quick Access toolbar.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Save command
  2. If you're saving the file for the first time, the Save As pane will appear in Backstage view.
  3. You'll then need to choose where to save the file and give it a file name. To save the workbook to your computer, select Computer, then click Browse. Alternatively, you can click OneDrive to save the file to your OneDrive.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Saving a workbook locally
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to save the workbook.
  5. Enter a file name for the workbook, then click Save.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Saving a workbook
  6. The workbook will be saved. You can click the Save command again to save your changes as you modify the workbook.

You can also access the Save command by pressing Ctrl+S on your keyboard.

Using Save As to make a copy

If you want to save a different version of a workbook while keeping the original, you can create a copy. For example, if you have a file named Sales Data, you could save it as Sales Data 2 so you'll be able to edit the new file and still refer back to the original version.

To do this, you'll click the Save As command in Backstage view. Just like when saving a file for the first time, you'll need to choose where to save the file and give it a new file name.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Save As

To change the default save location:

If you don't want to use OneDrive, you may be frustrated that OneDrive is selected as the default location when saving. If you find it inconvenient to select Computer each time, you can change the default save location so Computer is selected by default.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
    Screenshot of ExcelClicking the File tab
  2. Click Options.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Options
  3. The Excel Options dialog box will appear. Select Save, check the box next to Save to Computer by default, then click OK. The default save location will be changed.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Changing the default save location


Excel automatically saves your workbooks to a temporary folder while you are working on them. If you forget to save your changes or if Excel crashes you can restore the file using AutoRecover.

To use AutoRecover:

  1. Open Excel 2013. If autosaved versions of a file are found, the Document Recovery pane will appear.
  2. Click to open an available file. The workbook will be recovered.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013The Document Recovery pane

By default, Excel autosaves every 10 minutes. If you are editing a workbook for less than 10 minutes, Excel may not create an autosaved version.

If you don't see the file you need, you can browse all autosaved files from Backstage view. Just select the File tab, click Manage Versions, then choose Recover Unsaved Workbooks.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Accessing all auto-saved files

Exporting workbooks

By default, Excel workbooks are saved in the .xlsx file type. However, there may be times when you need to use another file type, such as a PDF or Excel 97-2003 workbook. It's easy to export your workbook from Excel in a variety of file types.

To export a workbook as a PDF file:

Exporting your workbook as an Adobe Acrobat document, commonly known as a PDF file, can be especially useful if you're sharing a workbook with someone who does not have Excel. A PDF will make it possible for recipients to view but not edit the content of your workbook.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. Click Export, then select Create PDF/XPS.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013Exporting a PDF file
  3. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to export the workbook, enter a file name, then click Publish.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013Exporting a PDF file

By default, Excel will only export the active worksheet. If you have multiple worksheets and want to save all of them in the same PDF file, click Options in the Save as dialog box. The Options dialog box will appear. Select Entire workbook, then click OK.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Exporting the entire workbook

Whenever you export a workbook as a PDF, you'll also need to consider how your workbook data will appear on each page of the PDF, just like printing a workbook. Visit our Page Layout lesson to learn more about what to consider before exporting a workbook as a PDF.

To export a workbook in other file types:

You may also find it helpful to export your workbook in other file types, such as an Excel 97-2003 workbook if you need to share with people using an older version of Excel, or a .CSV file if you need a plain-text version of your workbook.

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view.
  2. Click Export, then select Change File Type.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Change File Type
  3. Select a common file type, then click Save As.

    Screenshot of Excel 2013Choosing another file type
  4. The Save As dialog box will appear. Select the location where you want to export the workbook, enter a file name, then click Save.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Saving as an Excel 97-2003 workbook

You can also use the Save as type: drop-down menu in the Save As dialog box to save workbooks in a variety of file types.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Using the Save As type menu to choose a file type

Sharing workbooks

Excel 2013 makes it easy to share and collaborate on workbooks using OneDrive. In the past, if you wanted to share a file with someone you could send it as an email attachment. While convenient, this system also creates multiple versions of the same file, which can be difficult to organize.

When you share a workbook from Excel 2013, you're actually giving others access to the exact same file. This lets you and the people you share with edit the same workbook without having to keep track of multiple versions.

In order to share a workbook, it must first be saved to your OneDrive.

To share a workbook:

  1. Click the File tab to access Backstage view, then click Share.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Share
  2. The Share pane will appear.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about different ways to share a workbook.

labeled graphic


From here, you can share your workbook directly through Microsoft Outlook 2013.

Post to Social Networks

From here, you can post a link to your workbook on any social network you've connected with your Microsoft account, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You'll also have the option to include a personal message and set editing permissions.

Get a Sharing Link

From here, you can obtain a link you can use to share your workbook. For example, you could post the link on your blog or email it to a larger group of people. You'll decide if the link allows people to edit or simply view the workbook.

Invite People

From here, you'll be able to invite others to view or edit the workbook. We recommend using this option most of the time because it gives you the greatest level of control and privacy when sharing a workbook.

This option is selected by default whenever you access the Share pane.

Share Options

This pane will change depending on which sharing method you select. You'll be able to choose various options to control how you share your presentation.

For example, you can decide if the people you share with will have permissions to edit or just view the document.


  1. Create a new blank workbook.
  2. Use the Save command to save the workbook to your desktop.
  3. Save the workbook to OneDrive and invite someone else to view it.
  4. Export the workbook as a PDF file.