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My friend told me about some sort of online system he has used to keep track of who has accessed certain excel files, although he didn't remember too well what it was or exactly how it worked. Basically all such solutions I've found by googling entail for example saving accesses to a hidden table, or to a separate file, which may not be useful if I send the file to someone and don't expect it to be sent back (or send the file to multiple people).

Are there any ways to solve this problem? BIG thanks!

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are several ways of achieving this but they amount to the same thing.

You embed something that triggers a web URL. You then monitor the URL for accesses.

The easiest way is to serve up a 1x1 pixel image from a web server and embed it somewhere out of the way in your spreadsheet. Insert an image as normal, when asked for the location, put in a web URL instead of somewhere on your local drives. When opened, Excel will load the image from the web causing the web server to log the access to the image.

Of course, if you want something more robust, you should consider writing a Macro that is triggered upon opening the spreadsheet and that makes a web call to a URL. This method gives you more control (you could add data to the URL such as the user name and can be protected from deletion. However, it may trigger a macro warning unless the code is signed and trusted.

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