4 Ways to Remove Read Only from Excel When You Don’t Know the Password

author_icon Ronnie Barnes time_icon Last updated: Jun 10, 2019 11:43 am tips_icon Excel

It is one of the best security features you'll find on Excel. That's because it allows you to prevent someone without authorization from editing the document. Once you have finished editing the workbook, you can place read-only restrictions on it and anyone you share it with will be able to read it, but they will not be able to edit the document in any way.

In this way, read-only mode in Excel allows you to share a document when all you want is feedback on it. The person you are sharing it with will be open to give you their thoughts on the content and you can make the changes where you deem necessary. But at the same time, read-only can be a hindrance when you really need to make changes to the document. Perhaps a friend or colleague shared the read-only workbook with you and neglected to share with you how to remove this restriction.

Whatever the reason, you find yourself with a restricted Excel workbook; the following article will show you how to remove read-only from Excel in various ways.

1. Excel is Made Read-Only by "Mark as Final"

One of the reasons why the Excel document you have may be read-only is because it has been marked as final by the editor. If this is the case, you should see a message on top of the document saying "MARKED AS FINAL".

When a document is marked as final, it will essentially be impossible to make any changes to it. You can't type, edit or even proof the document in this state. But it is also easy to remove. Simply click on the "Edit Anyway" button at the end of the message and you'll be able to edit it.

edit anyway

2. Excel File Becomes Read-Only Recommended by "Save As"

Another situation to know that an Excel document is in read-only mode is that you will be prompted to open the document in read-only mode unless you need to make changes to it. If you don't want to make changes to the document, simply click "Yes". And if you would like to edit the document, simply click "No" to open it.

If you want to unlock excel file from read only, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: When you first open the Excel document and you get the message offering you three options to open the read-only document, simply click on "Yes" to open the file in read-only mode.

open read only excel

Step 2: If you make any changes to the content on the document and attempt to save the changes, a new message will appear prompting you to save a copy of the file and rename it. Click on "OK" to open the "Save A" dialogue and then click on "Tools > General Options".

general options excel

Step 3: In the "General Options" dialogue box that appears, uncheck "Read-Only recommended" and then click "OK".

read only recommended

Step 4: Back on the "Save As" dialogue, click on "Save". This will make a copy of the original excel file. The copied file will not be read-only and you may then continue to edit it as you wish.

This will remove the read-only restriction from the Excel document.

3. Excel Worksheet and Workbook Structure is Locked and Read Only

If the Excel file is in Read-Only mode because the worksheet or workbook structure is locked, you may be able to remove read-only restriction from Excel if you know the password. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Open the protected Excel file, so you can view all the worksheets and content on it.

Step 2: Click on "Review" in the main menu and then select "Unprotect Sheet" under "Changes". Enter the password to complete the process.

unprotect sheet

Step 3: If it is the workbook structure that is protected, click on "Unprotect Workbook" and then enter the password to remove the restriction.

unprotect workbook

Save the document and the read-only restriction will be removed.

4. Remove Read Only from Excel with Recoverable Password

So what if you have a restricted Excel document that you would like to edit but you don't know the password? In this case, one of the best ways to make the document editable is to recover the password and one of the best ways to recover the password is to use a password recovery tool like Passper for Excel. Passper for Excel is a tool that allows you to recover the opening password on any Excel document or remove edit protection to unlock the restricted document. It is therefore a very handy tool to have when you can't open or edit a password protected document. The following are just some of its features;

Passper for Excel: Remove Read Only from Excel in 2 Seconds:

  • Recover Passwords & Remove Restrictions: It recovers the password on any Excel document and removes restrictions (like Read-Only) without affecting the data on the document.

  • All Situations Covered: It can help you unlock an Excel file if you've forgotten the password or you can't copy, edit or print the content on the workbook.

  • 4 Recovery Methods: Passper for Excel utilizes four different attack modes to recover the opening password which makes it one of the most effective tools for this task.

  • Highest Recovery Rate: More recovery methods and advanced algorithm guarantee the recovery rate of nearly 100%.

  • Easy to Use: It is also very easy to use. With it, you can recover the opening password in a few simple steps and remove restrictions in a single click.

Free Download For Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP

How to Unlock Excel File from Read-Only

Here's how to use Passper for Excel to remove read-only restrictions from an Excel document:

Step 1: Download and install Passper for Excel on to your computer and then open it. On the main windows, select "Remove Restrictions".

remove restrictions step1

Step 2: Click on "Add" to import the restricted document into Passper.

remove restrictions step2

Step 3: Once the document has been successfully added onto the program, click on "Remove" and any restrictions on the document will be successfully lifted.

remove restrictions step3

How to Recover Opening Password from Excel

If on the other hand you are unable to open the Excel document because there is an opening password on it, Passper for Excel can help you recover the opening password you need. Here's how to do it:

Free Download For Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP

Step 1: Launch Passper for Excel on your computer and then select "Recover Passwords". Click "Add" to browse your computer for the password protected file to add to the program.

recover password step1

Step 2: Once the file is added in Passper, the next step is to select the attack mode that helps you unlock the document. Each of the attack modes has its own strengths and weaknesses and the one you choose will depend on how much information you have on the password. For example, you can choose the Dictionary Mode or "Brute Force Attack" mode if you don't know anything about the password.

choose attack type excel

With the attack mode selected, the program will begin recovering the password for the Excel file uploaded. This process may take some time depending on the strength of the password and the attack mode you selected.

Step 3: When the process is complete, the password will be displayed on the next window. You can use it to unlock the Excel document.

recover password step3


The above are the best 5 ways to remove read only from excel. Keep in mind that there may be several reasons why you are unable to access the Excel document although one of the most common is when the document is "marked as final". Passper for Excel allows you to easily access the document regardless of the restrictions placed on it including a document that is password protected.


By Ronnie Barnes to Excel

Posted on Jun 10, 2019 ( Updated: Jun 10, 2019 )

Ronnie Barnes, a blogger with more than 5-year experience in writing tips about password recovery for Windows and office files.