How to Change a Read-Only File in Excel & Google Sheets

Written by

Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Laura Tsitlidze

Last updated on September 12, 2023

This tutorial demonstrates how to change a read-only file in Excel and Google Sheets.

edit read only file excel

Change a Read-Only File Without a Password

To edit a read-only file that has no password protection, once you open a file, click Edit Anyway in the yellow read-only warning.

edit read only file excel

After that, you can change the file and save all changes.

Change a Password-Protected Read-Only File

There’s an extra step when there is a password on a read-only file.

  1. When you open the file, type in the Password and click OK. If you don’t have the password, ask the person who reserved the file.

edit read only file with password

  1. Then click Edit Anyway. When you save your changes, you can also remove the password.

Tip: Think twice before editing a file that’s been marked as final.

Set Permissions in Google Sheets

Google Sheets uses permissions for changes instead of Read-Only mode. To add permissions, follow these steps:

  1. In the Menu, go to Tools > Protect sheet.

google sheets protect sheet

  1. On the right side of the window, enter a description of the setting (e.g., Read-Only file), and click Set permissions.

google sheets set permission

  1. In the next window, leave the default option (Show a warning when editing this range), and click Done. This means that every time a user tries to change the sheet, they’ll be asked to confirm whether changes should be made.
    If you choose Restrict who can edit the range instead, only specified users can change the file.

google sheets set permission 2

Now if you try to edit any cell in the sheet, you get the warning message in the picture below and have to click OK to proceed with changes.

google sheets set permission 3

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