Strange Message about Others Making Changes in a Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 3, 2021)

Sharon is the only one with access to the workbooks that she creates, yet sometimes when she goes to save her work she gets a message that someone else has made changes to the workbook and that she needs to rename it.

This type of message is most likely to come up if your workbooks are stored on a network drive. With networks, there are often all sorts of operations going on in the background over which you have no control. Your files could be getting backed up, virus checkers chould be examining them, network connections could be dropped and established again, software could be "touching" (updating) the file's time and date, or any number of other things.

While such actions are understandable, they could be confusing Excel when it comes to the workbook you have open. This is particularly true if the workbook file's time or date is updated while you are working on it. When Excel goes to save the workbook, it notices that the date and time have changed and then tells you that someone else made changes.

If your computer is not connected to a network and the workbooks, therefore, are on your local hard drive, the cause for the problem is even more perplexing. It is possible that some sort of background program has made a change to the file that Excel interprets as another user's action. For instance, you may have a third-party backup program that backed up the workbook while you had it open, yet somehow still modified a file attribute or two. If Excel notes this, then it may assume that someone else changed the file.

It is also possible that the workbook on which you are working was improperly closed the last time you had it open (not this time), and that Excel may be confused by that.

It is also possible that date and time changes on your system could be confusing Excel. I've had this happen when traveling between time zones. Let's say, for instance, that I'm in the Mountain time zone and save a file at 2:15 pm. I then immediately take a relatively quick trip to the Pacific time zone and my system recognizes that I'm in a new location. Windows helpfully updates the time on my system, and I open the workbook at 2:05 pm in the new location.

If I go to save the file, Excel will see that there is a copy from 2:15 pm, which is later than my current time. (Excel isn't smart enough to know that 50 minutes has actually transpired.) It assumes that someone else made changes, and won't let me save mine.

As you can tell, there could be any number of causes for the problem. Regardless, the only thing you can do is to save the file under another name, delete the original, and then rename the new workbook with the filename you want used.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13393) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Selecting Default Paragraph Formatting

Want to return a paragraph's formatting back to its pristine, unaltered state? You can do so by using the shortcut ...

Discover More

Hiding Grammar Errors

Are you bothered by the green underlines that Word uses to mark potential grammar errors in your document? You can hide ...

Discover More

Store Common Macros in the Personal Macro Workbook

Want your macros to be available regardless of the workbook on which you are working? Here's how to store them in the ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Seeing a Worksheet Thumbnail in Windows

When you save a workbook, you have the opportunity to save a thumbnail image that can be displayed within Windows. Here's ...

Discover More

Making Ribbon Customizations Apply to All Workbooks

Excel allows you to easily make changes to the ribbon, as well as to the Quick Access Toolbar, which is near the ribbon. ...

Discover More

Problems with Default Workbook and Worksheet Templates

You can create a default template for both your workbooks and worksheets. These should be placed in the XLSTART folder, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.