How set all documents to open in Read only in sharePoint Online. Few files open in Edit mode wh


How set all documents to open in Read only in sharePoint Online. Few files open in Edit mode while others open in read only mode. This happens in a document library. How to make this uniform.

16 Replies
Can you provide additional details about any specific security customization you have done in the library? Is this problem happening with a Teams library?

Hi Juan,


No customization have been made to the library. It is normal document library in a Team site.


Can anybody assist with this?

The easiest way I have found to do this is to modify the default permissions for the SharePoint groups (e.g. SiteName Contributors, Visitors, Owners). For Teams Members, set SharePoint Contributors, for the Teams Owners group, set SharePoint Owners group.

I have the same issue, Excel opens in browser in edit-mode, not read. I cannot change permissions, users should be able to make changes, but not my mistake while reading the documents.


Any tips how to solve this? 


I am looking for solution for same issue too.


1) If set doc library to require check-out, then need many steps to change a document.


2) if set doc library to NOT require check-out, then anyone can edit the document easily with it opened online. However, since it's default with "edit mode", there are numerous of unintended document changes, generated many versions that should not be there.


The best balance will be to NOT require check-out, BUT open the document in Readonly mode by default and allow user to "explicitly" click the "Edit" button to enable edit mode.


Hope someone can help with this.


Even when you use the option 'View in browser' it still opens in Edit mode (if you have editing rights).

As such version numbers are unexpectedly increasing and users save updates by mistake.

The ability to determine in which mode a document will open, is a should have

.Docs always open in edit mode-ViewInBrowser.jpg


Post this on uservoice! If you have certain documents you want to open in read-only just open them up with the desktop app and choose to always open in read-only mode..The documnt will now always open in read only both online and in desktop client"



Hi Adam, tx for your prompt response. The 'Protect Presentation' is a valuable feature for a limited number of docs.

I tested again with the "checkout" mode, below works:

1) check-out the document (I test with Excel)

2) click to open in browser, and edit online, close after edit completed

3) check-in the document


With above steps, then can explicitly edit document online. If want to open in read-only mode, simply open the document in browser without check-out.

Also tested doing multiple times for step "2)", and the Version History will just preserve the last edited version.

This workflow works for me, it may be just not able to allow "multiple editor" (not sure as I did not test this). So, I will stick with the require check-out mode.

As you mentioned, co-author feature isn’t available when “require check-out” is used

If opening with the online version of the app, it will open in read-only mode if the file is in the old office format (.doc, .xls) otherwise it will open in edit mode. So the default for new office format is always edit mode and can't be changed. 


@omi kumari - this is the closest feature I've found on User Voice.  LMK if you find one with more votes so I can attach to it:


For Excel for Mac: Open in desktop app, in the menu under "File" is the option "Always open as read-only".


Apart from that, please upvote proposal from Cameron just above for folder-wise editing of rights.