How to Fix Excel cannot access read-only Document

Jun 08, 2020 • Filed to: Recover & Repair Files • Proven solutions


Owing to marvelous practicality MS Excel has become an indispensable part of all businesses, big or small. It is part of famous MS Office. Due to data storage and competence to quickly present manipulations, results in either of list or line graphs or tables based on given criteria, MS Excel have been inducted in scientific, engineering, statistical and all financial workplaces. Excel files are the raw data containers which provide input to macro programming facility using Visual Basic for Applications.

Excel spreadsheets are more or less like paper ledgers where all data items can be named and their values in a specific location, called cells (which have a definite address in terms of the row number and column number) can be presented and are utilized in performing quick mathematical operations.

Many spreadsheets can be generated and linked to each other in what is called a workbook. The beauty of MS Excel files is that one can analyze the overall impact by varying even a single value in a cell.

Part 1: Overview of Excel file Error

Here is about this specific Excel error message ““cannot access Excel read-only file””. This error message often appears when the user tries to save an already open Excel file. If the file already bear a tag with ‘read-only’ box checked then any editing of course is not permitted and on trying to save with any amendment will display ““cannot access Excel read-only file””, which is certainly justified but if this message is displayed for a file not marked ‘read only’ then the possible cause is interruption in saving process of Excel.


1. When a user creates an Excel file first time or opens an existing file to edit, on saving either of these the system will give “cannot access Excel read-only file” IF the user is trying to save the file to some external drive, for example a network drive. An interruption such as network connection drop, obviously will not be able to access the network drive and hence the error message. Also the user may not have enough Privileges to save a file / save on that disk. This position will not save file and the error message ““cannot access Excel read-only file”<file-name>” will be displayed.

2. Accidentally it may also happen that the target disk (or floppy diskette, although it is obsolete now) is meanwhile removed by chance or the disk/disk drive has got in the technical (hardware) problem. Thus system’s attempt to save the file will ask Excel to initiate this error message display.

It may be noted that in similar situations sometimes the error messages are a bit different but the cause is similar to what has stated above. For example error messages may be like:


The last two error messages (above) are alarming as the user may land in trouble for the data and all work was done may be at risk. The file may get damaged or partially lost data which amounts to corrupted Excel file. Therefore proceeding as such and opening or using these Excel file may further corrupt the workbook. Hence the error message must be viewed with concern.


1. First of the network connection must be checked in the case file is attempted to be saved on a network drive.

2. The user should know privileges, or one should consult administrator to obtain enough privileges to get rid of prevailing situation that may harm file also.

3. Save the file to some other drive.

Part 2: How to Fix Error cannot access read-only document in Excel

In the case of MS Excel file got damaged due to one reason or the other, never rule out the possibility to recover the full data file as such i.e. repaired as well. MS Exec automatically and immediately do attempt to recover and run Excel mostly but if it fails, as it can happen, the user may try to recover manually. This may be pretty cumbersome with chances to recovery but does not guarantee a complete, comprehensive, and full recovery to meet user’s all needs. The user therefore must be equipped with most suitable powerful software that may address all repair and recovery issues. One such Excel repair tool that is widely used is “Stellar Excel repair tool” available on the net.

1. Free Download the Best MS Excel Repair Tool

Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair tool integrates advanced algorithms for recovery performing thorough scanning on XLS and XLSX corrupted files. The tool repairs corrupt file(s) as it can work on a batch of files as well. Then it can save repaired file on defined hard drive. Another important assistance is that original files continue as it is after recovery.

Microsoft Excel Repair Tool
  • Recovers all kind of data stored in damaged excel file such as tables, charts, formulas, comments, images, etc.
  • Restore all of your corrupted excel files to their original standing.
  • Preview the repaired excel file in real-time,see how much of the file has been recovered as it is being repaired.
  • All kind of MS office corruption errors (for XLS and XLSX files only) can be handled with this tool.
  • This excel file repair tool can be used on both windows and Mac platforms in order to repair corrupt excel file.
  • All kind of MS office corruption errors (for XLS and XLSX files only) can be handled with this tool.
  • This excel file repair tool can repair damaged files of all versions from 2000 to 2016 that includes 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, etc.

2. How to Fix Error cannot access read-only document in Excel

Step 1 Searching your corrupt Excel file in your local drive.

fix excel file error step 1

Step 2 Chooes multiple Excel file satart to repairing process.

fix excel file error step 2

Step 3 You can preview the repaired Excel file after sanning.

fix excel file error step 3

Step 4 Save the repaired Excel file to a new location.

fix excel file error step 4

Some useful tips:

In general Stellar Phoenix Utility for Excel file repair if best software that can resolve even ‘Excel found unreadable content in <Filename.xls>’ error. It prevents Excel file from corruption.

The software is not much interactive though but it is menu driven and any user can benefit from its power to recover lost data in any excel file without much technical know-how. Microsoft’s own built-in recovery methods in MS Office are not workable in all situations and that all properties of Excel file may not be recoverable by any other method or software except this excellent Tool which can easily clear ‘cannot access Excel read-only file’ as well. By the way, if you need to repair other MS office files, Stellar File Repair's also workable.

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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