Excel 2013 & 2010: Force “Open as Read Only” Prompt

If you have a file that is sensitive to changes, you can force Excel 2013 or 2010 to prompt the user to open as Read Only whenever they attempt to open the file. Here’s how to enable this setting.

  1. In Excel, select “File” and click Save As.
    Excel save as
  2. Choose “Tools” > “General Options” at the bottom of the window.
    Excel general options
  3. Select the check-box for “Read-only recommended“, then select “OK“.
    Excel read only recommended setting
  4. Select “Save“.
  5. If prompted, choose “Yes” to update the file with the read-only setting.

That’s it! Anybody who opens the file in Excel will now be prompted to choose “Open as Read-Only”.


  1. mw says

    nice, except MSoft make a profession out of hiding and scrambling all their features, so (for example in Word 2010) these instructions don’t work. Still trying to figure out where they hid the ‘default read only’ checkbox.

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