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Instant Solutions to Fix Word/Excel Is Locked for Editing

When you open a Word or Excel file, you may receive a message like “File is locked for editing”. In a situation like this, you can not edit the content. Take easy. In this article, we will provide some ways to fix Word/Excel is locked for editing.

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Table of Contents

Does this error happen when you edit your word or excel files?

file is locked for editing

It is frustrating and annoying that you can not edit your .doc or .xlsx files in the middle of work. Don't worry. This problem is easy to fix. Read on and get the solutions to handle "Word document locked for editing" and "Microsoft excel is locked for editing".

2 Ways to Unlock Microsoft Word Document That Is Locked for Editing

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Quit All Instances of Word
  • Save your work immediately
  • Quit all running programs
  • Type Task Manager in the search box...Full steps
2. Uncheck "Encrypt content to secure data"
  • Close word file
  • Right-click file
  • Choose Properties > Click Advanced...Full steps

Fix 1 - Quit All Instance of Word

Step 1. Save your work immediately and quit all running programs.

Step 2. Type Task Manager in the search box or press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to choose Task Manager in the list.

Step 3. Run Task Manager and select the Process tab.

Step 4. Find your Winword.exe, click it and choose End task in the bottom right corner.

word file

Step 5. End Winword.exe one by one.

Step 6. On the Task Manager page, choose the File tab and click Exit.

Fix 2 - Uncheck "Encrypt content to secure data"

Step 1. Close word file.

Step 2. Right-click file and choose Properties > Click Advanced...

Step 3. Under the Compress or Encrypt attributes, uncheck Encrypt contents to secure data.

How to Unlock Excel File Locked for Editing - 5 Ways

  1. 1. Quit All Instance of Excel
  2. 2. Use Windows Management Console
  3. 3. File Is Editing by Another User
  4. 4. Remove Unsupported Features
  5. 5. Check Your File Format

Solution 1 - Quit All Instance of Word

Step 1. Save your work first and quit all programs.

Step 2. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open the Windows Security Dialog box.

Step 3. Select Task Manager and go to the Process tab.

Step 4. Click EXCEL.EXE and click the End Task button in the bottom right corner.

Step 5. Repeat step 4 to end the process.

Step 6. Click the File tab and choose Exit in the top left corner.

end task excel

Solution 2 - Use Windows Management Console

Step 1. Remember your file path and file name.

Step 2. Press Windows + R to open the Run window.

Step 3. Type mmc and press Enter. The Microsoft Management Console window pop up.

Step 4. Click the File tab in the top left corner, scroll down to select Add/Remove snap-in...

add snap ins

Step 5. On the Add or Remove Snap-ins window, you can check the list of Available snap-ins.

Step 6. Choose Shared Folders and then click Add.

microsoft management console

Step 7. Under the "Select the computer you want this snap-in to manage.", you can check the Local computer if you've logged in to the local server, if not, you can choose Another computer.

microsoft management console 1

Step 8. Click OK > Go to the Tree view section, choose Shared Folder > click Open Files

Step 9. Find your desired files > Right-click it > Choose Close Open File

microsoft management console 2

Solution 3 - File Is Editing by Another User

If your files are set up to be edited by more than one person, the reason your files can not be edited is that it is being used by other people. If you are don not need to do something urgent right now, you can choose Read-only. And, if you need to do something urgent like editing important file details, you can contact who opened the excel file and talk to somebody to close the .xlsx file.

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Solution 4 - Remove Unsupported Features (Encryption/Add-ins)

In this part, we gonna list several features that might hassle your operation. You can check whether these functions are set in the file.

Feature 1 - Excel File Encryption

If you have set a password for excel files, we advise you to remove the password encryption.

Step 1. Open Microsoft Excel.

Step 2. Go to the File tab in the top left corner.

Step 3. Choose Info in the left panel > Click Protect Workbook > Select Encrypt with Password

unprotect workbook

Feature 2 - Add-ins

Some add-ins may affect your editing files, check the simple steps to disable add-ins:

Step 1. Click File > Options > Add-ins

Step 2. Choose COM Add-ins > Click Go

Step 3. Uncheck all add-ins in the list, and click OK.

disable add-ins

Step 4. Restart Excel.

Feature 3. Refresh Data when opening files (Tables or Pivot Tables)

Navigate to Table Tools Design > Refresh > Connection Properties > Uncheck Refresh data when opening file

connection properties

Solution 5. Check Your File Format

If you and your partners collaborate on the same Excel workbooks, you need to check your file name. Make sure your excel file name is .xlsx, .xlsm or .xlsb.

If not, follow the steps to convert file format: Click File tab > Save As > Browse > Save as type > Select .xlsx, .xlsm or .xlsb.

Why is My Excel File Locked for Editing?

1. The excel file was not closed properly the last time you used it.

2. Your colleague is opening the file.

3. You locked files by yourself.

Why Does Word Document Say Locked for Editing?

1. Your word file is co-authoring. (Editable by any person.) Another person is editing the document and you have to choose “Read-only”.

2. Improper quit.

3. Another instance of Word is running in the background.

Read more articles about Word: Microsoft Word Has Stopped Working

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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