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How to Remove Read Only From Excel with/without Password

The read only feature is a useful tool for safeguarding an Excel spreadsheet when you don’t want the content changed or accidentally deleted, especially when shared with other users.

Nevertheless, receiving a read-only excel file doesn’t mean you’re permanently forbidden from changing it. There are several ways you can disable or remove read only from Excel to make the file editable again should you want to modify it. These methods vary depending on the circumstance and I’m going to outline them herein, so check them out below.

Situation 1. Remove Read Only from Excel Marked as Final

You can save a finished Excel worksheet as a final draft to prevent others from editing it further. Probably the excel sheet you have was marked as “Final” by the author or someone else and that’s why it’s in read-only mode.

You should see a yellow pop-up message right below the menu bar when you open the Excel sheet, reading “Marked as Final” and that the author has marked the workbook as final in order to discourage editing.

In other words, when an Excel worksheet is “Marked as Final”, you can’t edit anything on it. All the actions including typing, editing, proofing, commenting, and even executing commands are basically disabled.

If this is your case, then this is how to remove read only from excel file when marked as final.

  • Go to the “Edit Anyway” button on the right end side of the yellow “Marked As Final” pop-up message and just click it. This will remove the read only mode and you’ll be able to edit the Excel sheet as needed.

medit anyway

  • Alternatively, you can click File on the menu bar, go to Info on the drop-down menu, click the Protect Workbook button, then choose “Mark as Final” from the displayed drop-down menu. Doing so will switch off the Mark as Final setting hence removing it.

protect workbook

Situation 2. Remove Read Only from Excel File in Read-only Recommended

Removing read only from Excel when it’s in the read-only recommended setting is pretty easy. As soon as you first open the file, a message will pop-up prompting you to open it as read-only or not. In case you intend to modify the file, you just click the “No” button to open it, and then you can make the changes you want. But, if you don’t need to edit it, then you can click the “Yes” button to open it in read-only mode.

Now, how do you remove the read-only recommended settings on the Excel file if you don’t need it anymore? Well, here are simple steps to do it.

  • Launch the Excel file by double clicking on it, then select the “No” option to open it.

read only recommended

  • On the menu bar, click File, Save As, and then the Browse option.

excel save as browse

  • Click Tools on the “Save As” dialogue (bottom part), then General Options in the menu.

general option

  • Uncheck the “Read-only recommended” check box on General Options, then click OK.

uncheck read only recommended

The read-only restriction will now be removed on the Excel file and you can save it with the old name or a new one.

Situation 3. The Excel Content May Be Protected

Although the protected mode is a bit different from “Marked As Final” or read-only recommended mode, you still can’t make any changes to the Excel sheet if it’s in protected mode because the contents would be read-only. Chances are the author opted to protect the contents to ensure unauthorized people don’t change them.

It’s easy to confirm if the contents or sheet of your Excel workbook are protected. Simply go to the “Review” tab on the menu bar. Just below the Changes group, there should be a button indicating “Unprotect Sheet”. You should as well see another one that says “Protect Workbook”.

You can also tell when you try making any changes to the file. An alert will immediately pop up saying that the cell or chart that you were trying to change is within a protected sheet or you can also get a warning message saying that the Workbook is protected and hence can’t be changed.

Whatever message you get, follow these steps to know how to remove read-only from shared excel file if the workbook or worksheet is in the “Protected mode”.

  • Open the Excel file by double-clicking on it. From the menu bar, go to the Review tab.
  • Under the “Changes” group, you’ll see “Unprotect Workbook” button. Click it to unprotect the Excel workbook.
  • Next, move to the “Unprotect Worksheet” button if you see it, and also click it to unprotect the Excel sheet.
  • In case the workbook or worksheet has been protected with a password, then you’ll be prompted to type the password once you click either of them. If you know the password, type it to proceed. Find out from the author or the person that protected the workbook/sheet if you don’t know the password.

unprotect sheet

  • Now, click OK and the protection mode would be disabled. You’ll see the Unprotect button immediately toggle to “Protect Worksheet” or “Protect Workbook”.

Once that’s done, you’ll be able now to edit the sheet or the workbook.

Situation 4. The Excel File Is Opened in Protected View

When you download or import files from the internet or any other place that might be potentially unsafe, it’s likely that they can contain viruses or other malware that can harm your computer. As such, these files are normally opened in Protected View and often have a yellow or pink warning message that pops up on the top part of the workbook reading “Protected View”.

These files usually open this way to allow you to read the contents on them while safeguarding your computer. Most of the editing functions are always disabled.

Various reasons could lead to an Excel file being opened in Protected View. The most common ones are:

  • If you downloaded the file from the internet, including from an email attachment.
  • When the sender of the Excel file is flagged as unsafe by your computer policy.
  • When you open the file from an unsafe location.
  • If the file is blocked by File Block.
  • When file validation fails or there’s an error detected during the opening of the file.
  • When a filename features special characters such as the “/” symbol.

First, before you embark on removing the read-only setting, ensure that it’s safe to do so. When you are certain it’s safe and that both the content and the source of the file can be trusted, simply click the “Enable Editing” option that’s right in the yellow/pink message bar on top of the workbook.

enable editing

Once enabled, the read only restrictions will be removed and you can now change the content as required.

Bonus: Remove Read Only from Excel without Password

The read-only mode can be removed from a password-protected Excel workbook or sheet without necessarily using the password. However, this is only possible if you use an Excel password remover utility, such as the FoneGeek for Excel. Unlike other options, FoneGeek for Excel is a highly effective tool for converting Excel documents into read only mode.

  • Remove Excel Sheet Unprotection in 3 seconds: The complete Excel sheet will be unprotected in only 3 seconds regardless of the file size.
  • Recover opening password: Find and display the Excel opening password if you are unable to open the Excel file.
  • High success rate: Removing all kinds of Excell sheet passwords with a high success rate, even those that are complex or secure.

Below are the steps to remove read only from excel without a password using FoneGeek for Excel.

Step 1. Download the FoneGeek for Excel software and install it onto your computer, then launch it and click “Remove Restrictions” from the main window.

remove restrictions mode

Step 2. Import and upload the password-protected Excel file you wish to edit.

add excel file

Step 3. Now, just click “Remove” to lift any read-only restriction. You can now edit the Excel file.

remove excel restrictions


If you are struggling to remove read only from excel, the above 6 methods can help you do it. They’ll work for you depending on your situation and make your excel sheet or workbook editable. However, in case none of them work, then try out the Passper for Excel tool. It’s a sure bet because you can easily access any Excel document using it no matter the kind of restrictions placed on it. You can use it to certainly remove any read-only restriction, even from a password-protected excel workbook or sheet.

Joan J. Mims

Joan J. Mims is interested in researching all tips about iPhone, iPad and Android. He loves to share useful ideas with all users.

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