Excel File Locked for Editing? Here’s How to Fix!

Is your Excel file locked for editing while you need to edit it? Executing these 4 methods outlined in the article will say goodbye to the headache of locked files.
Excel File Locked for Editing? Here’s How to Fix!

If you are an organization or an individual professional, you might be using the Excel workbook to collaborate with clients or keep track of your data. Moreover, if your file is shared, you might have encountered an array of errors, with ‘Excel file locked for editing by another user’ being the most common.

You often run into a frustrating situation when you cannot edit your .xlsx file while working but worry not. This article will guide you on resolving the “Excel locked for editing by me” issue and will provide tips to avoid it in the future.

Part 1. Why Is the Excel File Locked for Editing?

Working on shared Excel workbooks or even a single file is bound to show errors a few times. With that, when you look out for the reasons, you often find a list of them, and that too in a very complex manner. So we have listed some of the reasons below to help you quickly understand the issue.

  • Multiple Users: It might be possible that some other user is working on the same Excel file that you want to open. Excel only allows one user to edit the file at a single time. You might have to edit until the other user has finished working on the file.
  • Read-Only Mode: If you or another user have marked the Excel file as read-only mode, you cannot make any changes. The way out is to save the copy of the Excel file with a different name and then make any changes.
  • Password-Protected File: Your Excel file might be password protected, and until you know the password, you won’t be able to make any changes to it. If you have urgent data to edit, request the admin password and edit the file to make the required changes.
  • File Marked as Final: When the Excel file is completed and ready for distribution, the users often mark it as final. In case you want to edit the file, you will need to save it with a different file name. However, this is a good way to avoid accidental changes to the final draft or finalized file.
  • Excel File is Corrupted: If the file is corrupted, it will be automatically locked so the user won’t cause further damage. In that case, the user must recover the damaged file before editing it.
  • Unauthorized File Location: Sometimes, your IT administrator saves the Excel files on different network locations, such as a network drive you don’t have permission to access. You should ask your IT department to grant you access to edit that file.

Part 2. How to Fix Excel File is Locked for Editing

Various methods exist to fix the Excel file locked for editing by me issue. Users often need clarification and mix up the methods, which as a result, corrupts their files more. So, considering that we have listed a few of the methods below to help you unlock the Excel file within minutes.

Fix 1: Force Quit All the Instances of Excel

Excel file currently in use error is also the most common problem that they face daily. In this case, terminating your PC from all the opened Excel files is the most suitable option. If you face such an issue, follow the steps below to resolve it:

Step 1: If you are currently working on a file, try to save it on your device and then close all the opened programs. Next, press the “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” keys on your keyboard to open a security options screen. Proceed with the “Task Manager” option and select the “More Details” option to expand the Task Manager.

tap on more details option on task manager

Step 2: Select the complete Microsoft Excel process to select all the instances of Excel and press the “End Task” button. If you receive a program not responding or locked for editing by another user option, click “End Now” to terminate the file.

press the end task button on task manager to force quict excel

Fix 2: Disconnect Other Users from the Current Excel File

This method helps you to disconnect all the other users using the same Excel file to allow you complete accessibility. Once accessible, you can easily make changes to the file without facing any further errors. Follow the steps to implement this method:

Step 1: Note down the path and the Excel file name wherever it is saved. Next, press the “Windows Key + R” from your keyboard, and you will see the “Run” dialogue box will open. In the dialogue box, type “mmc” and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.

run the mmc command

Step 2: You will notice that the “Console 1 – [Console Root]” window opens. Next, on the top-left corner of the window, click “File” to open a drop-down menu. Select “Add or Remove Snap-ins” from the menu list, or press “Ctrl + M” from your keyboard.

choose add remove snap-in option in console 1 window

Step 3: Under the available snap-ins section, scroll down the list, click on “Shared Folders,” and select the “Add >” button. This will open a new “Shared Folders” dialogue box on your screen for further edits.

press the add button to add shared folders to selected snap-ins

Step 4: Following this, under the “This snap-in will always manage” section, select the “Local Computer” option if you are logged on to the same server where the Excel file is present, or select “Another Computer” if you are logged on to a different system and type the server where the Excel file is present. Also, under the “View” section, select the “Open Files” option and click on “Finish.”

adjust the shared folder settings

Step 5: In the “Selected snap-ins” section, click “Open Files” and click “OK” at the bottom-right of the window. Next, in the top-left section on the Console 1 Window, click “Open Files” to expand it. Look at the entire list and search for the Excel file you want to disconnect. Then, right-click the desired file and click “Close Open File” from the list menu.

click on the ok button

Fix 3: Co-Authoring Supported Excel Version or Not

To fix the Excel file locked for editing issues and allow multiple users to access the same file simultaneously, ensure that all users use the co-authoring supported Excel version. With this, more than one user can use the same file at any time of the day. Moreover, users will track down the changes made by other users within seconds.

Below is the list of the co-authoring supported versions for Excel. Make sure that you and the shared users are using the same version.

  • Excel for Android
  • Excel for iOS
  • Excel Mobile
  • Excel for Microsoft 365
  • Excel for the Web

Even if a single user from multiple user groups is using an outdated Excel version that does support this co-authoring feature, it is most likely to encounter the “locked for editing by another user” error. However, the best way to avoid this issue is by encouraging every single user to use Excel online.

Fix 4: Remove Unsupported Problems

Several features within the Excel workbook often affect the operation, making editing or opening the file difficult. Disabling those features might help you to resolve the Excel locked for editing by myself issue.

Problem 1: Excel File Encryption

If your files are password protected, we advise you to remove the passwords to make them accessible for everyone to use and edit it. Follow the steps below to remove the password from your Excel file:

Step 1: Open the Microsoft Excel file that is password protected. Next, select the “File” tab at the top-left corner of your screen. Choose the “Info” option from the list in the left-side panel.

tap on the file tab on Excel

Step 2: Now, click on the “Protect Workbook,” and it will open the drop-down list. Next, select the “Encrypt with Password” option, and it opens an “Encrypt Document” dialogue box. Type nothing, leave the box blank, and click “OK” to successfully remove the password.

choose to encrypt with password option on Excel

Problem 2: Remove Corrupted Add-Ins

A few add-ins also affect the Excel files, and it is necessary to remove them to avoid any hassle. Check the steps below and remove the add-ins from your Microsoft Excel:

Step 1: Open the Excel file causing the problem or showing the error. Choose the “File” tab at the top-left corner. Next, from the left-side panel, click on “More” and choose “Options” to open the “Excel Options” window.

Tap on option on excel

Step 2: Following this, select the “Add-ins” option from the menu list. Afterward, from the bottom of the window, select “COM Add-ins” next to the “Manage” section and click “GO” to open the “COM Add-ins” window.

press the go button to manage COM Add-ins

Step 3: Under the “Add-ins Available” section, uncheck all the boxes, click “Remove,” and restart your Excel file to apply the changes.

remove the add-ins

Part 3. How to Avoid Excel Locked for Editing

The Excel locked for editing is a very stressful error, and you often have to wait a very long interval until you get back access or start editing the files again. However, you can take some of the below-mentioned preventive measures to avoid this error and edit the file hassle-freely:

  • Always Save Your File: After the work is done, save your file with a new name and in a different location. The new file copy will be editable, and you can easily manage it whenever you want.
  • Close Down the File: The best way to avoid the locked editing error is to close the file after making some changes. This will make it easy for the other user to manage the changes and not have to wait any longer.
  • Share Your Excel File: Always remember to grant proper access to fellow users. If they can edit the file you are currently using, they won’t face any errors. With the “Share Workbook” feature, every user will be able to work on the same file at the same time.
  • Check the Properties: Sometimes, the read-only mode makes the file unable to edit for many users. Check your Excel file properties and ensure the read-only mode box is unchecked.
  • Save Your Files on Cloud Storage: Always save your Excel file on cloud-based storage like Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. This will enable multiple users to access and edit the file simultaneously without facing an Excel file locked for editing error.
  • Use a Collaboration Tool: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Asana assist you in collaborating with other members on the same Excel file. These tools offer real-time features that allow all the users to work on the same file at the same time.

Part 4. How to Fix Excel File is Locked for Editing with a Password

The steps mentioned above are all tried and tested, but still, for some users, it might be difficult due to the lack of Excel knowledge. In the other case scenario, you may avoid the hassle of trying each method separately and use an all-in-one tool solution to cater to all the Excel workbook-related errors.

Wondering about what tool can resolve your issues in a snap? It’s none other than PassFab for Excel. This tool lets you remove and recover Excel passwords without investing much of your time. Moreover, it makes editing the document to make necessary changes very easy. Continuing this, let’s find out about the key features of this tool and get to know why it is the preferred choice.

Notable Features You Must Know About PassFab for Excel

  • Run the Dictionary Attack: If you remember some passwords for your Excel file but can’t figure out the correct one, this feature will help you. It will get your password back from the old ones or recover it from the built-in dictionary.
  • Brute Force with Mask Attack: If you remember any clues regarding your password, such as characters, length, specific prefixes, or suffixes, this feature can help you effectively. You can set up the best combination with this feature, and it will help you recover the password smartly and quickly.
  • Brute Force Attack: It is your best option when you need help remembering your password and have zero clue. This will auto-recover your lost password within minutes with a 100% granted recovery success rate.
  • 10x Faster and Advanced Algorithm: Even complex passwords are recovered due to new and powerful built-in technology that uses advanced search algorithms. It instantly bypasses the passwords and unprotects Excel by removing the password.

Simple Steps to Remove Password Restriction from Excel

You must be familiar with the steps to remove the encrypted password from the Excel workbook file. We have listed the steps simply and easily to help you out efficiently.

Step 1: Download and Launch the Software

>> Get PassFab for Excel <<

Download PassFab for Excel on your device. Once downloaded, install it on your device and double-click on the software to open it. Next, select “Remove Excel Restriction Password” to open the next window.

choose remove excel restriction password option

Step 2: Import the Excel File and Remove the Password

Next, click on the “+” icon in the center of the screen with “Please Import the Excel File” written under it. Following this, tap the “Remove” button to start the password removal process and wait a few seconds.

import the excel file

Step 3: Open the Folder to See the Unprotected File

Next, you will see an “Open Folder” option on the screen. Click it, and you will find a new file with a new name. In addition, it is the same file but without any password restriction.

press the open folder button

Part 5. Frequently Asked Questions About Excel File Locked for Editing

What should I do if my Excel file is not shared but won’t open?

If you are sure that your Excel file is not shared or edited by another user, then it’s possible that instances of the Office app, along with the opened file, are already executing in the background.

Why does the Excel file say locked for editing by the wrong user?

If you come across an error message on Excel indicating that an incorrect user locks the file, it could be due to a damaged Excel temporary file, commonly referred to as the “owner file.”

Why is my document locked for editing by me?

If you are editing a worksheet in Microsoft Excel and it crashes, it will leave temporary files that can make it appear as though you are still working on the worksheet. Consequently, when you attempt to reopen the worksheet, you will receive an error message indicating that you have already locked it for editing.


Trying to figure out the Excel file locked for editing issues can be hefty and time-consuming, and it also slows down your work and affects the team if you are working in a company. The fixes mentioned in this article will allow you to resolve the issue without professional assistance, and you can continue working smoothly.

Moreover, if you still encounter issues after trying the steps above, PassFab for Excel has your back. This tool is user-friendly and very simple to use, as you won’t need any skills to use it.

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