Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Opening a Workbook as Read-Only.

Opening a Workbook as Read-Only

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2014)

6

There may be times when you want to open a workbook as read-only. This means you will not be able to save any changes to the workbook you are loading. You can use the Save As option from the File menu in order to save the workbook using a different filename, however. Opening a workbook as read-only is self-insurance so you don't inadvertently mess up your file. To open a workbook as read-only, follow these steps:

  1. Select Open from the File menu, or click on the Open tool on the toolbar. You will see the Open dialog box.
  2. Locate the workbook you want to open and then click once on the filename.
  3. Click the down-arrow at the right side of the Open button. Excel displays a list of different ways you can open the workbook.
  4. Choose Open Read-Only from the menu.

If you are still using Excel 97, then the steps are a bit different.

  1. Select Open from the File menu, or click on the Open tool on the toolbar. You will see the Open dialog box.
  2. Locate the workbook you want to open and then click once on the filename.
  3. Click on the Commands and Settings button. (It is the right-most button on the toolbar in the Open dialog box.) This displays a Context menu.
  4. Choose Open Read Only from the Context menu.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2223) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Opening a Workbook as Read-Only.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing Your Sound Theme

Don't like the sounds that Windows has chosen to play when system events occur? Here's how to change the sound theme that ...

Discover More

Splitting a Table

Table getting too long? Need to move part of a table to somewhere else in your document? You can easily split an existing ...

Discover More

Preventing Overlapping Tables

You can spend considerable time getting the tables in your document to look just right. What happens, though, when you ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Turning Off Sharing

All good things must come to an end at some point. When you are done sharing your workbook with others, this is how you ...

Discover More

Renaming a Workbook

Renaming a workbook from within Excel can seem daunting, but it is actually quite easy. All you need to do is use the ...

Discover More

Working With Multiple Workbooks

Need to do work in more than one workbook at a time? For many, this ability is a necessity. Excel allows you to easily ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 9?

2017-08-11 04:18:23

Anton Thelander

Big thanks! Helped me. Generally worked for Excel 2013. Cheers and have a really nice day!

Anton from Sundsvall, Sweden


2016-12-13 10:39:54

Joey

Super stuff. I wanted to open a file without locking out someone else and without making it a shared file and this worked like a charm.


2015-10-02 00:03:13

caroline lynette

Hi,thanks very much for this solution.It really help me in my studies.


2014-07-04 08:57:27

sushil maurya

There may be times when you want to open a workbook as read-only. This means you will not be able to save any changes to the workbook you are loading. You can use the Save As option from the File menu in order to save the workbook using a different filename, however. Opening a workbook as read-only is self-insurance so you don't inadvertently mess up your file. To open a workbook as read-only, follow these steps:


2014-05-20 11:37:39

Miguel Costa

Hi, thanks for this solution. It works fine but I just wanted to know if there is any context action on windows that would allow you to define this as default behaviour or just to have a quick link like open as or something like this


2014-02-01 08:48:35

Barry Fitzpatrick

Whilst both of these methods work, it all to easy to accidentally open the workbook normally and then accidentally overwrite the original file with the modified version (if you have macros running these might even execute "Saves" behind the scenes).

This is especially true if it is someone else using the file.

I believe a better way is to set the properties of the file from within Windows Explorer to be "Read-only". Although this not infallible the modified file would have to be named before saving, or deliberately saved using the original files name (so overwriting the original) even then Windows complaining profusely..


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.