Use a password to secure access to an Excel workbook


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

The right way to 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 word: 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 much 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 actually not the one step you need 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 will present you extra than simply the right way to password-protect a workbook. You may be taught what that safety does and would not do for you and the right way 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 possibly can’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 helps you to select who will get in and by advantage of doing so, who would 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 possibly can work with any file, however for our functions, I counsel a clean workbook as a substitute of an vital working file, simply in case. To assign a password to an Excel workbook, do the next.

  1. From the File menu, select Save As. In Excel 2007, click on the Workplace button and select Save As.
  2. Below the identify and kind controls, click on Extra choices. (In case you’ve suppressed the Backstage space, you may skip this step.)
  3. Within the ensuing Save As dialog, click on the Instruments dropdown (to the left of the Save button) and select Basic Choices.
  4. Within the ensuing dialog (Determine A) you possibly can set two passwords: One to open the workbook and one to switch the workbook. Superior choices allow you to set encryption choices.
  5. Enter one or each passwords and click on OK.
  6. Verify the password(s) and click on OK.
  7. Click on Save.

Be sure you word the password someplace protected, simply in case you overlook it.

Determine A


Enter the password and word it in a safe place.

Setting a password to open the workbook is self-explanatory; if a consumer would not know the password, she or he cannot open the file. That offers you quite a lot of management in case you do an inexpensive job of securing passwords. In fact, you possibly can’t actually do something concerning the consumer who shares a password, however that is an altogether completely different drawback. 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 think about the info whereas withholding permission to switch something. A consumer who is aware of this password can view and modify information and in addition save modifications to the workbook.

A consumer who would not know the second password can open and think about 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. This 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 identify, which actually circumvents the method.

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

Essential issues

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

  • Anybody with the password to switch the workbook may take away the password safety. Use this explicit possibility correctly; watch out who you give the password to.
  • Informal customers will not have the experience to crack your password, however anyone should purchase password-cracking software program. Your greatest safety towards 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 is going to sluggish it down and that delay would possibly trigger the would-be cracker to place your workbook apart. Alternatively, it is positive to harass your customers. Balancing the 2 wants is usually a little bit of a high-wire act. For extra on this topic, learn Robust passwords—real looking or burdensome.
  • If you overlook 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 superb 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 won’t learn about (free PDF obtain) (TechRepublic)

Ship me your query about Workplace

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

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