Unwanted Read-Only Workbook Status

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 15, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Conditionally Displaying a Message Box

You can, from within your macros, easily display a message box containing a message of your choice. If you want to ...

Discover More

Removing Items from a Context Menu

Context menus appear when you right-click an item in Excel. If you want to modify the menu that appears, the way to do so ...

Discover More

Copying and Pasting without Affecting the Clipboard

Just about everyone knows the simple ways of copying and pasting using the Clipboard. What if you want to copy and paste, ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Opening Two Workbooks with the Same Name

If you have two workbooks that each have the same name, opening them at the same time in Excel could cause some problems. ...

Discover More

Limiting Who Can Delete Data

Excel allows you to protect your worksheet data in several different ways. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to protect ...

Discover More

Comparing Workbooks

Do you need to compare two workbooks to each other? While you can use specialized third-party software to do the ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.