All excel file suddenly become read only

Copper Contributor

Hello, I works with MS office 2021 now I facing read only mode on excel files 

all files on my hard disk or new created on open on Read only !!!

I try many methods on google but still the same I make on-line repair but !!!!!!!

I reinstall MS Office !!!!!!!!!

I uncheck Trust Center settings >Protected View 

= when I try to save any thing it ask to save it with new copy > and if I try to edit the new copy and save it ,it ask to save it as a copy of that new copy !!!!!!!!!!!!! = always run on read mode , all file stored on HDD.

8 Replies


It seems that you have tried several methods to fix the issue. However, the issue still persists.


You can try the following methods:

  1. Check if the file is read-only: Right-click on the file and select Properties. If the Read-only attribute is checked, uncheck it and click OK.
  2. Remove read-only status: On the File menu, click Info. Click on Protect Workbook and select the Always Open Read-Only option.
  3. Open Excel in safe mode: Press and hold the Ctrl key while opening Excel. This will open Excel in safe mode. If the issue is resolved, then it is likely that an add-in is causing the issue.
  4. Check if the file is stored in a location that is not trusted: If the file is stored in a location that is not trusted, then Excel will open the file in read-only mode. Move the file to a trusted location.

I hope this helps :).


@NikolinoDE , I had the same issue. I think it is a glitch with the microsoft security process. In the end clicking first on "on my Mac" first and then selecting the onedrive location solved the problem.

I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your Excel files. Here are some potential solutions that might help:

Check the File Properties: Right-click on the Excel file and select ‘Properties’.
If the ‘Read-only’ attribute is checked, uncheck it and click 'OK’.

Antivirus Software: Some antivirus programs may protect you from potentially unsafe files by opening them read-only.
You may need to adjust these settings.

Protected View: Files from the Internet and other potentially unsafe locations can contain viruses, worms, or other kinds of malware that can harm your computer.
To help protect your computer, these files are opened in Protected View. You can change these settings.

OneDrive Storage: If the file is stored on OneDrive and your OneDrive storage space is full, you will be unable to save the document until you are under your allotted space.

Product Activation: If Microsoft 365 or Office isn’t activated, or your Microsoft 365 subscription expired, you might get an Unlicensed Product message or an activation error.

If none of these solutions work, you might want to try restarting your computer, installing Office updates, performing an Online repair of Office, or checking your internet connection.



hello .. I had that problem .. look at the top bar of excell if it says the file is in the compatibility mode .. maybe your file is using in old version saving like 2013 or previews ones our maybe you used to make the file by using other worksheets .. so to solving the problem save as the file with newers version you have to choose when you save as it .. you can use the top one in types ,.. then close and open the new version .. you problem might be solve also try to change the place of the file .. save it to the desktop..

I'm having the same problem with Word on Jan. 17, 2024. This is really annoying. One workaround that just worked for me is renaming the file, opening it and saving it with the original name. I thought it might still be read-only, but it wasn't. This workaround is pretty easy, but I'm not looking forward to doing it repeatedly. 


My problem started today, which could be down to the fact that I logged into a different computer earlier.

All my Excel reports within different groups are read only for me, now, but my colleagues can open them correctly. 

Teams is far from being the completed article :(

I have the solution, I opened Excel in safe mode and searched for the issue and I found out that the problem is due to an Add-in, the Excel seemed not to find the add-in location and the security check prevent any modifications to the file as it might be a virus.

Anyway, the solution that I'm sure it will work 100% with you is:
1- Open any excel file
2- Open developer menu
3- Click on Add-ins
4- Uncheck all the add-ins
5- If any of the add-ins is failing and causing the issue it will give you an error message and it will remove it
6- Close and re-open excel
7- The file now should be opened normally
Open the add-ins you use again (preferably one by one) and check after opening each one, if the problem persists, then the last one you opened is also making a problem.


Point #3 working for me. My Excel application had a broken add-in; after fixing by remove that add-in, it is back to normal.

Thanks for your advice.