How to Fix Excel Files Opening As Read-Only

Are your Excel files opening as read-only?

Microsoft Excel is used to process sensitive data and content. Due to this, Microsoft has implemented various features to keep your files safe and secured. One of these features is the ‘Read-Only’ mode. 

With this feature, you can prevent other users from changing the content of your file to preserve data. 

Unfortunately, the feature may not work all the time correctly. 

If you are reading this, we can assume that all your Excel files are opening as ‘Read-Only’, which can be annoying. When your documents are in ‘Read-Only’ mode, you won’t be able to make changes on the file, affecting your workflow. 

Most of the time, this issue is caused by improper configurations on your end. However, it can also be due to third-party antivirus, corrupted data, or outdated app versions. 

To help you out, we’ve decided to make a guide for fixing your Excel files if they are opening as ‘Read-Only’. 

Let’s get started!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

Before doing anything on your end, we suggest restarting your computer first if you encounter problems with Microsoft Excel. This way, you can ensure that the issue is not caused by temporary errors. 

Follow the steps below to restart your computer: 

  1. First, save your progress and ensure that Microsoft Excel is closed. 
  2. After that, access the Start Menu and click on the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart and wait for your computer to reboot. 
Restart your PC

Go back to Microsoft Excel afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

2. Check Your File Settings. 

If you encounter the issue on a specific file, it’s possible that the ‘Read-Only’ mode is enabled in its properties. 

To confirm this, see the steps below: 

  1. First, open File Explorer and go to the location of your file. 
  2. After that, right-click on your file and choose Properties
  3. Lastly, ensure that you are in the General tab and uncheck the ‘Read-Only’ option next to Attributes
Read Only Turn Off

Save the changes afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

3. Disable Antivirus. 

If you can’t change the content of your Excel file, it’s possible that it is protected by your antivirus. To rule this out, simply turn off your antivirus protection while you are editing your Excel files. 

4. Turn Off Protected View. 

Protected View is a feature on Microsoft Excel that prevents users from editing the content of your files. With this, you can avoid unwanted changes to sensitive documents and ensure that your data is preserved. 

If your Excel file keeps opening as ‘Read-Only’, see the steps below to disable Protected View: 

  1. First, open Microsoft Excel on your computer. 
  2. After that, go to File > Options
  3. Now, click on Trust Center in the side menu and choose the Trust Center Settings option. 
  4. Lastly, go to the Protected View tab and ensure that all the options are unchecked. 
excel files opening as read-only

Restart Microsoft Excel and see if you can now edit your files. 

5. Run Excel As Administrator. 

Your system could be blocking Microsoft Excel from accessing certain resources on your computer, causing your files to open in ‘Read-Only’ mode. If this is the case, run Excel as an administrator to bypass any restrictions. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, look for Microsoft Excel on your desktop. 
  2. After that, right-click on the app and choose Properties
  3. Lastly, go to the Compatibility tab and enable the ‘Run this Program as an Administrator’ option. 
excel files opening as read-only

Relaunch Microsoft Excel to check if the problem is solved. 

6. Disable Add-Ins. 

While add-ins can help you speed up your workflow in Microsoft Excel, they can also pose issues. Some of your add-ins could be forcing your files to open in Read-Only mode, which prevents you from editing them. 

To rule this out, follow the steps below to disable your add-ins: 

  1. On your computer, launch Microsoft Excel and open your workbook. 
  2. Next, go to File > More > Options
  3. Finally, access the Add-Ins tab and ensure that your add-ins are turned off. 
excel files opening as read-only

Go back to your Excel file and check if you can now edit it. 

7. Update Microsoft Excel. 

The version of Microsoft Excel you’re using might have an underlying issue that forces your files to open in Read-Only mode. If this is the case, we suggest updating your software to the latest version possible. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, open Microsoft Excel and access the File tab. 
  2. Now, go to Accounts
  3. Lastly, click on Update Options and choose Update Now or Enable Updates
excel files opening as read-only

Once done, relaunch your Excel file and see if the problem is solved. 

8. Update Windows. 

After updating Microsoft Excel, you can also try updating your operating system to ensure that there are no compatibility issues on your computer. 

See the guide below to update Windows: 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows + I keys to open Windows Settings
  2. Now, click on Update & Security and access the Windows Update tab. 
  3. Finally, click on Check for Updates or Download and Install
excel files opening as read-only

Reboot your system to apply the changes and see if the problem is solved. 

That ends our guide for fixing your Excel files that are opening as ‘Read-Only’. If you have questions, please drop a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂

Author

  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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