How to Make Read Only in Excel (Workbook)


- Written by Puneet

Sometimes, users want to make the default mode of the workbook read-only to prevent users from editing anything within the data accidentally or intentionally.

Users usually make the workbook mode ready only when they have too many formulas or calculations within the data, and they do not want to mess up that.

In this tutorial, we will show you multiple ways how to make the default Excel workbook mode ready only and you can choose any of them based on your preference.

What is a Read-Only File in Excel?

A read-only Excel file is a file that can be viewed but not edited. When someone opens the file, they can see and read all the data in the file but cannot make any changes to it. This feature is useful when you want to share your file with others but don’t want them to change the original file.

It’s important to note that the read-only mode is a recommendation, not a restriction, so users can ignore it and edit the file.

Make Workbook Ready Only Using Save As in Excel

  1. Navigate to Save As: With your file open in Excel, you will need to navigate to the “Save As” function. To do this, click “File” again in the top left corner, but select “Save As” from the drop-down menu. This will lead you to a dialog box that will prompt you to choose a location on your computer where you want to save your file.
  2. Choose the Location for Your File: In the “Save As” dialog box, select the location on your computer where you want to save the file. You can choose any location that is convenient for you. Remember the location you choose, as you’ll need to navigate to this location again if you want to open the file later.
  3. Access the General Options: In the “Save As” dialog box, there’s a button at the bottom right corner labeled “Tools”. Click on this button, and a new drop-down menu will appear. From this menu, select “General Options”. This will lead to a new dialog box titled “General Options”.
  4. Check the Read-Only Recommended Box: In the “General Options” window, you’ll notice a “File sharing” section. Under this section, there’s a checkbox that says “Read-only recommended”. If you check this box, you’ll be setting the file to read-only mode.
  5. Password is not Mandatory: Leave the “Password to modify” field blank if you don’t want to set the password and want to recommend that users open the file in read-only mode.
  6. Renter Password (Not Mandatory): Once done with the password, users will get the message box to enter the password if they want to open in edit mode or click on “Read Only” to open in view mode only.
  7. Save the File: After checking the “Read-only recommended” box, click the “OK” button to close the “General Options” window. You’ll be taken back to the “Save As” dialog box. Click the “Save As” button to save the file.

Make Workbook Ready Only Using Info Option in Excel

  1. Open the Excel workbook that you want to make read-only. Click on ‘File’ in the top left corner of the Excel window.
  2. After that, click on the “Info” option and then on “Protect Workbook,” and then choose the “Always Open Read Only” option.
  3. Now, the default mode of the workbook has changed to read-only and whoever will open that file will get the message asking to “Open the file in Ready Only mode as Author requested or in editable mode while opening the workbook.
  4. Click on “Yes” and it will get opened in read-only mode otherwise click on “No” if want to open it in editable mode.

Make Workbook to Ready Only Mode Using Toggle Read Only

Toggle Read Only is the fastest and quickest way to switch the workbook to read-only mode and editable mode anytime without creating a copy of that workbook.

  1. First, click on the “Arrow” sign within the “Quick Access Toolbar” and choose “More Commands” from the drop-down menu.
  2. After that, select the “Commands Not in the Ribbon” option within the “Choose commands from” field.
  3. Now, scroll down and click on the “Toggle Read Only” option and then click on “Add” to add it to the “Quick Access Toolbar”.
  4. Once done click OK.
  5. At this point, the “Toggle Read Only” button has got added to the “Quick Access Toolbar”.
  6. Now, to enable the read-only mode click on the “Toggle Read Only” button and the workbook mode will get changed into read-only mode.
  7. To enable back the editable mode, click again on the “Toggle Read Only” button.

Note: If you have not saved the workbook and Excel will ask you to save the already-made changes before enabling the read-only mode.


Remove Read Only Mode of an Excel File

To remove the workbook read-only mode and make it editable again, you have to make a new copy of the workbook using “Save As”.

  1. Open the Excel File: Start by opening the Excel file that is currently in read-only mode.
  2. Access the File Tab: Once the Excel file is open, look towards the top left corner of the Excel window. You will see a tab labeled “File.”
  3. Select the “Save As” Option: Find and select the “Save As” option from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the File Location: A pop-up window will appear asking where you’d like to save your file.
  5. Access “General Options”: In the “Save As” dialog box, you’ll see a button at the bottom right corner labeled “Tools.” Click on this button, and a new drop-down menu will appear.
  6. Uncheck “Read-only recommended”: A new “General Options” window will pop up. Under the “File sharing” section, you should see a checkbox that says “Read-only recommended.”
  7. Save the Changes: Finally, click the “Save As” button to save the file without the read-only settings.
Last Updated: March 30, 2024