How to Unlock Read Only PowerPoint Presentations

By A.J. Andrews

Microsoft PowerPoint makes business presentations easy and professional.
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Microsoft’s "Mark as Final" feature, available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2010, allows business users to make spreadsheets and slide show presentations bear a read-only status. While documents with read-only statuses cannot be edited, "Mark as Final" does not serve as a security feature. Any receiver of the electronic copy of the document can edit the document if they remove the read-only status. You can unlock a read-only PowerPoint presentation by removing the "Mark as Final" designation from the document.

Launch PowerPoint 2010 and open the slide show document marked as read only. In a PowerPoint 2010 presentation, the words "Read Only" will appear in the top left corner of the screen; e.g., "Microsoft PowerPoint – (Presentation 1) Read only."

Click “File” and select “Info” in the left pane to open the Permissions window. The Permissions window allows you to encrypt your presentation with a password, add a digital signature, restrict permission by people and mark the document as final. The Encrypt with Password option requires users to open the presentation with a password, the Add a Digital Signature option indicates the document was made by a known sender and the Restrict Permission by People allows others to access the document but relieves them of the ability to copy or print the presentation.

Click “Protect Presentation” followed by “Mark as Final” to unlock the read-only presentation. You can now edit, print and copy the PowerPoint presentation.


Use the Mark as Final feature when you don't want the recipient to change the document. It is not uncommon for the recipient to alter the presentation, accidentally or intentionally, and resend it to others.


Do not rely on the Mark as Final feature to act as security for your document. Always maintain a password-protected original on your PC or flash drive.