When I first saw Excel Web Access (the ability to convert Excel documents to web pages on Sharepoint 2007) I was very exciting. However when I realized that one cannot edit a spreadsheet from a browser, I was rather disappointing.
So are these files read-only or not? Well, the truth lies somewhere in-between. You cannot make modification and save them back using only Excel Web Access (EWA). But if the author of the original workbook created a set of parameters, you can enter these parameters and Excel server will perform workbook calculations for you. When you are done, you will not be able to save the changes you made to the original document, but you will be able to print the modified document.
What to do when you want to allow others to use Excel Workbook you create?
You have a number of options here:
· If you give user a “Reader” rights, she will be able to open it only using EWA. This user will not be able to save any changes – only play with parameters
· If you give user a “Viewer” rights, she will be able to do everything a Reader can do, plus:
o Download a snapshot of your file
o Download a copy of your file
Snapshot is an Excel file containing only values from the original Excel. Formulas and other business logic will not be included in this file.
Copy is an Excel file containing values and formulas. Viewer who downloads a copy will be able to modify it completely but will not be able to save it back to SharePoint.
Users with administrative and contributor rights will be able to do all from above with the ability to modify and save the original file.
EWA does not allow you to completely modify a workbook with a browser, but when workbooks are carefully configured, it can help you to improve collaboration on excel files.