How to Remove Read-only From a Document in LibreOffice

This tutorial explains how to remove read-only from document in LibreOffice Writer.

What is Read-only Mode in LibreOffice

In brief, a read-only mode is a limitation or restriction that prevents modifications to the content of a document. This protection is often implemented by the owner of the document to maintain the integrity of critical or sensitive information and to avoid unintended changes to the document.

When a document is in read-only mode, you can still view and print its contents, but cannot make any edits, save changes, or delete any of its original content. However, you can save a new copy of the file and work on that version instead.

Why You Might Need to Remove Read-only Mode

When you open a document in LibreOffice and are unable to edit it, it means the document has been locked for editing, either by someone else or by a feature. In most cases, when a document is opened in read-only mode, a banner at the top of the document canvas displays a message, and a button Edit Document.

If you click Edit Document, you can then edit the document anyway. Understanding how to remove the read-only mode from a document will help you edit locked documents, even if they are marked as read-only and not meant to be edited.

From my personal experience, I’ve encountered many instances when I tried to edit a .docx document (such as an email attachment) in LibreOffice Writer, it always opens in read-only mode by default. Even if I bypass the read-only state by clicking Edit document. When saved and reopened, the document still opens in read-only mode.

Step 1. Removing Read-only Using File Properties

If the title bar of a document displays Read-only, it means the write access to the file has been disabled. You can easily remove the read-only mode by changing the file’s properties.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to the folder where the document file is located.
  • Right-click on the file and choose Properties from the context menu.
  • Once the file’s properties window opens, select the General tab and uncheck the Read-only box at the bottom. Then, click OK.
  • If the Read-only box is already unchecked, proceed to the next step.

Step 2. Removing Read-only When Opening the File

If you enable the Read-only box when opening a file, the document may still open in read-only mode in LibreOffice. To prevent this, make sure to check if the Read-only box is not checked before opening a document.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start LibreOffice or open an existing document.
  • Go to File > Open from the top menu bar.
  • Find the file you want to open and make sure it’s not read-only.
  • Uncheck the Read-only box before opening the file.

Note: This method may not work if the write protection has been enabled on the file’s access permission. In that case, follow step 1 first.

Step 3. Enabling Edit-mode Inside the Document

Sometimes the document may switch to read-only mode if the edit-mode is accidentally turned off, either by pressing a shortcut key combination or manually. In these cases, you can turn on the edit-mode by following these steps.

  • Go to Edit and enable Edit Mode from the top menu bar.
  • Or, you can use the shortcut Shift + Ctrl + M for the same.

Step 4. Removing Read-Only Document Restrictions

There may be instances where you see a document always opening in read-only, even after making changes to it by clicking the Edit Document button. This could be due to intentional restrictions placed on the document by someone else.

To remove these read-only restrictions, follow these steps:

  • Go to File > Properties from the top menu bar.
  • In the Properties window, select the Security tab.
  • Uncheck the Open file read only box.
  • Click OK to save the changes.

Note: If the read-only restriction was placed intentionally on the document by someone else, they may have password protected it to prevent changes. In this case, you will need the password to remove the restriction and edit the document.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, removing the read-only mode from a document in LibreOffice can be easily done by following the steps provided in this tutorial. If you encounter any difficulties, feel free to leave a comment for clarification.

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Shiba Prasad
Shiba Prasad

I’m the creator behind, and Professionally, I’m a freelance technical writer who shares a passion for open source technologies. Learn more, or follow me here → Instagram, Linkedin, Medium

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Roger Hopkins
Roger Hopkins
July 12, 2023 2:55 PM

Can not print files after many years with no problems, Can print emails etc. Have tried all suggestions per tutorials, suggestions from others with no success. Seems to be universal problem with current 7.5. Even tried loading older version of Libre with same results. Best suggestion was to choose another program.

September 27, 2023 6:24 AM

still same for me (got dual boot with ubuntu 22.04 and Windows 10 on separate disks) – file is on 3rd disk. Under win10 all works normally and under ubuntu there is still issue with read-only.

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