Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Opening a Workbook as Read-Only.

Opening a Workbook as Read-Only

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 29, 2018)

There may be times when you want to open a workbook as read-only. This means you will not be able to save any changes to the workbook you are loading. You can use the Save As option from the File menu in order to save the workbook using a different filename, however. Opening a workbook as read-only is self-insurance so you don't inadvertently mess up your file. To open a workbook as read-only, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Open dialog box. How you do this varies based on the version of Excel you are using. A good start is to press Ctrl+O and then, if necessary, click Browse (Excel 2016 and later) or Computer and then Browse (Excel 2013).
  2. Locate the workbook you want to open and then click once on the filename.
  3. Click the down-arrow at the right side of the Open button. Excel displays a list of different ways you can open the workbook.
  4. Choose Open Read-Only from the options in the drop-down list.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7929) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Opening a Workbook as Read-Only.

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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