How to Remove Read Only From Excel File: Step-by-Step (2024)

Read-Only Excel files are sensitive to changes.

It indicates that the file is for viewing purposes only and that any changes are discouraged. This means you cannot readily edit a Read-Only Excel file.

And, at times, the Read Only restrictions of an Excel file might become annoying. So you may want to get rid of them. 😑

The article below discusses several ways how you may remove the read-only settings from an Excel workbook.

Here is our free sample workbook for you to download and practice along with the guide.

What is read-only in Excel?

If you are an Excel user, you must’ve come across the ‘Read Only’ pop-up.

It appears as soon as an Excel file is launched and is used to warn the users that the file is for viewing purposes only.

And that any edits, amendments, or deletions should be avoided. However, if a file is marked as read-only, it is not impossible to edit.

You can still edit it by removing the read-only restrictions. There are many ways how you can do it and we’re going to explore them all.

How to change Excel file from read-only

Read-only pop-ups are very common (and sometimes, very annoying too).

There are two ways how can remove the read-only settings from an Excel file.

1. Edit Anyway

If your file is set to Read Only, it will show a pop-up or a notification when opened.

Click the ‘Edit Anyway’ button to remove the ‘Read Only’ settings.

The Edit anyway button

Once you click this button, the pop-up is now removed.

Edit Excel file Anyway

Note how the [Read-Only] tag from the name of the file is also removed.

This means your Excel sheet now no more has a Read Only status and is editable.

2.  Save As a new file

When you have a file with a Read-Only restriction, save it as follows.

  1. Go to File > Save As.
Save As Option
  1. This launches the ‘Save As’ dialog box.
Save As Dialog box
  1. Click on the Tools > ‘General Options’ button.
General options
  1. From the General options dialog box, uncheck the Read Only Restriction.
Uncheck the Read Only from Excel Restriction.

Click Okay, and you’re good to go.

  1. Select the location where you’d want the file to be saved.
  2. Launch the file from that location again. And it would no longer have the Read Only restriction. 🤩

Remove read-only on file protected by ‘Mark as final’

If a file is marked as final, it will show a pop-up upon being opened.

Mark as final

To Remove this read-only, click on Edit Anyway.

Edit Anyway

This removes the Read-Only settings. The file is now editable, and you can begin editing it.

Pro Tip!

How do you mark a file as final?

It’s easy. Go to File > Info > Protect > Protect Workbook > Mark as Final

Anyone who tries to open this Excel file would be shown a pop-up. The pop-up tells them that the file is read-only and editing is discouraged.

File property set to ‘Open as read-only recommended’

For some files, the properties have been set to ‘Open as read-only recommended’.

So can you not edit such files? You can.

1. The Edit Workbook Option:

  1. One way to remove the Read Only mode from such files is to launch the file.
  2. Excel gives a prompt upon opening the file.
  3. Select Enable editing from there to disable the Read Only mode.
The Read-Only Prompt

2. The File Properties

  1. Another method could be to right-click the file (without having launched it).
  2. From the context menu that then launches, click on ‘Properties’.
  1. Go to General > Attributes > Uncheck the Read-Only button.
The Read-Only button
  1. Click Okay, and now launch the workbook.
  2. Excel would now not pose any Read Only restriction on launching the file.

Open file as read-only because of workbook protection

You must have heard of Password protected sheets or workbooks. Spreadsheets that contain confidential data often come together with password protection or read-only restrictions.

If you want your Excel files to be accessed only under the Read Only mode, do it here.

  1. Go to file > Info > Protect
Go to File
  1. Go to Protect Workbook > Always Open Read Only.
Always open read-only
  1. Save the change by pressing the Control key together with the S key.

Once these settings are applied, the workbook will be protected. Now, every time this workbook is accessed, it will give a Read Only prompt.

Viewers can view in under Read-Only mode unless enabled for editing.

How to make an Excel file read-only

Until now, we have seen several methods of disabling the Read Only mode from an Excel file.

Now is the time we see how you may enable the Read-Only settings for your Excel file.

  1. Open your Excel document.
  2. Go to File > Save As.
Save As Option
  1. This launches the ‘Save As’ dialog box.
Save As Dialog box
  1. Click on the Tools > ‘General Options’ button
General options
  1. From the General options dialog box, check the Read Only Restriction.
Read Only excel file

Click Okay, and you’re good to go.

  1. Select the location where you’d want the file to be saved.
  2. Launch the file from that location again.
  3. This time it will give back a user prompt that the file is Read Only.
Protected excel file

The Read-Only settings only present the user with an option to open the file in Read-Only mode or not. And it only takes an ‘Edit Anyway’ button click to make the file editable.

Read-Only restriction doesn’t really help you protect your spreadsheet from editing.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

That’s it – Now what?

Excel allows users to place many security settings in place to protect their Excel files.

While it gives a secure edge to the owner of the file, such settings might be annoying for the users.

The above article teaches you how to enable and disable ‘Read Only’ settings from a specific file, and a final marked file. We have covered almost all the possible ways how you may get rid of the Read Only restriction of an Excel file.

To learn more about this smart spreadsheet software, try learning some core Excel functions. These include the VLOOKUP, SUMIF, and IF functions.

My free 30-minutes email course is only a click away and will teach you these and many more functions in no time.

Other resources

If you enjoyed reading the above guide, you’d love some of our similar articles.

Learn here how you may lock some cells of your Excel workbook. Or how you may password-protect your entire workbook.