How to save Excel as a Read-only

We activate the Read-only feature in a workbook when we do not want any sensitive information modified by other end-users. The feature protects your whole workbook from being edited or updated without your permission. Most excel users are aware of the methods to follow when applying this option. If you are not well informed about the steps to take, do not worry. I will explain the steps to take when saving your Excel file as read-only in the article below. I will also explain to you how to disable this option from an excel file.

Let's get started.

Steps on how to make a file read-only by the 'Save As' option

1. Open your Microsoft Excel workbook.

2. Click on the File tab and select the Save AS option from the menu. Click on the option to display a dialog box.

3. Navigate to the bottom of the box and find the Tools option. The option is next to the Save button.

4. Click on the Tools dropdown arrow and select General Options.

5. A 'General Options' dialog box opens up. Here you will create a password for your workbook. Under the 'Password to modify' field, type in your desired password.

6. Check the 'Read-Only recommended' checkbox as shown below.

7. Click OK.

8. You will be prompted to re-confirm your password. Enter the same password, and then click OK to close the pop-up window.

9. On the Save As window, click the Save button. Your workbook will be saved as a Read-Only file, and every time a user attempts to open the workbook, they will get a pop-up notification box with the following message.

A user who clicks the 'Read-only' button will access the Excel workbook but in Read-Only mode alone. Only users who have the password can type it in and be able to modify the workbook.

Setting Excel Workbook Read Only by 'Mark as Final'

Although this method can set an Excel workbook as Read-only, it cannot prevent end-users from editing it. Steps to be followed are;

1. In your open workbook, navigate to the File tab.

2. Click on the File menu, select Info.

3. Click on the option 'Protect Workbook' and select Mark as Final from the several options given to protect your workbook.

4. Click OK on the Microsoft Excel dialog box stating, 'This workbook will be marked as final and then saved.'

Protect Workbook structure to prevent unwanted changes

Please use this option if you want to avoid unwanted changes to the design of your workbook. Here is what to do;

1. Click on the File menu of your open workbook.

2. Select Info and click on Protect Workbook Structure option to display a dialog box

3. Please check the "Structure" and "Windows" boxes in the Protect Structure and Windows dialog box to protect your workbook structure and window.

4. You can decide to set a password or not. Click OK when done.

Apart from all these methods, users can save their file as Read-Only by opting to save it as a PDF file.

Note that;

When you want to remove the Read-Only option from your workbook, you can follow all the steps mentioned above in the different methods and deselect the protection options.


Setting passwords in excel worksheets is a straightforward and easy process. Passwords do not only protect your workbook from unauthorized editing. But they ensure the integrity of your data is maintained. From the outlined steps above, I believe you are now able to activate the Read-Only option and protect your workbook.