“Edit in Word” (or Excel) not opening document in Office 365, or “Read-Only” status upon opening and trying to save changes

When working in Office 365 or SharePoint and you open a document for editing, you get two choices. Edit in Word (or Excel) or Edit in Browser. Editing in browser is typically a safe route but it doesn’t give you full functionality like the clients will.

The issue I’m discussing here is when a user tries to edit a document from SharePoint using the client (not Edit in Browser) the client opens to a blank, gray background (no document) or doesn’t open at all. This is likely an account conflict in syncing or accessing.

In other cases, the document may open, but as read-only. If that’s the case, it’s likely permissions-related.¬†You might first check the user’s specific permissions in SharePoint. Sometimes because of broken (not inherited) permissions, or partial access to a site, users are able to edit in browser, but not in the client. If this is your situation, it could well be the cause.

Hopefully this is a simple fix for you, but as it’s become clear to me a number of times with this issue it can be quite complicated. I have a couple fixes, though the second is less ideal. If anyone else has run into this and would like to offer their experience, please do so in the comments.

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Publish major versions of all documents in a document library at once

If you’ve turned on versioning for a document library and are using both major and minor versions, you could end up with hundreds of minor versions not visible to individuals with view or read-only permissions. Saving major versions of each could take a while individually, but luckily there’s a way to do all of them at once.

  1. Go to site settings
  2. Under “Site Administration” go to “Content and Structure”
  3. Click on the name of the document library you wish you work on
  4. Change “Show: 100” to include all of your documents so you don’t have to do this multiple times. You can also change the view to any one of your views in the document library (or all documents as seen below).
    publishmajorversions1.PNG
  5. Select the Select All icon (selectall) and then under “Actions” select “publish.” A pop-up window will you give you the opportunity to enter a comment as to why these documents are being published, then click “ok.”