How to Mark an Excel Workbook as Final?

When I was working as a financial analyst a few years ago, we used to send our work as Excel files to our clients.

One of the steps we were required to do before sending any file to the client was to mark it as final.

When you mark a file as final, the file opens in read-only mode, and the editing in that file is disabled. A message is shown when that file is opened that informs the user that this is the final version and changes should not be made.

yellow bar that appears when Excel opens in marked as final mode
Excel file that has been marked as final

However, the user can choose to ignore the warning and go ahead and make the changes.

So, marking an Excel file as final would not prevent the user from editing the file. However, it does tell the user that this is the final version and should not be changed.

How to Mark an Excel File as Final?

Below are the steps to mark an Excel file as final:

  1. Click the File tab
Click the file tab
  1. In the backstage area that opens, click on the Info option in the left pane.
click on the info option
  1. Click the Protect Workbook option.
click on the protect workbook option
  1. Click on the Mark as Final option.
click on the mark as final option
  1. You will see a message box as shown below. Click OK on the message box
prompt mentioning that the file would be marked as final
  1. You will see another message box with a prompt telling you that the file has been marked as final and that some of the features (such as typing, editing, and proofing) have been disabled. Click OK on this message box.
message box showing that the file has been marked as final and changes should be discouraged

The above steps would mark your Excel file as final and save the file.

In case the Excel file is not already saved on your system, you will be shown the Save As dialog box after step 5, where you will have to specify the location where the file should be saved.

When an Excel file is marked as final, you will see the ‘Marked as Final’ icon in the status bar (as shown below).

yellow bar that appears when Excel opens in marked as final mode

Note: This feature is also available in other Microsoft applications such as MS Word and PowerPoint. You can also follow the same steps shown here to mark a Word document or PowerPoint presentation as Final.

How to Edit a File that has been Marked as Final

When you open an Excel file that has been marked as final, you will see a yellow bar right below the ribbon that says ‘Marked as Final’.

If you want to make any changes to this file, you will have to click on the ‘Edit Anyway’ button in the yellow bar.

click on the edit anywhere button next when Excel opens

When you click on the edit anyway button, it also removes the Marked as Final status of the file.

Once you’re done editing, you can again mark the file as final by following the steps covered in the previous section.

How to Remove the Final Status of an Excel File?

In case you have marked an Excel file as final, and you want to remove that status and make some changes, you can do that by using the below steps:

  1. Click the File tab
  2. Click on the Info option in the left pane.
click on the info option
  1. Click the Protect Workbook option. You will notice that the Protect Workbook option is highlighted in yellow, and it mentions that the file has been marked as final to discourage editing.
protect workbook option is in yellow color
  1. Click on it the Mark as Final option to disable it.
click on the mark as final option to remove the mark as final status

In this tutorial, I showed you how to mark an Excel file as final.

It’s a valuable feature that tells anyone that opens the file that the file has been finalized and no further editing should be done.

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Sumit Bansal
Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of trumpexcel.com and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.

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