Locked for editing by another user

Locked for editing by another user- How to stop this

A common use of spreadsheets is to share information and in some cases have multiple users capturing on the same spreadsheet. The common problem with this is that if the spreadsheet is opened by one user, other users can only gain read only access (you receive the dreaded message ‘locked for editing by another user’). In most cases there are only a few people who need to capture but more that need to read it.

Below are two ways to ensure that users who only need to ‘read’ the spreadsheet don’t affect users who need to make changes.

In both cases we need to tell the spreadsheet that there is a preference that the spreadsheet is opened as read only. When you are saving the spreadsheet you need to chose the Tools button and then General Options.


The next box contains both the options you can use.

locked-for-editing-by-another-userThe first thing you should try is the Read Only recommended at the bottom. If you click OK and close the spreadsheet, the next time you open you will be asked whether it should open as Read Only or whether you want to modify it. If you choose Read Only the spreadsheet will open normally. The benefit is that if another user needs to open it to make changes, they can and won’t be locked out. This method however relies on people choosing the right option.

Another way is to set up a password to modify (you can create a password to open but this is not a requirement). In this case anyone can open the spreadsheet (and it automatically opens as Read only) but people who need to make changes need to know and use the password.

Shared workbooks are another option but will be covered in another article