Use a password to safe entry to an Excel workbook

On the file stage, you possibly can password shield an Excel workbook in two methods: You may decide who can get in and who can save modifications.

How one can safe an Excel worksheet with a password
Brandon Vigliarolo walks you thru the steps of securing an Excel worksheet with a password in Microsoft Workplace 365.

Editor’s be aware: Within the video, Brandon Vigliarolo walks you thru the steps of securing an Excel workbook with a password in Microsoft Workplace 365. The steps are just like what Susan Harkins describes on this tutorial, which was first revealed in January 2011 and up to date in March 2019.

Securing information is a tiered course of with password safety on the backside stage—the file stage. It is a first step effort, however definitely not the one step it is best to take to guard confidential and proprietary information. Password defending an Excel workbook on the file stage controls entry in two methods: It lets a consumer in, and it lets a consumer save modifications. On this article, I am going to present you extra than simply easy methods to password-protect a workbook. You will be taught what that safety does and does not do for you and easy methods to keep away from some gotchas.

I am utilizing Workplace 365 Excel (desktop), however you possibly can consumer earlier variations. There is no demonstration file—you will not want one. You may’t add a password to a file open within the browser, nor are you able to open it within the browser.

LEARN MORE: Workplace 365 Shopper pricing and options

Safety v. safety

Earlier than we talk about Excel’s password-protection characteristic, let’s make clear what we imply by safety. Though the phrases safety and safety are bantered about interchangeably, feature-wise in Excel, they are not the identical factor. Safety enables you to select who will get in and by advantage of doing so, who does not. Safety limits customers who’re already in. Safety is about entry; safety is about sustaining integrity.

Assign the password

Step one is to assign a password. You may work with any file, however for our functions, I counsel a clean workbook as a substitute of an necessary working file, simply in case. To assign a password to an Excel workbook, do the next.

From the File menu, select Save As. In Excel 2007, click on the Workplace button and select Save As. Beneath the title and sort controls, click on Extra choices. (For those who’ve suppressed the Backstage space, you will skip this step.) Within the ensuing Save As dialog, click on the Instruments dropdown (to the left of the Save button) and select Basic Choices. Within the ensuing dialog (Determine A) you possibly can set two passwords: One to open the workbook and one to change the workbook. Superior choices allow you to set encryption choices.Enter one or each passwords and click on OK.Verify the password(s) and click on OK.Click on Save.

Be sure you be aware the password someplace protected, simply in case you neglect it.

Determine A


Enter the password and be aware it in a safe place.

Setting a password to open the workbook is self-explanatory; if a consumer does not know the password, she or he cannot open the file. That provides you an excessive amount of management when you do an inexpensive job of securing passwords. In fact, you possibly can’t actually do something in regards to the consumer who shares a password, however that is an altogether completely different downside. Simply keep in mind that this password solely retains customers out; a consumer that is aware of this password has entry to all the info and might modify the info as soon as in.

SEE: Price comparability calculator: G Suite vs. Workplace 365 (Tech Professional Analysis)

That is the place the second password is available in; by assigning this password, you permit customers to open the workbook and examine the info whereas withholding permission to change something. A consumer who is aware of this password can view and modify information and likewise save modifications to the workbook.

A consumer who does not know the second password can open and examine the info by clicking the Learn Solely possibility, but it surely’s Learn-Solely—form of. This consumer can nonetheless modify information, however the password-protected workbook will not let the consumer save modifications—form of. Here is the deal: A consumer with out the modifying password can nonetheless view, modify, and save modifications, if the consumer can get in. This consumer simply cannot save the modifications to the protected workbook. The consumer can, nonetheless, save the protected workbook utilizing a brand new title, which definitely circumvents the method.

SEE: A successful technique for cybersecurity (ZDNet particular report) | Obtain the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Vital concerns

Earlier than you begin password defending all of your workbooks, there are three necessary issues to bear in mind:

Anybody with the password to change the workbook can even take away the password safety. Use this specific possibility correctly; watch out who you give the password to. Informal customers will not have the experience to crack your password, however anyone can buy password-cracking software program. Your greatest safety in opposition to this kind of tampering (or outright theft) is to assign a ridiculously lengthy password of random characters. Doing so will not defeat specialised software program, however it’ll sluggish it down and that delay may trigger the would-be cracker to place your workbook apart. However, it is positive to harass your customers. Balancing the 2 wants generally is a little bit of a high-wire act. For extra on this topic, learn Robust passwords—reasonable or burdensome.For those who neglect your password, you possibly can’t get into your workbook and make modifications, however you should purchase the password-cracking software program.

Excel’s password safety is a good characteristic and luckily, it is easy to implement. Simply do not confuse it with sheet safety and by all means, do not rely solely on it to safe delicate information.

SEE: 10 Excel time-savers you may not learn about (free PDF obtain) (TechRepublic)

Ship me your query about Workplace

I reply readers’ questions after I can, however there is not any assure. Do not ship recordsdata until requested; preliminary requests for assist that arrive with hooked up recordsdata can be deleted unread. You may ship screenshots of your information to assist make clear your query. When contacting me, be as particular as potential. For instance, “Please troubleshoot my workbook and repair what’s fallacious” in all probability will not get a response, however “Are you able to inform me why this method is not returning the anticipated outcomes?” may. Please point out the app and model that you just’re utilizing. I am not reimbursed by TechRepublic for my time or experience when serving to readers, nor do I ask for a charge from readers I assist. You may contact me at

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