How to troubleshoot Excel sync issues


Users may occasionally face synchronisation issues between their local Excel workpaper copies and the SharePoint storage utilised by the Active Platform. This problem is rooted in SharePoint's safety mechanism and primarily revolves around versioning disparities. Such disparities can arise when local copies on users' devices diverge from the latest version on Active's cloud storage, often due to connectivity or network issues. This leads to a synchronisation gap, highlighted by a yellow warning bar at the top, prompting the user to determine the necessary course of action. In case of a SharePoint sync problem with Active Workpapers, users might observe the following symptoms:   

Symptom 1

'Refresh Recommended' Excel warning Bar in yellow: Users may encounter a 'Refresh Recommended' yellow bar at the top when opening the workbook. This yellow bar suggests that users 'Save a Copy' or 'Discard Changes', which indicates a synchronisation issue.


Resolution 1

Determine whether the local workbook on your machine has the latest changes or whether you want to revert to the changes currently stored in Sharepoint. Choose one of the following two resolutions based on your scenario.

  • I want to revert my changes to the copy currently stored in SharePoint: choose 'Discard Changes'. This action will reset your local copy to match the SharePoint version. 

  • My local workbook is the correct version: if this is the case, Sharepoint has a copy of the file different to yours, and we want to change the copy in Sharepoint to reflect your copy. To do this: 
    1. First, choose 'Save a Copy' from the yellow bar and save it to a location
    2. Log in to your Active Platform account, access the appropriate binder, and choose ** 'Checkout' from the 'Open Excel Binder' menu. (This will download a copy of the workbook currently in Sharepoint, DO NOT open this, as we do not want to usethis version of the file)

    3. Immediately click 'Check In', and upload the copy you saved in Step 1 when you chose 'Save a Copy' from the yellow bar before
    4. You can now delete your local copy and click 'Open Excel Binder' from the website to resume work with the latest copy.

      ** If the check out and check in feature is hidden, please request your Active Platform admin to go to and scroll down and tick 'Allow excel binder checkout' and press save. Then wait 2 mins for the sync to complete.

Symptom 2

Warning that your changes are saved locally but can't be uploaded to the server: Users may encounter the following dialogue box after clicking 'Open Excel Binder'.


This indicates that you have changes on your local machine and are unable to connect to Active's cloud Sharepoint server to update the copy in Sharepoint.


Resolution 2

  1. Confirm you are logged into Excel with the same email address that you used to log into Active
  2. Confirm that 'AutoSave' is selected at the top of the Excel document
  3. Close the file, and try opening it again from your 'recent files' in Microsoft Excel. This may prompt the yellow warning bar in Symptom 1, enabling you to resolve it accordingly
  4. If the issue persists, you may need to contact Microsoft support.

Symptom 3

Blank or Unfinished Workbook: When opened, the Excel workbook might appear blank or contain unfinished content (as in the screenshot below).

Resolution 3

Where this has occurred, you definitely DO NOT have the latest version of the file. In which case, resolve as for Symptom 1, Resolution 1.

Symptom 4

Active Workpapers add-in indicates a version conflict: You may see the below message in a workbook in conjunction with this.

Resolution 4

This is Active Workpapers identifying that the copy of your workbook is not the same as the last one used. Once you have resolved per Sympom 1 above and have opened the correct live copy of the workbook from Sharepoint, simply click 'Continue'.

Symptom 5

Already Activated Message: A message in the right pane of Excel states that the workbook is already activated (as below). 

Read Only/Upload Failed prompt: The workbook may also indicate that the workbook is in 'Read-only' mode or state 'Upload Failed' as the status along the top. The prompt might also show that the workbook was last modified a certain number of minutes ago. 

**Addressing Connection Loss: One of the common causes of sync issues is a loss of connection to the SharePoint server. Make sure you have a stable and reliable internet connection while working on Active workpapers to minimise the chances of encountering sync problems.

Whenever you need to access an Excel document from SharePoint, make sure to open it directly from the Active binder. This will help ensure that your local copy stays synchronized with the server version.

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