When we receive the error message “The file could not open in Protected View” in Microsoft Excel, it means that Excel application has detected potential security risks in the file. This Protected View is a security feature in the latest version of Microsoft Excel that helps prevent malicious content from running on your computer.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:-
The file was downloaded from the internet / intranet, an email attachment or shared from any social media applications, which Excel considers potentially unsafe.
The file is in a location that Excel found un-trusted.
The file contains any macros that Excel doesn’t trust.
Here are a few steps you can take to resolve this issue and view/edit the contents of the file:
Scan for Viruses and Malware:
Before enabling editing or working with the file, it is a good practice to scan it with valid antivirus or anti-malware software (Any third party or Microsoft Defender which is comes with Operating System) to ensure it doesn’t contain any malicious code.
Ensure that your Microsoft Office or Excel software is up-to-date with the latest updates and security patches. Sometimes, updating Excel can help resolve issues related to Protected View.
Open in Protected View:
If the file opens in Protected View, you can still view its contents, but you won’t be able to edit it. To edit you need to disable Protected View or Enable editing option while opening the file.
If you trust the source of the file and know that it is safe, you can enable editing by clicking on the “Enable Editing” button that typically appears at the top of the Excel window after opening the file. This will allow you to make changes to the file.
Trust the Document Location or Source:
If you frequently receive files from a known source and want to avoid the Protected View in the future, you can add the source to Excel’s Trusted Locations or Trusted Documents. To do this, go to Excel Options (File > Options), and then navigate to the Trust Center settings. You can specify trusted locations or trusted documents to ignore checking the Protected View for selected files.
Disable the Protected View but it will not safe:
Open Microsoft Excel. Then Go to “File > Options > Trust Center.” Now, click on the Trust Center Settings button. Then select Protected View from the left side. Now Uncheck all the options on the right side. Click OK to save the changes. Click OK again to close the Excel Options window.
Check for Macros:
If the file contains macros, these can trigger some action. Be cautious when enabling editing for files with macros, especially if they come from an untrusted source. Malicious macros can harm your computer.