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Can’t edit a document in Teams? Try these workarounds 

Sometimes a document can’t be edited in Teams for no good reason.  Here’s some things to try and workaround the problem.

Teams uses SharePoint to manage documents and sometimes the technology doesn’t behave the way it should.  A document that you should have full access to, can only be viewed.

Before becoming overly frustrated with the problem, here’s a few workarounds to try.

Can’t edit the document in Teams

Here’s an example of a troublesome document.  It can be opened in Teams and the user has permission to edit the document straight from Teams. But Teams would only let the user preview it, there’s no document editing options either in Teams or via a desktop app.

In this example, other authorized users with the same permissions can edit the document.  There’s no explanation for Teams behaviour.

When this happens, customers don’t have the time or skill to figure out the problem. They just want to get on with their work.  That’s what this article is about.


There are few different options to workaround the inability to edit directly from Teams.  Try:

  • Opening via SharePoint
  • Syncing the folder to your computer and opening it from there.
  • Check out the document
  • Copying the document and editing the copy (messy but if you’re desperate)

Keep in mind that Teams is just a front-end for existing Microsoft technologies, most notably SharePoint and also OneDrive.  Use that fact to bypass whatever trouble Teams is having.

Opening via SharePoint

Instead of clicking on the document in Teams to open it, right click or select the three dots on the side to open the drop-down menu, then select Open in SharePoint.

Once SharePoint is open, go to the same document, right-click then Open | Open in App or Open in browser, your choice.

From there you can edit to your heart’s content!

Sync Folder to Computer

If the previous method didn’t work, another way around it could be syncing the folder to your computer.

Firstly, you’ll need to go to the specific File/Location that your document is in Teams, then select the Sync button located at the top of the Files section.

See Secrets to syncing Teams files with your computer for all the details on this Teams feature.

Check out

Another alternative is to check out the document to your computer for editing.  This can be a problem if the document is being actively edited by other people. See All about check in and check out in Microsoft Teams

Make your edits then upload the revised document and check in the document.

If Check out isn’t available, try doing it from SharePoint instead of Teams.


If Check out isn’t available at all, you can download the document, make your edits then upload.

For a collaborative document that’s not a good idea because others might change the online version of the document while you have an offline copy.


Similar to downloading the document, except upload your editing document with a new name. For example  “Dolphin tasks.docx” becomes “Dolphin tasks UPDATED.docx”.

It’s not elegant but might get the job done.

Try SharePoint workarounds

In our experience, problems with read-only access in Teams are always fixed by going directly to SharePoint. 

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