SharePoint Online - spreadsheet checked out to user shows as read only for that specified user


Hi folks - We're experiencing an issue where an Excel spreadsheet checked out to a team member still remains in read only view and they are unable to edit it. If they try to edit it, they get a message telling them: Cant Edit Workbook - [team member name] has the workbook locked. Ask them to close the file or check it in. However... the team member name that shows in the error is the same team member who is trying to edit. So, the error is essentially telling them they can't edit something because they're the one who has it checked out. This is sporadic, thru testing we've determined this error occurs 90% of the time with Chrome and IE, I only received the error once when using MS Edge. This is happening for me (SP admin) as well as other team members. I have a list below of the various troubleshooting I've tried.  


Is this a bug related to spreadsheets?
...or do spreadsheets have to be checked out thru a different kind of process (seems unlikely, but I might as well ask)?
...any other ideas of why this is happening? 
Here's what I've tried to diagnose the issue. I have not identified the root cause or fix.
  • I tested Word documents vs. spreadsheets. This only happens with spreadsheets. Word documents have never given us this error scenario.
  • Tested on multiple sites within our Hub collection  - same issue on all sites
  • Tested on multiple libraries within a single site (on two separate sites w/in the Hub) - same issue
  • I deleted and reloaded the spreadsheet and tested again on multiple libraries and multiple sites  - same issue
  • I created a net-new spreadsheet, uploaded that and tested to eliminate the possibility of corruption on the initial spreadsheet. I then retested using the net-new spreadsheet on multiple libraries and multiple sites. I went thru this process to create net-new and retest on multiple libraries and multiple sites 3 times (creating 3 net-new spreadsheets). All of the spreadsheets between all of the libraries and sites exhibit the same behavior. 
    • I also went thru this process with Word docs to confirm the error is specific to spreadsheets. Word docs worked fine every time.
  • I rebuilt the library multiple times and then ran thru the tests again - same issue each time
  • I tested on multiple browsers
    • Chrome and IE both consistently have the issue
    • MS Edge - was only able to reproduce this error once when using this browser
    • I tested by checking out and then attempting to edit while in the same browser. eliminates the possibility that error is caused by checking out in one browser and attempting to edit using a different browser. 
  • I tested by opening the spreadsheet in the Excel web interface as well as opening directly in Excel to edit - same error regardless of what interface I used to attempt the edits
Thank you for any suggestions!
7 Replies
Hi! Might be stupid but which excel Version? Is it excel 365 or previous version?

For anyone keeping tabs on this issue, I now have a ticket open with Microsoft and they're doing research to identify a solution. I'll update this post when we come to a conclusion on this.

@Kateraid did this issue get fixed in your environment.  

@Mahendra Ranaweera no, not yet. I've been working with Microsoft. They've been trying to pull logs of the issue occurring, but the log tool they're using keeps shutting down before we can complete the exercise on Chrome. Their log tool works on the other browsers, but the other browsers are sporadic with the issue and we didn't happen to experience the issue on the other browsers while they were running their log tool, therefore they've advised since we can't recreate the issue in the other browsers while their log tool is running they've concluded this is not an issue on non-Chrome browsers. I have screen captures of the issue occurring, and the MS team members have witnessed it happen while on screen share sessions with me, but because they can't capture a successful log they tell me their tech support team can't do any research on the issue. At this time they've told me to avoid Chrome, which is problematic for my company for a variety of other reasons. To say I'm disappointed is putting it lightly. After a few of my company's big projects wrap up & I have more availability from other team members, I'm planning to leverage another team member to see if they have better luck running the Microsoft log tool while recreating the issue in chrome so we can capture a successful log. I spent several hours over multiple ph calls with the MS tech support group and every time we tried this on my computer their log tool crashed. I'll update this post again when we get to that point.

@Kateraid have you got any further updates on this issue yet?

@JSHEP73  I spent hours on the phone with Microsoft and in the end they said two things would fix the issue: (1) use their MS Edge browser, and (2) wait up to an hour after the item has been checked-in before someone else tries to check it out. When these two things were followed in testing, the issue could no longer be recreated. On my side, we don't use the Edge browser (we use Chrome) and it's not always tenable to wait an hour for someone to check out the spreadsheet again so this was painful for us for a while. Having said this, this issue hasn't come up again for us in months so I assumed some enhancement in one of the windows patches helped.