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: Closing a Read-Only Workbook.

Closing a Read-Only Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 9, 2016)


Gary has a read-only workbook that multiple users can access. They can modify cells but not save their work. On exiting the workbook, Gary wants Excel to just close without informing the user that it is read-only and giving them the option of saving a copy.

This is best accomplished by using a macro to modify the Saved flag in the workbook, just before closing. This flag indicates, internally, whether a workbook needs saving or not. If the flag is False, then Excel knows that the workbook has not been saved (changes have been made without saving). If your macro sets the flag to True, then Excel will close directly because it thinks that all the changes have been saved.

Here's what the macro should look like, at its simplest:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeClose(Cancel As Boolean)
  If ThisWorkbook.ReadOnly Then
    ThisWorkbook.Saved = True
  End If
End Sub

The macro should be added to the ThisWorkbook object in the VBA Editor. That way, it is automatically executed just before the workbook is closed. The flag is set to True, and when the macro ends, Excel continues with its normal closing procedures. Since Excel thinks that there are no unsaved changes, the user sees no message and the workbook is closed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3153) 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: Closing a Read-Only Workbook.

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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What is four less than 8?

2016-04-09 06:28:30

John Randall


It seems to me that if the other user(s) save the workbook with a new name before exiting, then the intent of this macro would be nullified. Is that right ?

If yes, then is there a way to prevent a workbook from being saved by the user ? And, if so, can that be bypassed by using the authors username (hardcoded of course) to override the "DO NOT SAVE" mechanism - if it exists ?

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