7 Ways To Fix Excel File Is Locked For Editing By Another User Issue

Are you unable to edit your Excel workbook due to an error message “The document is locked for editing by another user”?

If you also want to solve this Excel file locked by another user how to unlock mystery then you are on the right page. As today through this post, I am gonna share some easy fixes to resolve this Excel file is locked for editing by another user error.

Before that let’s find out why “The document is locked for editing by another user” error is appearing while trying to edit the Excel spreadsheet.

How Word And Excel Files Become Non-Editable?

This error is not limited to the Excel file, MS Word users are also facing File is locked for editing by another user error message.

There are lots of causes that can trigger this type of error and prevent the user from editing Excel or word file.

If you haven’t quit the Excel file properly then the Excel application becomes unable to delete the owner file and hence when the user tries to open/edit the Excel file then they get “The document is locked for editing by another user” error message.

If the Excel file a Word file saved on the server then it is possible that the same file is getting used by another person at the same time.

Microsoft’s office creates a temporary ownership file for their Excel and Word, this file is present in the location of the document, having “~$” followed by the name of the file. For Example: The filename of “myfile.doc” will have an ownership file name “~$myfile.doc”, both the files are created on newmisserver\public.

The file also contains the name of the owner who is currently editing the document. You can see the file on newmisserver\public from a computer, but on a Mac, you can’t see this file.

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Why Is My Excel File Locked For Editing?

There are various causes that can trigger this type of Excel File Locked For Editing issues. Some of the common reasons for “The document is locked for editing by another user” error are as follows:

  • Microsoft Excel isn’t closed properly and, therefore, didn’t erase the owner file.
  • The second request of the Excel file is active in the background with the doc already open.
  • The Excel doc is shared over a network, and used by any other user.

Sometimes you may also get the error message saying that:

File in Use – {filename] is locked for editing by {username}. Open Read-Only” or click “Notify to receive a notification when the document is no longer in use.

Screenshot of the error:


How To Fix Microsoft Excel File Locked For Editing?

In order to solve Excel file in use issue, we will disconnect the user from the file, and allow another user to get the complete accessibility. So follow all the below-given solutions.

Method 1# Disconnect User From The Opened Excel File And Unlock It

1: First you have to note down the path to the file, and the file name.

2: Open the run dialogue box, press the Windows Key + R from your keyboard to open up the Run dialog box.

3: In the run dialogue box, type “mmc” and then hit the Enter key to open up the “Microsoft Management Console“.

Run Computer Management by MMC. 1

4: Choose the “File” > “Add/Remove Snap-in“.

Run Computer Management by MMC 2

5: From the list of “Available snap-ins”, choose the “Shared Folders” and then choose “Add” to add it to the “Selected snap-ins” list.

Run Computer Management by MMC 3

6: Another box will appear asking you to “Select the computer you want the snap-in to manage“. In case you are logged in on the server where the contaminated Excel file is present, then select “Local computer”. But if you are using a different system, then select the “Another computer”, then type the server where the Excel file stored.

Run Computer Management by MMC 4

7: Now, in the view section, choose the “Open Files“.

8: Choose the “OK

Run Computer Management by MMC 5

9: Click on the “Open Files” to expand it.

10: You can sort the entire list according to your need and then search the file in the list. After it, right-click the file and, select “Close Open File”


Method 2# Quit All The Instances Of Excel

Follow the below-mentioned steps to terminate your PC from all the opened instances of Excel. This ultimately works in resolving Excel file in use error.

  • Try to save your ongoing work, after that exit from all programs.
  • Press the CTRL+ALT+DELETE button from your keyboard. This will open up the dialog box of Windows Security.
  • Hit the Task Manager and then go to the Processes tab.
  • Click Excel.exe, and then click End Process.

close excel file from task manager

  • In the Task Manager Warning dialog box, click Yes.
  • If you are receiving locked for editing by another user or your program is not responding then click End Now.

close excel file from task manager 2

  • On the File menu, tap to the Exit Task Manager.

Method 3# Same File Is Editing By Another User

If any other user is also working on the same excel file at the same time then you have the two options to perform. The first one is, either you can wait till that person releases the file. And the second one is to make a copy of your Excel file and make all the changes in this copied document.

 Or you can also switch to such an app that allows multiple authors to work on the file concurrently.

Note: If you are working on the same Excel file with multiple users, then ensure that all the users must be using the same version of Excel which has well support for co-authoring.

Method 4# Office App Already Executing In Background

If you are very much sure that your excel file is not shared on the network nor it is been edited by any other user. In that case, chances are high that instances of the Office app along with the opened file are already executing in the background.

Method 5# Check Your Excel Version Support Co-Authoring Or Not

To work on the Excel file which is used by multiple users at the same time, make sure all the users are using Excel version which supports co-authoring.

If your excel version support co-authoring than more than one person can easily open and work on the file at the same time.  Apart from this, they can also view other user’s changes in just a few seconds.

Following Excel application Versions well support this co-authoring feature:

  • Excel Mobile
  • Excel for the web
  • Excel for Android
  • Excel for Microsoft 365 for Mac*
  • Excel for iOS
  • Excel for Microsoft 365*

Note: Excel 2019 version doesn’t support this co-authoring feature.

This locked for editing by another user error also encounters also when a single user from the multiple users’ group is using the Excel version which doesn’t support this co-authoring.

If you are not sure about which Excel version they are using then encourage all to use Excel Online. This will facilities you with this co-authoring feature in the web browser only.

Method 6# Stick With These Excel File Formats

For Windows:

In spite of using the co-authoring feature in your Excel application if still you are getting the same locked for editing by another user error. At that time, keenly check the file format in which this specific Excel file is been saved.

Make sure that your excel file must be in the following .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb format.

If it’s not then, go to the File > Save As > Browse > Save as type option. After that select any one of the .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb formats.

Save The File As A Different Excel File Type

For Mac user:

Go to the File > Save As… Option and then choose any one of the .xlsx, .xlsm, or .xlsb format.

Method 7# Remove Unsupported Features From The File

If still, you are getting this Excel file in use error then the reason can be the unsupported Excel feature that doesn’t work with co-authoring.

So for this, you just need to ask one of your Excel file users to perform the following task.

The first option is to turn off the shared Excel workbook feature. If a snapshot is opened from SharePoint then it will open your workbook automatically.

If these two solutions fail to work then try the following solutions.


  • If it’s possible then remove the password or restricted file access settings. For this just follow this path: File > Info > Protect Workbook option. After that, you have to remove restricted access settings and passwords if it is applied.


  • Disable Refresh data when opening file setting present within the pivot table and tables of the file. Choose the PivotTable or table, after that follow this path: Table Tools Design > Refresh > Connection Properties. Now uncheck the Refresh data when opening file option.

refresh connection properties

  • Inactivate the excel add-in which causes this lock file issue. Choose the File > Options > Add-Ins > Excel Add-ins > Go option. Uncheck the add-in checkbox.

Turn off EXCEL Add-ins


Now you must have got the perfect answer to your query Excel file locked by another user how to unlock.

If you successfully fixed this issue with the help of the above-given steps then it’s good. But if you are still unable to fix this issue or unable to follow the below-given steps due to lack of knowledge then you can go with the automatic solution to repair MS Excel errors. 

Download and install the Excel Repair Tool, and fix Excel editing issues with ease. This tool is very simple to use as you don’t need any professional skills to perform Excel recovery. It is recommended to apply this tool once and make your Excel file error-free without doing anything manually.

We’ve already discussed several errors and tried to fix them, if you are new to our website and want to read our latest blogs then kindly visit:  https://www.repairmsexcel.com/blog

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[Solved] Tutorial to Fix “Microsoft Excel File is Locked for Editing/in Use” Issue!
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[Solved] Tutorial to Fix “Microsoft Excel File is Locked for Editing/in Use” Issue!
Apply the given steps one by one to fix the “Microsoft Excel File is Locked for Editing/in Use” error without need of any professional skill.
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Priyanka is an entrepreneur & 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.