How to Make an Excel File Read Only

If you do not like it without your permission no one can edit or update your Excel file, you can make your Excel file read-only. No problem if you don’t know how to make an Excel file read-only. In this article, I will teach you the whole process and also show you how you can disable the read-only option from an Excel file.

Learn How to Make an Excel File Read-Only

If you want to make your file read-only, just follow the instructions below.

Say I have an Excel file. And its name is Read-Only.xlsx.

Now, I want to make this file Read Only.

Open the file at first, and try to save it using the option Save As.

In the image above, select a Folder where you want to save your Excel file. After selecting a folder, you will get the Save As dialog box as in the picture below.

In the Save As dialog box, you will get Tools option at the bottom right corner of the dialog box. Click on it. A drop-down will appear. You will find 4 options in the drop-down. Select General Options. See the picture below.

How to Make an Excel File Read Only

Click on the General Options. General Options dialog box will appear as the picture below. In this dialog box, click on the Read-only recommended check box. It will be selected. Click OK.


Save As dialog box will appear again. Just click on the Save button and save the file.

So, your file is saved as Read-Only.

Now open the saved file again.

When you click on the file to open it, Microsoft Excel dialog box will pop up with a message like the picture below:

If you do not want to open the file as read-only, you will select the No button. If you select the No option, the file will be opened in editable mode. That means the user will be able to edit or update the file.

If you want to open the file as read-only, you will press the Yes option.

I’ve selected the Yes button, and you see the file has opened in Read-only mode. See the picture below.

Read More: [Solved]: All Excel Files Opening as Read Only (6 Solutions)

Save the Read-only file with Password

In our previous steps, you have seen we have shown you how to make an Excel file read-only. In that way, the read-only file can be opened in editable mode by all. This is a problem if you want nobody can edit your file. In that case, you can make your file read-only with a password. It means: to make the read-only file editable, the user(s) must have the password.

Let’s see how you can do that.

When we were making our Excel file read-only in our previous discussion, you had seen the General Options dialog box like the picture below. You see there are two password fields in the dialog box.

  • Password to open: This one is to protect the file from opening
  • Password to modify: And this one is to protect the file from modifying.

We don’t want to restrict our users from opening our files. So, I will not apply any password in the Password to open field.

I want to restrict my users from modifying the file. So, I will apply a password in the Password to modify field.

I input a password in the Password to modify field.

Now, I press OK.

Confirm Password dialog box appears. Confirm your password again.

Now save the file.

Read More: How to Make Excel Workbook Read Only with Password (With Easy Steps)

Open the password protected read-only file

Now our file is made read-only using a password. Try to open the file.

When you click on the file for opening, Password dialog box will pop up. The dialog box has some information for you. It says: the file is reserved by someone. And you have to enter the password if you want to edit the file. But if you don’t have the password, you can open the file as Read Only.

To open the file as just read-only, click on the Read Only option. In this mode, you will not be able to edit or update the file.

Disabling Read-Only in the Excel file

You will handle two types of read-only files. One could be just made read-only and another one could password protected.

I will show here two ways to disable the read-only from an Excel file.

If the read-only file is not password protected

If the read-only excel file is made without any password, you can easily disable the read-only from the file.

When you will open the file, you will get a dialog box like the following picture.

Select the No option. The file will be opened and you will not see the Read Only anymore.

When the read-only file is password protected

You cannot directly disable the read-only option from an Excel file if the file is password protected.

So, when you click on a read-only Excel file (password protected) to open it, Password dialog box will appear.

As we don’t have the password, we have to first open the file as Read Only. Click on the Read Only button to open the file as read-only.

Now if you make any change in the read-only workbook, you will not be able to save the workbook. If you want to save the workbook, you need to save the workbook with a new name or in a different location.

So, you go to the Save As option and save the file with a new name or new location (if you want to keep the file name same as the read-only file).

So, these are the ways to make an Excel file read-only and disable read-only from a read-only Excel file. Do you any other ways? Share in the comment box.

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Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share them here. Not only how-to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned! You can checkout my courses at Udemy:

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