If I put the address of a SharePoint folder (I have read/write access to) in Explorer and open an excel file, it opens read only and will not let me edit. I did this by copying the URL of the SharePoint folder, and replacing the forward slashes with backslashes.

If I do it through the browser, I can edit the file when I open it (doing it this way is much less convenient).

Why might this be? What can I do? I'm using SharePoint 2013

1 Answer 1


Files being read only is a pain and can be caused by too many different things.

It's also not entirely clear how is it you're using the Explorer exactly, but I will provide some general tips based on personal experience.

I have went as far as making a blog post on this, even though it kinda deviated onto other things such as permissions, locks, and other kind of opening-prevention scenarios.

Assuming you are using the same account on all scenarios, it should work, but being an Excel document raises some red flags as co-authoring is not supported in the client application.

The Excel client application does not support co-authoring workbooks in SharePoint Server.

While some things break co-authoring or web editing (permissions, activex objects, etc.) if you have access to an Excel document and no one else is editing it, you should be able to open and edit it yourself, regardless of the method you use to open it.

If it does not, you can try:

  • Deleting the upload center cache
  • Ensuring you have edit access to the document(s)
  • Ensuring the document is not being edited by someone else in the client application
  • Use Internet Explorer's "Open with Explorer" to open the document library and then open the document from there
  • Repair the Office installation and ensure it has the latest updates

Further reading,

List of unsupported features,


Excel co-authoring in SharePoint,


  • Thanks. I edited the question to be clearer. I'll try the cache when I'm at work tomorrow
    – Ne Mo
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 22:12

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