You often keep your Excel worksheet as a ‘read-only’ file for security reasons. Either you intend to prevent data removal by someone else or you wish to ensure that the content remains the same while it is being passed to several persons. Here, the read-only mode proves quite effective as the file content stays unchangeable yet viewable by the other parties.
But sometimes, you are required to change the contents of a ‘read-only’ file. How do you modify a ‘read-only’ Excel file? There are multiple ways to undo the read-only mode and enable editing of the file content. You can turn off the ‘read-only’ mode, depending upon the type of Excel sheet and choices present in your system. The common methods include using the ‘Save As’ option, selecting ‘Edit Anyway’, entering the requisite password, or changing the ‘Properties’ of the file.
Given below are the detailed steps for disabling the ‘read-only’ mode in different ways:
Removing ‘Read-Only (Recommended)’ from Excel Files
When you receive a Microsoft Excel file from your boss or colleague and try to open it, you will see a pop-up with a question. There is an option of opening the file as ‘Read-only (Recommended)’ or not. Follow the given steps when this pop-up appears:
- Choose ‘No’ when asked to open the worksheet in read-only mode.
- Select the file and pick ‘Save As’. Then click on ‘Browse’.
- Navigate to ‘Tools’ at the bottom end of the ‘Save As’ menu and select ‘General Options’. Here, you will notice a checkbox beside the ‘Read-only Recommended’ option. Uncheck this.
- Finally, click ‘OK’ and save the file.
With the read-only mode removed, you will be able to edit the file when you open it again. You can apply this technique for any kind of worksheet and in all variants of Microsoft Excel from 2003 to 2016. But the method is different for the ‘Final’ type of Excel file.
Removing ‘Read-Only’ from ‘Final’ Marked Excel Files
In some cases, an excel file is marked as ‘final’, which makes it uneditable. In a ‘final’ excel worksheet, you cannot type, comment, or execute any command on the content. You will find such files marked as ‘final’ via a notification that pops up on its top.
In order to disable the ‘read-only’ status from these files, you need to select ‘Edit Anyway’ on the same notification bar. This will convert the file into an editable mode, and you will be able to do the desired changes.
Undoing ‘Read-Only’ from Password-Protected Excel Files
Some people tend to lock their excel worksheets with a password. This means if you attempt to open such a file, you will get a pop-up warning asking you to enter the specific password. Unless you put in the right password, the file content cannot be altered. Below is the stepwise method to make a file modifiable:
- In the dialogue box for ‘Password’, pick the option to open the file in ‘read-only’ mode.
- Navigate to ‘File’ and click ‘Save As’. Then, select ‘Browse’.
- Here, go to ‘Tools’ and pick ‘General Options’.
- Remove the input of the ‘Password’ box to change it to ‘Modify’ box. Then, press ‘OK’.
For editing, you need to open the newly saved Excel worksheet in place of the previous one.
If you want to delete the password absolutely, you have to download a third-party application, but this may seem a little devious. A better way is to request the sender of the file to provide you with an editable version of the required Excel worksheet.
Unlocking a ‘Read-Only’ Excel File on Mac
Sometimes, an Excel worksheet is set to ‘read-only’ via the file’s properties rather than Excel itself. This implies that you cannot access the editable attributes of the file on your operating system. In this case, only the owner has permission to modify the file. So, in order to modify the file content, you will have to unlock the ‘read-only’ file from your system only. Go through these steps to take off ‘read-only’ from an Excel file on Mac:
- Firstly, navigate to the Mac’s Finder and conduct a ‘Search’ for the file you wish to edit.
- Then, choose the particular file and right-click on the file itself. Or you may navigate to ‘File’ on the top menu of Finder.
- From the right-click or ‘File’ menu, choose ‘Get Info’. Here, you will see a checkbox named ‘Locked’. Uncheck this box.
Now you can open the file to make the desired changes.
Unlocking a ‘Read-Only’ Excel File by Modifying ‘Permissions’ on Mac
At times, you may not be able to remove the ‘read-only’ status from an Excel file because of the lack of permission to edit. A Mac computer offers the option of creating a file in a way that allows only the creator/owner and the permitted users to modify it. If this is the case, you cannot change the file contents unless you ask the creator/owner to alter the ‘Permissions’.
Similarly, when you wish to share your own worksheet file, you may modify the permissions for its recipients. You can do this via the ‘Sharing and Permissions’ option present at the bottom end of ‘Get Info’ part. This part contains the list of your contacts who can view the file. Alongside each contact name, you will see a drop-down menu displaying the choices; ‘Read Only’ and ‘Read & Write’. You can set these privileges as per your preference.
Unlocking a ‘Read-Only’ Excel File on Windows PC
If you are working on a Windows PC, you can unlock the Excel worksheet in more or less the same way as done on Apple Mac. Glimpse through the technique to turn off ‘read-only’ mode in Windows:
- Firstly, do a search for the relevant Excel file.
- Now, right-click on this file and click on ‘Properties’.
- Navigate to the bottom end of ‘General’ Tab in ‘Properties’, and uncheck the box beside ‘Read only’.
- Select ‘OK’ to save the settings.
As explained for a Mac, you can alter the ‘Permissions’ for your own Excel worksheet in Windows. For this, you need to navigate to the ‘Properties’ of the required file and pick ‘Security’ tab. Here, you will notice the list of names or groups who can edit or view the file. You may change the type of access from the ‘Edit’ option present below the usernames.
It is upto the file’s original owner to modify the sharing permissions of the recipients and turn the file into ‘read-only’ mode.