How to switch to edit mode in Excel

When you open Excel spreadsheets from unknown sources, an Excel feature called Protected View protects you from potential risks. That’s fine, but to work on the document you need to switch to edit mode.

Protected View is enabled by default. So if you open a file from a website or receive it via email, you will be taken to Protected View.

The message bar appears at the top of the document and allows you to edit it. Click the “Enable Editing” button.

View protected with the button

The document is now open as read-only with some content disabled.

Read-only view

Save the document somewhere else so you can work on it efficiently.

Why Use Protected View?

Protected View protects you from malware, viruses and threats you may face when opening Excel files from unknown sources. These sources include websites, email attachments, and other unsafe locations like shared drives.

If you only view the table, you don’t need edit mode and can work with the document in Protected View.

Can I turn off Protected View?

Yes, but you should check with your IT team or network administrator beforehand, as doing so will expose you to external threats.

To turn off Protected View, click File on the taskbar, then choose Options. Next, select the “Trust Center” category and click on the “Trust Center Settings” button.

Trust Center window

Select the Protected View category.

Excel Protected View Settings

There are three settings you can turn off: Files from the Internet, Dangerous Locations, or Outlook Attachments. You can disable all three if you don’t want Protected View to intervene at all in the future.

Protected View is a useful feature to protect users from potential threats when opening documents from unknown sources. This feature is very common when working with Excel on mobile devices and accessing documents in public places.

Most of the time, however, these tables are secure. Luckily, Microsoft makes it relatively easy to switch to edit mode.

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