6 Ways to Mark a Workbook as Final in Microsoft Excel

Are you looking for a way to mark the workbook as final so that the team members, clients, or anyone else don’t make any changes to an Excel worksheet that you’ve finalized? You’ve come to the right place! Keep reading.

Besides data analysis and visualization, Microsoft Excel also offers some professional tools that you can use to show your business acumen and etiquette. One such tool in Excel is Mark as Final. It enables you to share your Excel workbook in a professional way and alert the recipients that you don’t want them to make any changes to the document. However, they can edit the Excel worksheet if they think it’s required.

If you don’t know how to use the Excel feature Mark as Final, it’s high time that you learn this skill. Below, I’m explaining various ways to mark the workbook as final in Excel in a step-by-step manner. You can try out the method that suits your circumstances.

Reasons to Use Mark as Final in Excel

Find below why you must learn this skill before stepping into a job interview, a new job role as a data analyst, or a business manager’s role. This method is valid for all Excel desktop apps since Excel 2016.

  1. You must share an Excel workbook with your team or the client without password-protecting the file. Here, Mark as Final is the option you must choose.
  2. Sometimes, when a recipient receives a password-protected Excel workbook from you they may feel offended. Instead, you can mark the workbook as final and share it with the recipient to let them know that they aren’t supposed to make any changes to the document but are free to review the data.
  3. When you mark an Excel file as final, Excel hides all the editing tools. Thus, if another employee of your organization is presenting, analyzing, or reviewing the data, they can do so worry-less since it’s impossible to accidentally alter the workbook.
  4. When you use this tool you add professionalism to your work. The recipient perceives this as a sense of reliability and authority from your end.
  5. Mark as Final is particularly useful when managing multiple versions of a document, allowing you to track changes, compare revisions, and ensure that you’re using the current version.

Also read: Amazing Excel Tips and Tricks

Now that you know what the Mark as Final feature is and the rationale behind its usage, find below various methods to mark the workbook as final in Excel:

Mark Workbook as Final with Protect Workbook

Find below the steps to activate Mark as Final and read-only mode for an Excel workbook:

Mark as final protect workbook menu
Mark as final protect workbook menu
  1. On the Excel worksheet that you want to mark as final, click File on the ribbon.
  2. A left-side navigation pane will appear. There, click on the Info button.
  3. On the Info screen, you must see the Protect Workbook menu. Click on it to expand the menu.
  4. In the Protect Workbook drop-down list, you now see various ways to protect an workbook from unwanted changes.
  5. At the bottom of the drop-down list, you will see the Mark as Final button. Click on that.
  6. A confirmation pop-up will show up. Hit OK.
Confirm mark as final in Excel
Confirmation of mark as final in Excel
  1. Excel now takes you to the worksheet and shows a dialog box as shown in the above image. There, you simply need to hit OK.
Learn how to mark the workbook as final in Excel
Mark the workbook as final in Excel
  1. As soon as you do this, the Marked As Final banner shows up above the formula bar.
Greyed out Excel ribbon menus
Greyed out Excel ribbon menus
  1. You’ll also notice that all the editing options are greyed out if you click any of the Excel ribbon menus.
Click Edit Anyway to disable Mark as final

To disable the Marked As Final banner on an Excel workbook and make the worksheet easily editable again, you can simply click the Edit Anyway button on the above banner.

Mark Workbook as Final with a VBA Script

Suppose you’re automating some parts of the Excel worksheet using some VBA scripts. After running those scripts and getting the data analysis and visualization you need, you want to mark the Excel workbook as final. Attach the following Excel VBA code in your existing VBA script to automate the Mark as Final action. Here are the steps and ways to implement this VBA code:

Create a VBA code and save it
Create a VBA code and save it
  1. Hit Alt + F11 to call the VBA Editor in your Excel workbook.
  2. Click the Insert button on the VBA toolbar and choose Module.
  3. Excel will create a new Module on the VBA Editor backstage.
  4. In the new Module, copy and paste the following VBA code:
Sub MarkAsFinal()

'Marks the active workbook as final

ActiveWorkbook.Final = True

End Sub
  1. Now, hit the Save button on the VBA Editor toolbar.
  2. If the Excel file wasn’t a macro-enabled workbook before, Excel will ask you to save it that way.
  3. Usually, Excel does this for you and you just need to click the Yes button on a dialog box that informs the same.
  4. Now, close the VBA Editor tool.
Using Excel VBA for Excel mark as final
Using Excel VBA for Excel mark as final
  1. On the Excel worksheet, hit Alt + F8 keys together to bring up the Macro dialog box.
  2. There, select the MarkAsFinal macro and click the Run button.
  3. Click OK on the warning message that shows up.
  4. You should now see the Marked As Final banner on the Excel worksheet below the ribbon menu.

Mark Workbook as Final with a Keyboard Shortcut

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to hit a few buttons or run an Excel VBA script, use the following keystroke combinations to engage the Mark as Final feature for an Excel workbook:

  1. When the Excel workbook is open, hit Alt and click F to select the File menu.
  2. Click I to choose Info and press P to select and expand Protect Workbook.
  3. Now, hit F to choose and activate the Mark as Final option.
  4. Hit Enter two times on two pop-up dialog boxes to complete the process.

Mark Workbook as Final with the VBA Immediate Window

Here’s how you can execute the following VBA code in a VBA Immediate window to mark the workbook as final in Excel:

Mark as final from VBA Immediate
Mark as final from VBA Immediate
  1. On your Excel workbook, open the VBA Editor by pressing Alt + F11 keys together.
  2. On the VBA Editor, hit the Ctrl + G keys together to bring up the Immediate code execution panel.
  3. Inside the Immediate field, enter the following code:
ActiveWorkbook.Final = True
  1. Simply, hit the Enter key to run the code and protect the workbook using the Mark as Final feature.
  2. To disable Mark as Final, you can run the following VBA code:
ActiveWorkbook.Final = False

Mark Workbook as Final with the Review Tab

On some editions of the Excel desktop app, you can activate Mark as Final from the Review tab of the Excel ribbon. Here are the steps you can try:

Review Protect Workbook for mark as final
  1. Open the workbook you want to mark as final.
  2. Go to the Review tab in the Excel ribbon.
  3. Locate the Protect block within the Review tab.
  4. Click on the Protect Workbook button.
  5. Select the Mark as Final option from the drop-down menu.
  6. Confirm the action in the dialog box that appears.
  7. Save the workbook to apply the changes.

Mark Workbook as Final in Previous Versions of Excel

Using a dated Excel desktop app and unable to perform the methods mentioned so far to activate Mark as Final? You need to try these steps instead:

Excel 2007

  1. Click the Microsoft Office logo in the top-left corner of the app.
  2. Select Prepare on the left-side navigation pane that opens.
  3. Inside Prepare, you should see the Mark as Final option. Click that to mark the workbook as final.

Excel 2010 to 2013

  1. The Mark as Final option is inside the Permissions menu.
  2. You can either access Permissions on the Review tab or from File > Info > Permissions.

Limitations of Mark as Final

If you rely on the Mark as Final feature of Excel a lot, you must know about the following drawbacks of this feature:

  1. Anyone can edit the content of the workbook by clicking the Edit Anyway button near the Marked As Final banner. So, send your confidential and critical Excel files to responsible persons or colleagues.
  2. At the time of writing, Microsoft didn’t introduce this feature yet in web apps like Excel for the Web (personal subscribers) or Excel Web App (business subscribers).
  3. The Mark as Final feature is yet not available for all the editions of the Excel for Mac app.

Conclusions

These are all the possible ways to mark the workbook as final in Excel.

The best approach is using the keyboard shortcut method as it is easy and saves time and effort.

But if you need to automate the process or link to another Excel VBA program where the concluding step is Mark as Final, then you can use the above VBA script.

Feel free to try any of the methods and share your experience by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Tamal Das

Tamal Das

I'm a freelance writer at HowToExcel.org. After completing my MS in Science, I joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of data analysis and data visualization techniques as a business analyst. Now, I'm a professional freelance content writer for everything Excel and its advanced support tools, like Power Pivot, Power Query, Office Scripts, and Excel VBA. I published many tutorials and how-to articles on Excel for sites like MakeUseOf, AddictiveTips, OnSheets, Technipages, and AppleToolBox. In weekends, I perform in-depth web search to learn the latest tricks and tips of Excel so I can write on these in the weekdays!

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