How to Remove Read Only from Excel Files

Have you ever tried to edit an Excel file marked as ‘read only’ and found that you’re not given access to make any changes? It can be quite frustrating and disrupt your workflow, especially when you’re under time pressure and need to make quick updates. But don't worry, I’m here to help you remove the ‘read only’ protection from Excel files.

Step 1: Check for File Protection

The first thing you need to do is to check if the Excel file is password protected or if it's just marked as 'read only.' To find out, right-click on the Excel file and select ‘Properties.’ Next, check the ‘Attributes’ section to see if the ‘Read-only’ box has been checked. If the box is checked, then this file is marked as read-only, and you'll need to modify its properties to remove the protection, as outlined in the subsequent steps.

Step 2: Take Ownership of the File

If you don’t have the permission to modify the file, then you'll need to take ownership of it. Start by right-clicking on the file and select ‘Properties.’ Next, click on the ‘Security’ tab and click ‘Advanced.’ In the “Advanced Security Settings” dialog box, click on the ‘Owner’ tab and select the user that you want to give ownership to. Ensure that the box that says, “Replace owner subcontainers and objects” is selected. Click ‘OK’ to save the changes.

In case you're not sure who the current owner is, click on the ‘Edit’ button in the Properties window’s bottom left corner, and see who’s listed as the current owner. You can then follow the steps above to take ownership of the file.

Step 3: Remove the Read-Only Protection

Now that you’ve taken ownership of the file, it’s time to proceed with removing the read-only protection. Right-click on the Excel file and select ‘Properties’ once again. Then, click on the ‘General’ tab and under ‘Attributes’, deselect the box next to ‘Read-Only.’

You may encounter some trouble removing the read-only protection even after taking ownership. In such cases, you’ll need to open the file and click on ‘Save As,’ select where you want to save the new file, and rename it. This will create a new Excel file that is not protected and you’ll have full access to make changes and edit it.

Step 4: Save the File

After you've removed the read-only protection from the Excel file, it is recommended that you save it as a new file. You can do this by clicking on ‘Save As’ and renaming the file or saving it in a different location. This will ensure that you don't accidentally overwrite the original, protected file with any unwanted changes.

Final Thoughts

Removing the 'read only' protection from an Excel file can be a tedious and frustrating process, but it's a simple fix in the end. By following the steps outlined above, you can regain full access to the file and make the necessary changes freely. Remember to always back up any important files and make new copies before modifying them.

I hope this article helped you remove the 'read only' protection from your Excel files. Have you ever encountered any other issues with Excel files that you’d like me to cover? Let me know in the comments below!

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