Unwanted Read-Only Workbook Status

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 19, 2013)

Marlene has a workbook that is on a USB memory stick. It is used to track fitness data, such as measurements, weight loss, and so on. It is on the memory stick so she can take it with her to various workout locations. The problem is that Marlene recently tried to open the workbook, and Excel reports that the file is "read-only," even when she did nothing to the file to cause the change. Checking the file's properties in Windows revealed that it is not set as read-only, but Marlene doesn't know how to make the workbook, once again, usable.

The root of this problem is that when the workbook was opened a few weeks ago, Excel was exited after removing the memory stick from the computer. This caused the file to be left in a read-only state because Excel didn't have a chance to do its normal "shutdown" on the file.

There is no way around this problem. The solution is to open the file as read-only and then save the workbook with a new name. You can then delete the original workbook, and the new workbook can be used successfully. In the future you'll want to make sure to give Excel ample time to shut down the workbook before removing the memory stick from the drive.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2898) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...


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