7 Quick Ways To Fix Excel File Read Only Error

Have you ever stuck with the Excel read only error or cannot access read only document Excel issue? Mostly it is seen that Excel file read only error occurs meanwhile trying to open the Excel file which is downloaded from a network server, emails, and the internet.

If you too are dealing with the same issue then leave all your worries. This article will provide you with the best solutions to fix Excel file read only error.


What Is Excel Read Only File And How It’s Helpful?

Excel read-only file is one such file having attribute ‘read only’ turned on. Basically, such excel read-only file can be easily viewed and opened just like any other file but writing or saving changes on it is that allowed in it. So you can only read the file not write or save anything on it.

Excel file which is marked read-only, generally considered under great caution right before making any changes to it.

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Many users take benefit of this Excel file read only feature to restrict the editing and formatting of their Excel document by any content reviewers.

Suppose if you don’t want that any content reviewer will make any type of modification in your document. Then make your Excel workbook read-only before handing over your document.

If any reviewers perform any changes to that Excel read-only file. In that case, modifications can only be saved if any new location or a new name is assigned to the file.

No doubt it’s a good feature..!

But, what if you are unable to open the read only Excel File. This will ultimately throw the following error message: Excel cannot access read only document. After the occurrence of this error, you are completely unable to access your Excel workbook. So, it’s important to fix Excel read only error to get back access to your Excel workbook.

Why Does My Excel File Keep Saying Read Only?

Before stepping into the fixes to resolve Excel read only error. It’s important to know about the reasons behind Excel worksheet showing read only error.

Excel read only error

1# Spreadsheet Settings

Excel workbooks and spreadsheets can be applied with protection features to get easy prevention from any kind of changes.

As per the protection level, you may make it completely or partly Read Only. For this, you have to choose the”Unprotect” option within the review tab. If any user has enabled the protection with a password then it’s important for you to have that password to remove the read-only protection.

2# File Corruption

In many cases, it is seen that Excel file corruption also makes your Excel spreadsheet Read Only.

Even after checking all the setting and ensuring file location if you excel workbook still displaying the Excel read only error. Then it’s a clear sign that your Excel file got corrupted somehow and hence it denies getting open.

3# Location

Another very common reason for Excel read-only error is its location. If your Excel spreadsheet is within the network folder and you don’t have network permission to do any changes in the folder. In that case, your Excel spreadsheet worked as read-only. This means you can only view its data but can’t perform any editing into it.

Excel spreadsheet present on the locked USB stick, DVD CD-ROM, area also considered as Read Only. A spreadsheet that is sent as email attachments or previewed inside any email program is counted as Read Only.

Well in all the above cases, to fix Excel read only file error. You need to either move or save the spreadsheet into the folder having complete permission to make changes.

How To Fix ‘Excel Cannot Open Read-Only Documents’ Message?

How To Fix Excel Cannot Open Read-Only Documents Message

Check out the following fixes to resolve ‘Excel Cannot Open Read-Only Documents’ error Message:

1# Change the Excel File Property Set

One very typical reason for the occurrence of Excel cannot open read-only documents’ message is Excel file property is set to read-only.

To solve this matter, you just need to uncheck the Excel ‘Read-only’ file property option.

Here are the following steps to uncheck the ‘Read-only’ attribute,

  • Make a right-click on some specific Excel file
  • From the available option, choose the ‘Properties’ tab.
  • Remove the checkmark from the ‘Read-only’ attribute and tap the ‘OK’ option.

Check out whether the Excel read-only error is been resolved now or not.

2# Excel File Is In Read-Only Recommended

If you are opening a recommended read-only Excel file. Then you are asked to open your Excel workbook in read-only mode for making any modification in the Excel file.

Tap the yes option in the Excel read-only error message dialog box. If you don’t want to do any changes to your opened Excel file. Or else tap to ‘No’ options.

Excel File Is In Read-Only Recommended

If you don’t want to get this read-only recommended on your Excel workbook then perform these below steps:

  • Make a double tap on the Excel file. After then choose the No option to open it.
  • Hit the File then Save As. In the opened save as window go to the Browse option.
  • In the bottom section of the Save As dialog box, tap the Tools, and then choose the General Options.

Excel File Is In Read-Only Recommended 1

  • Within the General options, you have to uncheck the Read-only recommended check box. After then tap the OK option. Doing this will disable the read-only message in your Excel file.

Excel File Is In Read-Only Recommended 2

3# Adjust the Antivirus Setting

Sometimes the read only error in Excel is also encountered due to the antivirus program. As it is seen that few anti-virus programs restrict the accessing of Excel spreadsheets and many other MS Office documents by opening them in ‘read-only’ mode.

To deal with such cases you need to make adjustments in the antivirus settings. So, that the antivirus will allow your Excel workbook to get open in normal mode and you can perform easy modifications in it.

Don’t forget to reopen your Excel workbook after making changes in your antivirus settings.

4# Remove the Excel Protected-View

Excel file which gets opened from a potentially unsafe location like the internet, email attachments, downloaded from any third party source, etc. are opened in protected view. This feature of Excel Protected-View restricts the user to make any modification in their opened Excel spreadsheet. So, you can turn off the Protected-View security warning messages in Excel and freely use the Excel file with the only read-only error.

5# Deactivate Or Renew Microsoft Office

Chances are also that your MS Office application is either reached in the deactivated state. Or maybe its subscription has been expired.

Maybe this makes your Excel application to show such ‘read-only’ error or encounter ‘reduced functionality mode.’

To deal with such an issue, you need to either activate the MS Office or just renew the subscription of MS Office.

After performing such an operation, make check whether the error ‘Excel cannot open read-only documents’ has now fixed or not.

6# Make A Fresh Copy Of Your Excel Document:

Well, there are so many reasons behind Excel Cannot Open Read-Only Documents. There are such situation occurs in which you can easily make changes in the Excel workbook but saving up your changes is not possible. So, in that situation, a quick solution is to choose the “save as” option.

As this option makes a copy of your Excel workbook with all your changes done. If you want to permanently fix the issue of “Unable To Save Excel File” then move the Excel spreadsheet.

But if accidentally you have losted up your Excel workbook content due to inability to save it. In that case recover MS Excel Lost content from Excel temp files.

7# Make Use Of Excel Repair Tool Software:

As we have already discussed above that among various reasons for Excel read only error; “corruption of Excel file” is the most common one. So, to troubleshoot Excel file corruption issues make use of the professional and reliable Excel Repair Software.

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After reading the above article now you can easily troubleshoot the ‘Excel cannot open read-only documents’ on your own. But if the read only Excel file error is because of the excel file corruption then fix the damaged Excel files by making use of Excel repair tool.

Let us know whether your Excel read only file error is been resolved after trying the above fixes or not. So don’t forget to share your experiences with us in our comment section. Besides, you can ask any kind of queries related to the Excel workbook.

Priyanka is a content marketing expert. She writes tech blogs and has expertise in MS Office, Excel, and other tech subjects. Her distinctive art of presenting tech information in the easy-to-understand language is very impressive. When not writing, she loves unplanned travels.