How to Enable Editing in Excel: Making it Simple

We often get Excel workbooks that we can’t edit. This especially happens when we get workbooks that aren’t created by us. This is a pretty common scenario to be honest. We’re here to help you solve the problem and enable editing in Excel.

Generally speaking, Excel files can come in different forms and formats. These include, protected view, read only, and of course, password protected files. To unlock these barriers and enable editing in each scenario, you’ll have to follow a number of steps.

If you want to learn how to do it, well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to guide you through the thick of it. Just read on attentively.

Some Important Info Regarding Protected View

Before we start things off with the procedures, let’s cover some informative topics. These will not give you a general idea about the problem, but also help you understand the reason you can’t edit your Excel worksheet.

So, here are some bits of relevant information regarding Protected View in Excel.

  • Protected View is a special feature from Microsoft that enables some safety features of your file to keep it secure. The Protected View prompt is really common to be honest, and it’s there for a good reason.
  • The protected view is generally enabled when the source file is unknown. This prevents virus infection and unwanted file deletion.
  • This feature can be disabled in Excel. But keeping it enabled is suggested. As all you need to do to edit the file is, press the enable editing button that’s on top of the file.

Reasons You Can’t Edit an Excel Worksheet

Apart from the Protected View feature that we discussed, there are a few other reasons you might not be able to edit your Excel file. Let’s discuss:

  • Firstly, if you see the MARKED AS FINAL prompt on the top of the Excel sheet, it’s trying to tell you that it certainly is the final document. Which means, the file has been saved as Read Only. This goes to say that this file is un-editable.
  • The second issue that you might run into is, when the Excel file is locked with a password. In this case, you can’t edit the file before you disable the protection mode. If you double click on any cell to edit it, you’ll get a popup message that says:

“The cell or chart you are trying to change is on a protected sheet. To make a change, unprotect the sheet.”

The Procedures to Enable Editing in Excel

Well, we’re going to cover more than one way to do it here. So, just go through the methods that we’re about to describe step by step. Who knows, you might just find the one that best suits your problem scenario.

From Trust Center

This procedure is for those who find their Excel file to be on Read Only mode. This basically means, you need to unprotect it. This can be done straight through the program settings. To disable protected view and go on with editing the file, follow the procedures below:

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is, go to the File option on the top right corner of your Excel workbook. Then, you need to select Options.

From trust center 1

  • After that, a popup window will appear, where you’ll need to go to Trust Center Settings under Trust Center.

From trust center 2

  • There, you’ll need to uncheck the Options below: “Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet”, “Enable Protected View for files located in potentially unsafe locations”, and “Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments”. Now, just press OK.

From trust center 3

  • That’s about it, now you should easily be able to edit the Excel file.

Enable Editing in Read Only Files

This one is probably the easiest task to execute to be honest. Let’s see how it’s done:

  • All you have to do is, select Edit Anyway if there is a MARKED AS FINAL prompt above your worksheet.

Enable Editing in Read Only Files

  • Now, you should be able to make changes to the file.

Enable Editing in Password Protected Excel File

There are three types of passwords you may have to deal with here. Let’s talk about them.

  • If the file itself is locked with a password, a window will popup like the image below.


Enable Editing in Password Protected Excel File 1

Here, all you have to do is, enter the password to open and edit it. There’s no other alternative.

  • If it’s a modifying password that’s been set beforehand, then this popup should appear.

Enable Editing in Password Protected Excel File 2

Here, you have to go to the Review tab, select Unprotect Sheet under the protect group, and enter the password in the popup as shown below.

Enable Editing in Password Protected Excel File 3

  • If you don’t know the modifying password, then you might want to press Ctrl A and then, Ctrl C to copy the entire sheet and paste it into another Excel document. This will paste all the value and data there was in the document you used Ctrl C on.

And yes, it should be editable.

Enable Editing by Changing the Settings

A particular option may remain unchecked, and that may prevent you from editing the Excel sheet. Just follow the steps below to understand this procedure:

  • First, clock on the File tab, and go to options.

From trust center 1

  • Then in the advanced section, check the “Allow editing directly in cell”. Now, press, OK.

Enable Editing by Changing the Settings

  • This should allow you to edit the data in the Excel workbook.

Final Words

Now that we’re at the end of the write-up, it’ safe to say that we’ve given you all the info you need regarding how to enable editing in Excel. Each method that we discussed is appropriate for each unique situation. So, I hope you got all the answers you needed regarding the topic.

So, let’s wrap it up here. See you next time.

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