Is Your PowerPoint Read-Only? Here’s How to Edit and Save it!


Are you trying to open a PowerPoint presentation that sadly opens up as a read-only file? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone! This isn’t a pleasant situation for anyone, however, there are many complications and reasons behind why this happens. On a larger note, the solution to this problem is fairly simple.

To edit your PowerPoint read-only file, simply click on the “Edit Anyway” button on the horizontal yellow bar under the ribbon. You can also click on the “File” tab. Then, click on “Info”. Next, locate and click on “Protect Presentation”, and finally click on “Mark as Final”.

Interestingly, one of the reasons why your presentation shows as read-only is because of an in-built feature within PowerPoint! (We’ll get to the details of that in a bit). So, this is not something that you need to fear. We just need to be a bit more informed on how to fix it!

So, in this article, I will be sharing with you the details of why a PowerPoint file shows “Read-only”, and what can you do to save the file and make it editable. Let’s get started!

Why is My PowerPoint Read-Only?

One of the most common reasons for PowerPoint to become a read-only file as when it has been done so intentionally. Why would anyone want to do this intentionally?

1. “Mark as Final” Feature is Enabled

Well, it turns out, PowerPoint actually provides a built-in feature known as “Mark as Final”. This feature turns the PowerPoint file into “Read-Only” mode. The “Mark as Final” feature of PowerPoint is designed to let the readers know that the version of the presentation that they are viewing is the final version and no changes are to be made to that version!

Thus, even though such a presentation can be opened by viewers, they will see a “Read-Only” prompt both at the top of the PowerPoint application where the title appears (otherwise known as the title bar), and a yellow strip just below the ribbons with a button that says “Edit Anyway”.

Obviously, there are other ways to prevent your viewers from editing your PowerPoint file which is more fool-proof. More on that later in the article.

2. PowerPoint has just Recovered from a Crash

Another common reason for PowerPoint to get into “Read-Only” mode is when your PowerPoint may have recovered from a crash. Irrespective of whether the PowerPoint application was abruptly closed intentionally or unintentionally when a presentation file was open, PowerPoint may open the file in “Read-Only” mode when restarted.

PowerPoint automatically marks the previous saved version as the final version of the file and opens it up in the read-only mode.

3. Same PPT file is Opened Twice at the Same time!

Lastly, PowerPoint may also convert a presentation into “Read-Only” mode when two presentations that have the same name are opened at the same time. Alternatively, the file may also become read-only when the same file has been opened twice by mistake.

This can happen especially when PowerPoint takes some time to respond to the user’s first request to open a presentation file leading to the user double-clicking on the same file twice. Although there are checks and balances in place to avoid this issue, nevertheless, such issues can still take place.

Furthermore, if you have perhaps saved a presentation file that has the same name in two different locations on your computer, and you open both of them together, PowerPoint can sometimes open the file that has been opened later in read-only mode.

How to Unlock Read-Only in PowerPoint?

As annoying as it may seem, it is quite easy to unlock the read-only mode from PowerPoint!

Here’s how to exit from the “Read-Only” mode in PowerPoint –

  1. Open the “Read-Only” PowerPoint (PPT) file.
  2. At the top part just below the ribbon options, you’ll see a long yellow banner.
  3. Hover your mouse towards the banner and click on the option “Edit Anyway”.

You will now be able to edit the PowerPoint file as you usually would.

Furthermore, make sure that you haven’t opened the same file twice by chance. If so, try to close one or both the files and re-open the presentation once again.

Why Does Read-Only Keep Coming Back in PowerPoint?

One of the key reasons why your PowerPoint file may become read-only every time you open it is because the “Mark as Final” feature has been enabled in the settings. As long as this feature has been enabled, your PowerPoint file may keep reopening as a read-only file from time to time.

Let us understand how to turn off read-only mode in PowerPoint so that you don’t have to deal with this issue.

How to Turn Off Read-Only Mode in PowerPoint?

Even though clicking on “Edit Anyway” as described above will fix the issue, however, if the presentation has been marked as final by the original author, it may continue to show the read-only mode sometimes.

In order to fix that issue, you will need to take a slightly longer route. Here’s a step-by-step process to turn off read-only mode in PowerPoint.

1. Start by opening your “read-only” PowerPoint presentation.

2. Hover to the top menu and then click on the tab named ‘File’. Then click on Info.

3. There will be a ‘Protect Presentation’ option in clear yellow.

4. You might come across a dialog box telling you “The presentation has been marked as final to discourage any editing.”

5. To undo this feature, simply click on Protect Presentation. A menu will appear, click on the ‘Mark as Final’ to fully unlock the desired presentation.

After doing this you will see that the Read-Only suffix from your PPT file’s name will be gone and you would be able to freely edit further.

How to Edit a Read-Only PowerPoint File?

After you have done removing the read-only feature from your PowerPoint, you can simply edit texts, add animations, images and use features with absolute free will. Just getting through the read-only barrier is the only thing that you need to know to get started with editing.

Interestingly, you can also get out of the read-only mode in PowerPoint by saving the file with a different name. This will not only allow you to get rid of the read-only mode but also allow you to save a copy of the edits that you may have made while the file was in the read-only mode.

Let’s learn how to save a read-only presentation file.

How to Save a Read-Only PowerPoint File?

Saving a PowerPoint file that is in a read-only mode is rather quite simple. Although you don’t need to enable “Edit Anyway”, doing so would be recommended. The next step is really saving a file in a different location on your computer with either the same name or under a different name.

Here’s how you can save a read-only PowerPoint presentation –

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Click on “Save As” from the option provided on the left part of your screen.
  3. Navigate to a folder location where you want to save the file. Feel free to change the name of the file if needed.
  4. Click “Save”.
  5. Lastly, browse to the specific folder where you saved the PowerPoint file. Open it and check to see if the “Read-Only” mode has been removed.

Why Does Every PowerPoint File Open in Read-Only Mode?

As we have learned so far, one of the key reasons for PowerPoint to open a presentation file in read-only mode is when it has been “Marked as Final” by the author of the file. By now, you’ve also learned how to get rid of this problem.

However, the “Mark as Final” feature should only restrict the specific file shared by a particular author. It typically shouldn’t make all your PowerPoint files “Read-Only”.

If this is the case for you, the problem may be slightly different. Let’s understand this a bit further.

Sometimes, the file or the folder in which the PowerPoint presentation has been saved itself becomes read-only due to a glitch in the operating system. There are several reasons why this could happen. I won’t go into details of each of those reasons. However, it is important for us to understand how to make this file or folder editable.

Here’s what you could do to remove the read-only from a particular presentation file –

  1. Navigate to the folder in which the file has been saved, and locate the file.
  2. Right-click on the file and select “Properties” from the window the just opens up.
  3. A new window will open up. Click on the “General” tab. Next, clear the check-box from the “Read-Only” attribute option.
  4. Finally, click “OK” and save your changes.

This should solve the problem. If it still doesn’t fix the issue, you may want to check whether the folder in which the PowerPoint file has been saved has the editable rights to it and is not marked as read-only.

If the folder is also being marked as read-only, you will need to remove the “Read-Only” attributes from the folder first. Here’s an article that can help you remove the read-only attribute from a folder in Windows.

How to Prevent PowerPoint from Being Edited?

There are quite a few different ways in which you can lock a PowerPoint file or prevent it from being edited. Here are some of the options that you can choose from –

  1. Save a PowerPoint File as Read-Only
  2. Password protect your PowerPoint file.
  3. Convert a PowerPoint file into a PowerPoint Show File (PPSX)
  4. Convert a PowerPoint file into a PDF file
  5. Convert a PowerPoint file into a Video

Let’s look at some of these methods in detail –

Method 1 – Save a PowerPoint File as Read-Only

To get this done, simply do the opposite of turning off the read-only mode. Here’s a step-by-step process to save a PowerPoint file as Read-Only:

  1. Open the desired PowerPoint presentation, and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Next, click on the “Info” tab from the options presented on the left part of the screen.
  3. Select the “Protect Presentation” option.
  4. From the dropdown, select “Always Open Read-Only“.
  5. Finally, save the file by pressing Ctrl+S.

Your presentation file will now be opened as a read-only file.

Method 2 – Password Protect your PowerPoint presentation

If your colleagues or students haven’t been very familiar with your polite way of discouraging any edits on your final PowerPoint file, then the best option for you is to simply encrypt your presentation file using a password protection feature.

Here’s what you need to do to password protect your PowerPoint presentation –

  1. Open your desired presentation and select the File tab and then click on “Save As”.
  2. At the bottom of the “Save As” dialogue box, a “Tools” option will appear.
  3. Click on “General Options”.
  4. The box marked as “Password to Modify” can be used to type in the desired password you wish to set.
  5. After setting up your password and re-entering it for further verification, simply click “OK

Similarly, you can also enable password protection from the “Info” tab. To do that, click on the “File” tab first. Then, click the “Info” tab. Next, click on “Protect Presentation“, and finally from the dropdown, click on “Encrypt with Password“. You will then be asked to set a password. Simply re-enter the same password and click “OK“.

While encrypting the PowerPoint file with a password, you will be presented with 2 options – either to restrict access to the PowerPoint file or to restrict modifying the presentation file. Choose the latter as this will allow your audience to at least view the presentation file without editing it.

Method 3 – Convert PowerPoint presentation as a PPSX file

Another method of preventing a PowerPoint presentation from being editing is to convert it into a PowerPoint show file or a PPSX file format. Doing so will directly open the presentation file in a PowerPoint Slide Show mode thereby restricting the editing capabilities of an individual for such a file.

Here’s how to convert a PowerPoint presentation to a PowerPoint Show file (PPSX file)

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Then, click on “Save As” from the panel on the left part of your screen.
  3. On the new window that pops-up, click on the “Save As Type” option.
  4. From the dropdown, scroll down and locate the “PowerPoint Show” file type option.
  5. Navigate to the desired location and rename the file if needed.
  6. Click on “Save“.

Method 4 – Convert PowerPoint Presentation into a PDF File

Another alternative method is to share a PDF version of the presentation instead of the PPT file. All you need to do is convert the file to the PDF file format. To do that, you can follow the below steps –

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Then, click on “Export” from the panel on the left part of your screen.
  3. On the new window that pops-up, click on the “Create PDF” option.
  4. Navigate to the desired location and rename the file if needed.
  5. Click on “Save“.

You will now notice that there is a PDF file added to the folder in which you saved the file. Make sure that you share this PDF file instead of the PPT presentation.

Method 5 – Convert PowerPoint File into a Video

Last, but not the least, you can also convert your presentation into a video. Although the use of this method is more suited for creating videos using PowerPoint, however, you can also use this method to ensure that you are able to prevent your viewers from editing it.

Here’s how to convert a PowerPoint file into a video –

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Then, click on “Save As” from the panel on the left part of your screen.
  3. On the new window that pops-up, click on the “MPEG/MP4” option.
  4. From the dropdown, scroll down and locate the “PowerPoint Show” file type option.
  5. Navigate to the desired location and rename the file if needed.
  6. Click on “Save“.

How to Remove Restricted Access in PowerPoint?

PowerPoint also provides you with an option to remove access restrictions that the original author may have put in place.

To remove the restricted access setting in your file, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Click on the “File” tab.
  2. Next, click on the “Info” tab.
  3. Then, click on “Protect Presentation” and change the permissions which have been applied.

Unselecting the previous options will remove the existing restrictions.

It is important to note that if the file is password-protected, you will need the password to change the permissions of the file. Without the original password, you won’t be able to unlock the permission protections.

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Credit to Cookie_Studio for the featured image of this article.

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