How to make Excel File Read Only

Excel is a software program developed by Microsoft that makes use of spreadsheets to organize data with formulas and functions. A spreadsheet is made up of rows and columns and this helps in arranging, organizing, and formatting data as well as carrying out numerical calculations. It is capable of carrying out calculations using data in cells and mathematical formulas. Making a file read-only in excel means that the file can only be read or copied, but cannot be modified in any way by the users. If the document is to be modified, changes are made by naming it otherwise or saving it in a different location. There are three ways by which a file can be made file read-only in Excel 2016 version.

By Marking as Final

1. Open excel application on your computer

2. Select a blank workbook

3. Input data into the cells as well as the formulas that your data will utilize in calculations.

4. Save your file – press either file and choose to save or ctrl + s and choose a location of where you want it to be saved.

5. Click on files once more.

6. Click open and choose your file.

7. Once opened, click info.

8. Select the first option, Protect a workbook.

9. Click in the box and choose Mark as final.

10. The document will be auto-saved and its title marked with read-only and one yellow message on the top to discourage others from editing.

With Sheet Protection

1. Open the spreadsheet.

2. Select the review tab.

3. Select Protect sheet.

4. A protects sheet dialog will pop up, keep the checkbox next to Protect worksheet and contents of locked cells checked, you can also choose what actions the users of this spreadsheet can do, type a password used to unprotect the spreadsheet, and then click OK.

5. Re-enter the password and confirm.

6. Finally, press Ctrl + S to save the spreadsheet. You've successfully made it read-only. Anyone who wants to make changes to it firstly needs to unprotect the Excel spreadsheet with the correct password.

By adding a passwords

1. Open the Excel spreadsheet.

2. Click File – Save As, and choose one folder where you will save this spreadsheet.

3. In the Save As dialog, click the Tools button and then select General Options.

4. After the General Options dialog pops up, enter a password in the box next to Password to modify and click OK. Then reenter the password and click OK to confirm.

5. When you are back to the Save As dialog, click Save to save this spreadsheet.

6. If you don't tell others the password to modify. They will only open this Excel spreadsheet in a read-only state. If they make changes, changes won't be saved. To keep changes, they have to save this spreadsheet with a new name or in a different location.


Making a file in excel read-only has myriad advantages. It prevents files from being changed by anybody when you are connected to a public network. It also gives privileges to administrators only in the organization to make changes in vital files.