How to Solve Excel file is Locked for Editing by Another user

One of the most common errors you may face in Excel is “Excel file is locked for editing by another user.” You might waste a lot of time if you don’t know how to solve this problem. The good news is there is a quick fix for this error. 

In this article, I will guide you on how to fix the ‘Excel file is locked for editing by another user’ error. But first, let’s see what is the root cause.

What causes the Excel file to be locked for editing by another user?

The most common reason you may get Excel locked for editing by another user is that many instances are open. For example, if you click the same file more than once, it will launch in more than one instance. You will get this error when you try to edit the file from one of the instances that is not the first one. Only the first instance can be edited if you open the same file so many times. 

Another key reason is that the Excel file may be shared over a network. If the file is shared over a network and someone else is already editing it, you may get this error, too.

Close all Excel instances.

If you face this error, the first quick fix should be closing all Excel instances. You can either close down all instances individually or use Task Manager or CMD to close Excel. To close all Excel instances, just click on the cancel icon at the top left.

Use Task Manager to Shut Down Excel

Sometimes, Excel may not shut down properly. Therefore, you need to close it by using Task Manager. Here are the steps>

1. Use the shortcut ctrl+alt+delete  (Hold down the Ctrl key, then press alt and delete at the same time)

2.  Click the Task Manager from the list of options that show up

3. Scroll down the list of services and apps  till you find Excel Icon

4. Select Excel, then click on End Task

Make a copy of the Excel file

If another user is editing the Excel file, making a copy is the best thing to do. The copy is treated like a new file. Therefore, it will not be affected as the other document. To make a copy, open the file location, then right-click on the file and click copy. Finally, paste by using ctrl+v or by right-clicking and then select paste. 

Wait for the user to complete the editing.

This is not the most convenient solution, but it works. If you are not in a hurry, you can wait for the user on the other side to finish editing. Once the other person has finished editing and closed the file, you can access it without facing the error. 

Disconnect the other user

You can disconnect another user that is currently editing the file. Here are the steps

1. Click the Windows button plus R simultaneously

2. Type MMC on the console

3. Click OK. A new console like the one shown below will appear

4. Click on the file, then add/remove snapin

5. Scroll down the available snapins, look for Shared Folders, and click add

6. If the file is shared on the same server, then select the local computer; otherwise, select another computer and type in its name

7. Select open files and click on finish

Store the file in a co-authoring supported location

According to Microsoft, if a file is located in a location that doesn’t support co-authoring, you will get an error. If you are using Microsoft 365, the file must be in OneDrive, SharePoint, or OneDrive for business. Google Drive and DropBox do not support Co-Authoring in Microsoft Excel 365. 

Final Thoughts

That’s how to solve Excel file is locked for editing by another user. Quick reminder: if you face this error, it’s either you have opened the Excel so many times. This happens when you double-click on the Excel app severally. It might seem as if it’s not opening, but it will pen the number of times you have clicked on it. 

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