How to Change Read Only in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing a read-only file in Excel can be a bit confusing if you aren’t familiar with the steps. But don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems! With a few simple clicks, you can make your Excel file editable again.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Change Read Only in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about why you might encounter a read-only Excel file. It could be because the file is marked as final, or it could be protected with a password. Whatever the reason, the following steps will help you make changes to the file.

Step 1: Open the Excel file

Open the Excel file that is marked as read-only.

When you try to open a read-only Excel file, you’ll likely see a message bar at the top of the workbook. This bar indicates that the file is in Protected View or is marked as final.

Step 2: Check for Protected View

Click on the “Enable Editing” button if the file is in Protected View.

Protected View is a read-only mode where most editing functions are disabled. It’s a security feature that’s activated when you open files from the internet or other potentially unsafe locations.

Step 3: Check for Mark as Final

Click on “File,” then “Info,” and look for the “Protect Workbook” section.

If the file is marked as final, you’ll see a “Marked as Final” message. This means the file is read-only to prevent accidental editing.

Step 4: Remove Mark as Final

Click on “Protect Workbook” and then “Mark as Final” to remove the read-only status.

By removing the Mark as Final status, you’re telling Excel that you want to be able to edit the file.

Step 5: Check for Password Protection

Look for a “Password” option under “Protect Workbook” if the file is still read-only.

If there’s a password set up, you’ll need to know it to remove the read-only status. Without the password, you won’t be able to make the file editable.

Step 6: Enter the Password

Enter the correct password to unlock the file for editing.

Once you enter the password, the read-only status should be removed, and you’ll be able to edit the file as you please.

After completing these steps, your Excel file should no longer be read-only. You’ll be free to make all the changes you need without any restrictions.

Tips for Changing Read Only in Excel

  • Always make sure you have permission to edit a read-only file, especially if it’s not your own.
  • Keep a backup of the original read-only file in case something goes wrong.
  • If you can’t remove the read-only status, try saving the file with a different name.
  • Be cautious when disabling Protected View, as it’s there for your security.
  • If you’re working in a shared environment, check with your colleagues before making a file editable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does read-only mean in Excel?

Read-only means that the file can be viewed but not edited. It’s a way to protect the file from accidental changes.

Can I save a read-only Excel file after making changes?

You can save the changes by using “Save As” and creating a new copy of the file.

What if I forget the password for a protected Excel file?

Unfortunately, if you forget the password, there’s no way to edit the file unless you use specialized software or services to recover it.

Can I make an Excel file read-only again after editing it?

Yes, you can set the file back to read-only by reversing the process or setting up a new password.

Will changing a read-only file affect its formatting?

No, changing the read-only status shouldn’t affect the formatting of the Excel file.


  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Check for Protected View and click “Enable Editing.”
  3. Look for the “Mark as Final” option under “File” > “Info.”
  4. Remove the Mark as Final status.
  5. Check for password protection under “Protect Workbook.”
  6. Enter the password to make the file editable.


Excel is a powerful tool for data management and analysis, but encountering a read-only file can be a frustrating hurdle. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily change read-only status in Excel and regain full control over your workbook. Remember to always check for Protected View, Mark as Final, and password protection when troubleshooting read-only issues. With these tips and the step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to tackle read-only Excel files like a pro. Keep this article handy for future reference, and say goodbye to read-only roadblocks!

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