I have excel files on a SharePoint site which I am linking to the company's intranet. The reason we have the forms on SharePoint is that certain people need to update the forms regularly and we want to save the effort of uploading them every time again to the intranet. The form includes a button as a feature that saves a copy of the form on the user's desktop. Problem is that if the user does not use that button but just saves the file in Excel as usual, he would save the entries in the original version in SharePoint, which is to be avoided.

I am looking for a solution to this problem and am not sure there is any, as this is really tricky:

  • I want certain few people to be able to edit and save the version of the form directly in the SharePoint
  • I want everyone to be able to make entries into the form itself and save it on their end but not save those entries in the file itself on the SharePoint (just as a copy of that file)

I cannot just use a view only link provided by SharePoint, as a) I want them to be able to make entries, b) that link always opens in ExcelOnline instead of Excel, which does not support macros.

Any ideas appreciated. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


This can be solved with permissions. SharePoint comes with the standard groups for Contributors and Visitors. Add people to the Contributor group if they should be able to change the Excel files. Add the rest to the Visitors group, who can only read, but not change documents. If a visitor opens an Excel workbook, they cannot save changes back to the original, but they must Save As a copy.

Also, in the Library Settings > Advanced Settings you cen set the "Default open behavior for browser-enabled documents" to "open in the client application". Then Excel files will open in Excel and macros and buttons will work as expected.

  • Thanks, that actually seems to work! Much simpler than I thought. However, I have already set the default open behavior to "open in the client application". Unfortunately the documents are still opened in Excel Online. Any idea how to solve this? Thanks!
    – Kathrin
    May 26, 2016 at 3:30
  • Sorry, don't know. You may want to post this as a different question after you've closed this one.
    – teylyn
    May 26, 2016 at 3:58

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