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.
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!
Renaming a workbook from within Excel can seem daunting, but it is actually quite easy. All you need to do is use the Open ...Discover More
Use a workbook for some time and you may find that it gets progressively slower to open and save. Here are some techniques ...Discover More
When you create a workbook that is read-only, users can still make changes to the workbook. When they exit, they are prompted ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.