Shared excel workbook locked for editing

We have 2003 Excel workbook that is located on a server and also it has been shared via menu path Tools - Share Workbook to enable the 4 users to work in it simultaneously.

It has been working fine for several months but now we get the locked for editing by... message randomly.  For example I will be able to open the file normally and then the next time I try the message says that the file is locked for editing by myself or another user. The exact message is the file in use dialogue box: Filename is locked for editing by "username". Open 'Read-Only' or, click "Notify" to open read-only and receive notification when the document is no longer in use.

I have already looked for the temporary file ie ~$filename but there isn't one in the folder and I have checked in Windows Task Manager that there isn't a rogue excel session still running.

What else could be causing this issue?
January 29th, 2013 12:53am

This problem may occur due to following reasons:

  • The file is a shared workbook.
  • The workbook is stored on a Web server that is running the Office Server Extensions.
  • Another user currently has the workbook open.

Workaround: To workaround this issue, save your shared workbook to a network drive, and not an Office Server Extended Web Server.

Check the following link for details:

Free Windows Admin Tool Kit Click here and download it now
January 30th, 2013 3:37am

The shared workbook is saved on a Novell network drive
January 31st, 2013 5:06am


Try the methods listed in the following link to check the issue:

Free Windows Admin Tool Kit Click here and download it now
February 6th, 2013 1:16am

I've been having this issue on one of my Windows networks and finally took the time to figure it out. In my case, it wasn't nearly as complicated as some related threads might indicate. It's just a temporary file that needs to be deleted.

  1. Excel (and probably any MS Office application) creates a temporary file in the same folder as the document when someone opens it on the network. The name of the temporary file is the same as the document with a tilde ( ~ ) in front of it. It is a hidden file as well as a protected operating system" file, so it will not normally be displayed in the folder contents unless the View tab in Folder Options has been modified.
  2. The temporary file should disappear when the document gets closed. Evidently there are circumstances under which the temporary file is left behind, resulting in an erroneous File locked for editing by <user name>.  There are Office patches which claim to resolve this issue at the workstation level, but deleting the temporary file is the most efficient workaround.
  3. The name displayed in <user name> is from the Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office (File/Options/General). This might indicate a user whose computer is not up-to-date with patches.
April 23rd, 2015 6:08pm

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