Have you found yourself locked out of your own spreadsheets? This guide will show you step-by-step how to remove read only from Excel files so you can edit them freely again.
There are a few different reasons why the file could be read-only, and each of them has a different solution. Luckily, we cover them all here. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
What Is Read Only in Excel
The read-only feature in Microsoft Excel essentially locks the s[readsheet, preventing you from making any changes to it. You can still take a look at the contents in the workbook, but you can’t edit it. Read-only Excel workbooks opened in “Read Only” mode. Here are some of the common scenarios for why a document may be in read-only mode:
- Marked As Final: Excel enables users to indicate the final version of a workbook to discourage any further edits. When you open a file marked as final, Excel will notify you that the file is marked as final and the author has designated it to discourage additional edits.
- Permissions: The workbook is configured as read-only either by the operating system or through properties that limit access. This situation can also arise if the Excel workbook file is located in a read-only folder. The file may also be read-only if the user account accessing the file in Windows lacks the necessary permissions to make changes.
- Sharing: When you share your workbook with someone else, you can assign permissions to those who access it. If you set the file to read-only, other users who open the workbook will only have the ability to view it without the ability to make any modifications. This can be beneficial if you want to avoid simultaneous edits to the document, which might overwrite changes made by other users.
- Protection: Excel also allows users to lock their workbooks with a password, preventing the viewer from making any changes to them. The worksheet can only be opened in read-only mode unless you enter the password allowing you to make changes.
Excel and Sheets are two different spreadsheet software. Here is a detailed comparison between Sheets and Excel.
How to Turn Off Read Only in Excel
There are multiple ways to turn off read-only in Excel. Let’s take a look at some of them.
How to Remove Read Only From Excel Files Marked as Final File
A marked as final Excel workbook will prevent you from making any changes to the spreadsheets by converting them into read-only. Here is how to unlock a read-only Excel file by changing its marked as final status:
- Open the Excel workbook where you want to remove the read-only status. The read-only status can be seen in square brackets in the window’s title bar.
- Click on File in the main bar, which will take you to the main Excel menu.
- Here click on the Info button in the left toolbar. This will open a new section to see some options related to your Excel workbook.
- Click on the arrow in the Protect Workbook button, which will open a dropdown menu.
- Here, click on the Mark as Final button.
This will unlock the file and turn off read-only in Excel. You can now make your desired changes to the file. Follow the steps mentioned above to revert the workbook’s status to marked as final once you are done making the changes. Many people love to use both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. Here is how to convert Sheets files to Excel.
How to Disable Read Only in Excel From File Properties
A very simple way to set a file as read-only is by accessing its file properties. Here is how to get rid of read-only in Excel using the file properties options:
- In your Windows file explorer, navigate to the location of the Excel workbook saved as read-only.
- Right-click on the file, which will open a dropdown menu. Here, click on the Properties option opening a new window.
- In the properties for the selected workbook file, head over to the Attributes section and click to uncheck the Read-only option.
- Click the Apply and OK button to apply and save the changes.
Now you can open your Excel document and make any changes you want to make. Once you make all the necessary changes, you can change the workbook’s attributes to read-only again by following the steps above. Excel has been the go-to software for spreadsheet management. If you’re looking for an alternate, here are the 8 best Excel alternatives for Mac in 2023.
How to Get Out of Read Only in Excel in a Protected Worksheet
Excel allows you to create a protected worksheet by setting a password to restrict selected actions or even stop you from accessing certain spreadsheet parts. When you protect a workbook, you can specify the allowed actions and user access level. This also allows you to set the workbook to read-only. Here is how to change read-only in Excel in protected worksheets:
- Open the protected workbook where you want to make the changes. You can check if the workbook is protected by trying to make any changes. A protected worksheet will show you an error letting you know that the worksheet is protected or prompt you to enter the password.
- Click on Review in the main bar.
- Go to the Protect section and click the Unprotect Sheet button. You may have to click the Unprotect Workbook button if the creator has locked the workbook. This will open a window prompting you to enter the password to unlock the worksheet.
- Enter your password in the Password textbox and click the OK button to apply it.
This will instantly unlock the worksheet allowing you to make the changes. Once you make the changes, you can relock the spreadsheet by following the same steps and specifying the aspects of the workbook you want to lock. Sheets has some great collaboration features. Here is a detailed guide to using permissions in Google Sheets.
How to Change Excel From Read Only by Removing Protected View
The ‘Protected View’ feature in Excel is a security feature that helps to protect your PC from malicious files from unknown sources. Any files downloaded from the internet or received by email can potentially be harmful, so Excel automatically opens them in a restricted environment with limited functionality to prevent them from running malicious code.
Here is how to get out of read-only in Excel by removing protected view:
- Open Excel and click on File in the main toolbar to go to the main menu.
- Click the Options button towards the bottom left of the Excel main menu.
- Click the Trust Center button in the left sidebar in the Excel options window. Here, click on the Trust Center Settings button to open another window.
- In this window, click on the Protected View option in the left sidebar and click and check to enable the options based on your preferences. We recommend enabling the three options in the Protected View heading. Feel free to uncheck the last two options if necessary.
- Click on the OK button to save the changes.
We recommend reading through the options before you disable them, as this can compromise the security of Excel. However, if you trust the source of the Excel files, you should be fine even with unchecked options. For users of Google Sheets, here is a guide on how to convert Excel files to Sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can’t I Make Changes to My Workbook?
There are multiple reasons why you’re unable to make changes to the workbook. The original author may mark the workbook as final, discouraging users from changing it. Excel also allows users to lock the workbooks with a password that prevents users from making edits. The workbook can also be set to read only by the operating system from the file properties.
How Can I Remove Protected View in Excel?
Open Excel and click on File to go to the main menu. Click on Options and the Trust Center button in the left sidebar. Here, click on the Trust Center Settings button to open another window. In the window, click on the Protected View option in the left sidebar and click and check the first three options. You can leave the last two unchecked. Click on OK to save the change.
If you followed along with each potential solution above, you now know how to remove read only from Excel files. If you found this guide useful, you should also check out our premium templates. Just remember to also use the code SSP to save 50% at checkout.
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