Excel file is locked out for editing to another user

You are trying to open an Excel file and you get a message that the file is locked for editing by another user, and sometimes the "another user" is actually you. This topic explains how you can unlock an Excel spreadsheet when you are locked out of an Excel file by yourself or another user.

Why are you locked you out of an Excel file?

There are a couple reasons behind why you are locked out of an Excel file:

  • If the file is checked out to another user, it means that the user is currently working on the file or has not closed the file.

  • If you have locked the file yourself, that's because:

    • You did not close the previous instance of the Excel file properly. The application probably is still running in the background.

    • You may have opened the same file on a different machine and the file is still open on that machine.

  • The file is open and being edited by one or more users on Excel Online.

How to resolve this issue?

This section provides information on what you can do if you are locked out by yourself or another user when trying to open an Excel file.

If the Excel file is locked out to another user

  • Request that person to close the file.

  • Wait until that person has closed the file.

  • Open the file in a View-only mode. Note that you will not be able to edit the file. If you want to edit, you will have to save a copy of the file locally and then make changes.

If you have locked the file yourself

Close the file in Excel.

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