Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2016 4:17 AM by gruone
Dan VanDeRiet Level 1 (115 points)

I've been working on a large Excel file (Office 2008) on my MacBook (core 2 duo/Snow Leopard) and recently got an iMac with Lion. I transferred everything from the MacBook to the iMac via Time Machine. Now when I open the file on the iMac it comes up as "Read Only".


I've checked the permissions and it was still "read/write" for me; I tried giving "read/write" to everyone and it still opens as "Read Only".


Any thoughts?

  • Level 1 (10 points)

    Hi, I believe if you save the file to a different name (only a 1-letter change will do this) you should be able to use normally.

  • Dan VanDeRiet Level 1 (115 points)

    Ding, ding,ding,ding,ding--we have a winner. Thanks for the tip


    Bonus points if you can tell me why this problem cropped up.



  • ArizonaLoco Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having a very similar problem.  Running Lion 10.7.2 and every Excel file I open will open as Read-Only.  It will let me save by changing the name, but it won't let me save and replace.  When I open the new file name it also opens as Read-Only.  This is sending me a clear message, learn how to use Numbers much better.

  • JH117 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem.


    To fix it go into the "General" system preferences pane and uncheck "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps".


    Unfortunately I don't think this fixes files which have already been affected by the "Read only" problem - they contnue to open as read only -  but any files you haven't opened recently and any newly saved files seem OK.

  • JH117 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry guys - posted the wrong solution.


    The problem with files opening "Read Only" is caused by using a filename that would be invalid in Windows. My file had a "/" in the name and would only open read only. If I remove the "/" evereything is OK.


    Unfortunately the test I did after trying the "restore windows ..." fix led me to the wrong conclusion - sorry for that.


    Anyhow, remove those "Windows illegal" characters from your filename and I think all will be well.

  • SofiaA Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem and as soon as I removed the  / from the file name all my "read only" problems were solved.

  • Adalom Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks so much JH117. That problem has been driving me crazy. Finally resolved.

  • GraeneyMac Level 1 (0 points)



         Thank you very much JH117 for the above solution to the problem as outlined on the original post. You have really got me out of a spot. Could somebody now please help with the following related issue?

         When I save the document, however, the XLSX icon is in landscape orientation with the word NAME in bold red capitals at the centre whereas the original was in portrait with a green band along the top containing the Excel logo and at bottom left was a ptotruding cartouche containing XLSX in green capitals. Is this a cause for concern? I noticed that when I drag the 'new style' icon off the desktop to put it into a file, it reverts temporarily to the original style with a green plus sign, but when I unclick, it returns to landscape.





  • Matthew Goeckner Level 1 (15 points)

    While the above answer MIGHT be one problem - the solution is related to the computer name.  In moving the data to my new machine, the OS created a new name for the new machine.  The old computer had my last name "goeckner" ... and the new one was my last name with (2)... "goeckner (2)"  As soon as I changed the computer name to match the old name, the files all openned as they should. 


    I THINK that MS office is looking at the computer name - and deciding that it should be read only because the file is not on the "correct" computer.  This has advantages if one wants to share/jointly edit files. (Likely what MS wants you to able to do.) Here it does not work correctly.





    For the record the computer name is done so that the IT people know who is sitting on our network....  If it were left up to me, I might call it "flaming death star".

  • MikeBurns Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same issue after I got a new laptop with 10.8.  I believe this is caused by having the restore windows options selected and having a new computer with a new hostname.  I was able to navigate to the directory and remove the file starting with ~.  This resolved the document from opening in read-only all the time

  • Frances54 Level 1 (0 points)

    JH117, you should specify that users need to go to Apple>Preferences to make that change. I spent 30 minutes trying to find the setting in the Excel Preferences!


    I am working on a Mac Pro using Lion OSX. I have an Excel file that I created and saved to my harddrive over a year ago. I add infor to this spreadsheed occasionally. Today I opened it, made changes, then tried to save it only to get a message telling me it was Read Only. Now, it has never been Read Only, and when I checked Get Info the file is categorized as Read and Write.


    I finally saved the file by adding another charcter to the file name and deleting the original.


    I still want to know WHY this has happened without any alteration on my part.

  • BBJ_Tim Level 1 (0 points)

    Removing "/" from filename fixed it for me too.

  • relativitydrive Level 1 (0 points)



    I had the same issue today and a non-read-only file is copied and worked on.  When I changed the name it then went to read-only.


    The solution for me was to create the copy then rename it only a few charachters at a time i.e. first rename read "No.1" then the second was "No.1 WE 16" and so forth until I got the name I wanted and at each change I opened the file to check the status (that appears in excel at the top with the file name).


    Not a good solution but it worked.


    Good luck.

  • cthammer Level 1 (10 points)

    I had the same issue with a file that I opened from an attachment in Outlook. When I moved it to my desktop, I was able to save correctly.

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