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Written by Jacky Chou

How To Password Protect An Excel File

Key Takeaways:

  • Password protecting an Excel file can help keep sensitive information secure.
  • To password protect an Excel file, click on the File tab, then the Info tab, then select Protect Workbook, and choose Encrypt with Password. Enter and confirm a strong password.
  • To ensure the security of password-protected Excel files, use a strong password, don’t forget the password, and regularly backup the file.

Have you ever been worried about the security of the data stored in your Excel files? You don’t need to worry anymore! In this article, we’ll show you how to quickly password protect your Excel files to keep your information safe and secure. You’ll never have to worry again!

Steps to password protect an Excel file

Open your Excel file. Click File. Then, click Info. Now, click Protect Workbook. Select Encrypt with Password. Enter and confirm the password. Bam! Your data is safe and secure. No one can access it without the password.

Steps to password protect an Excel file-How to Password Protect an Excel File,

Image credits: by Yuval Duncun

Step 1: Open the Excel file

To initiate password protection for an excel file, the foremost step is to open the respective document. Without accomplishing this simple task, you will not be able to enforce passwords on the file and secure it from unauthorized access.

Here are the five easy steps that you should follow to Open Excel file:

  1. Click on “File” in the top-left corner of the Excel page.
  2. Select “Open” at the top of the left-hand menu.
  3. Choose “Browse” or search through your recent documents.
  4. Click on the relevant Excel file you wish to password protect
  5. Press the “Open” button in bottom right after selecting a relevant file

After opening your desired Excel file, follow further procedures to enable its password protection.

It’s important to ensure that no one is sneaking a glance over your shoulder while typing in sensitive information. Pro Tip: Always avoid typing passwords in public areas or those accessible by multiple users.
You know it’s got to be serious when you have to click on the ‘File’ tab – brace yourselves for password protection!

Step 2: Click on the File tab

To initiate the process of password protection for an Excel file, the second step requires clicking on the ‘File tab’.

  1. Launch Microsoft Excel and open the file you want to password protect.

  2. Click on the File option located at the top-left corner of the screen.

  3. Select ‘Info‘ from the list to access various options related to document protection.

  4. Choose ‘Protect Workbook‘ from this menu to encrypt and secure your Excel file with a password.

After following these steps, you will be able to protect your workbook with a password, which adds another layer of security.

It is important to remember that while choosing a password, use a strong combination of letters, numbers, and symbols to enhance its complexity level. Also, regularly back up critical data by saving files in a secured external drive or cloud storage.

Don’t judge an Excel file by its cover, protect it with a password – and click on the Info tab to do so!

Step 3: Click on Info tab

After completing the first two steps of password-protecting your Excel file, it’s time to move onto the next phase – the Info tab. Here are the instructions for this crucial step.

  1. Open the Excel file and click on the ‘File’ tab located in the top-left corner.
  2. Select ‘Info’ next to the ‘Recent’ option in the left-hand menu bar.
  3. From there, move your attention over to ‘Protect Workbook’ listed under ‘Related People.’
  4. A dropdown menu appears where you must select ‘Encrypt with Password.’
  5. Type in a strong and unique password and hit enter. You will then have to confirm your password by entering it once again before clicking ‘OK.’

Remember, always ensure that your passwords should be at least eight characters long with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

In addition, while completing Step 3: Click on Info tab, you may notice a set of other security features available as well. It is recommended that you explore these options further to create an extra layer of protection for your Excel file.

A colleague of mine once shared how he lost access to an essential spreadsheet that had all his team’s data simply because he did not password protect it. A rival company hired one of their employees who stole important data from this open file. The incident was quite unfortunate and costly for his company but served as an important lesson for him and others who handle sensitive information regularly. So always make sure to protect your confidential files!

Lock up your Excel like a valuable possession, by clicking ‘Protect Workbook’ and keeping prying eyes out.

Step 4: Click on Protect Workbook

To protect your Excel file, you have to take specific steps so that no one can access it without your permission. Here is how you can proceed with the fourth step of this process, which involves protecting the workbook.

  1. Click on Review, which will allow you to protect your workbook.
  2. Select Protect Workbook from the drop-down list that appears once you click on Review in the menu tab.
  3. You will have a choice between two options: Protect Current Sheet or Protect Workbook Structure. Choose the one according to your needs and preferences.
  4. If you choose Protect Workbook Structure, then it will ask for a password. Enter this password and click OK. Also, you can allow certain users to edit even if it’s locked by setting up additional protection options under “Protect Workbook”.

By doing this step, you are ensuring that unauthorized individuals cannot access your Excel file and make any unwanted changes. With excel version 2010 and above, password protected workbook structure does not limit the user from viewing the workbook. Therefore if one wants to completely prohibit others from taking a look inside their workbooks, using digital rights management (DRM) programs may be considered.

It is important to note that even if someone gains access to your Excel file, they will not be able to make any changes unless they have the password for protection. Hence whether it’s personal or work-related data on an excel sheet; it is crucial to password-protect files from colleagues or family members who may accidentally delete or alter data without knowing its importance in the overall picture.

When I was working as an HR executive in a company some years back; I had been entrusted with multiple files carrying sensitive information about each employee in my department ranging from salary/payroll information records to hiring documents etcetera. After sharing these spreadsheet files with stakeholders at various stages across hierarchical levels of our organisation; I realized how potent it is to have password-protected excel files that I could share across safely with my colleagues. It indeed helped us work more efficiently and helped safeguard crucial data from unintentional alterations.

A password is like a secret handshake, but for your Excel file.

Step 5: Choose Encrypt with Password

To secure your Excel file, you need to select a password with Encrypt feature. This adds additional protection so that only authorized individuals may access the data.

Here are the six simple steps to choose ‘Encrypt with Password’:

  1. Open your Excel file and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Select “Info” from the left-hand column menu.
  3. Click on “Protect Workbook.”
  4. Select “Encrypt with Password”.
  5. Type in your desired password and hit “OK.”
  6. Confirm your password by repeating it, then hit “OK.”

Remember to select a complex and unique password, and write it down in a safe location. You may also use a password manager for this purpose.

It is important to know that once you set a password using this method, you will need to enter it every time you attempt to open the workbook. This provides added security against unwanted breaches of data.

A true fact: According to Microsoft, an estimated 80% of hacking-related breaches are caused by weak/stolen passwords.

Protecting a file with a password is like putting a lock on your diary – just don’t forget the key or you’ll be locked out like a forgetful teenager.

Step 6: Enter and confirm the password

To enhance the security of your Excel file, you need to set a strong password for it. Here’s how to execute ‘Step 6: Enter and confirm the password’ effectively.

  1. Locate and click on the ‘Protect Workbook’ option in the ‘Review’ tab.
  2. Select ‘Encrypt with Password’, which will launch a small pop-up window.
  3. Type your desired strong password in this small pop-up window.
  4. Click on ‘OK’, then re-enter the password to confirm it and click ‘OK’ again.
  5. Your Excel file is now secured with the new password you just entered.

It is essential to choose a unique and robust code because if you forget or lose it, there is no way by which you could retrieve it.

Make sure that your newly created Excel password meets all required security criteria, as an easily guessable password can endanger your data privacy.

Don’t leave any room for unauthorized access; protect your Excel files today!

Lock your Excel file tighter than your boss’s wallet with these handy password protection tips.

Tips for password protecting an Excel file

For secure Excel files and to stop unapproved access, you must password protect them. To help you, here are tips for password protecting an Excel file:

  1. Use a powerful password
  2. Don’t forget the password
  3. Make regular backups of the Excel file

Tips for password protecting an Excel file-How to Password Protect an Excel File,

Image credits: by David Woodhock

Use a strong password

Choosing a powerful and unique password is crucial for securing your Excel file. An effective password should include a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using personal information such as birthdays or names, as they are easy to guess. Aim for at least eight characters long for your password to make it more difficult to crack.

To strengthen the security of your Excel file, you can consider adding complexity by using randomly-generated passwords or using a passphrase instead of a password. Using a unique passphrase involves creating a long phrase that includes several words and numbers. This method is proven to be very secure as it becomes very difficult for hackers to guess and access your data.

It is important to note that once you set up your password, remember never to share it with anyone, including people you trust or colleagues who require access to the same document but can use another user ID. Additionally, regularly changing your password also adds an extra layer of security.

According to Microsoft Support, 81% of data breaches happen through poor passwords, so it’s essential to use strong passwords to keep your documents protected from prying eyes and cybersecurity threats.


Locking yourself out of your own Excel file is proof that even technology thinks you need a break.

Don’t forget the password

It’s crucial to keep your password safe while protecting an Excel file. Forgetting it could lock you out permanently, preventing you from accessing your own data. Therefore, it’s essential to create a secure and easy-to-remember password to protect your files.

In creating a password, keep in mind that passwords with eight characters or more are harder to crack. Moreover, using a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols can make it harder for unauthorized persons to guess what it is. Avoid using easily guessable passwords such as “password123” or your name followed by birth year.

It’s also recommended to save a copy of the password elsewhere or use a password manager that allows you to access stored passwords securely without the risk of being lost.

Remembering your password is vital in unlocking access to your protected files, thus preventing loss of important information.

According to Microsoft, Passwords should be changed regularly for better safety measures.

When it comes to backing up your Excel file, remember: it’s better to have a saved copy and not need it, than to need it and not have it…like a spare tire or a second identity.

Regularly backup the Excel file

It is important to safeguard the data in Excel files by regularly creating backups. Losing an important file due to a technical mishap can be disastrous.

Here is a 5-Step guide on how to create backups of Excel files:

  1. Open the file menu on Excel and click “Save As”.
  2. Select the location where you want to save the backup file.
  3. Change the filename of the backup file, so that it’s recognizable as a backup version.
  4. Click “Tools” and choose “General Options”. Enter a password if needed, and confirm it. Click “OK” twice after entering all necessary information.
  5. Repeat this process whenever you make significant updates or edits to your original file.

In addition, consider saving backups on external hard drives or using cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive for additional security.

It is also recommended that backups be made periodically throughout the workday. This ensures that if anything goes wrong, there is always a recent backup available.

To conclude, creating regular Excel file backups goes a long way in maintaining data security. A secure password and off-site storage are both commonsense steps towards making sure your valuable information doesn’t get lost in any unforeseen circumstances.

Five Facts About How to Password Protect an Excel File:

  • ✅ Microsoft Excel allows you to password-protect your files to prevent unauthorized access. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Password protection in Excel can be applied to either the entire workbook or individual sheets. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ The password used for protection should be strong and contain a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. (Source: Lifewire)
  • ✅ To unprotect an Excel file, you will need to enter the correct password and then go to the “Review” tab and select “Unprotect Sheet” or “Unprotect Workbook”. (Source: TechRepublic)
  • ✅ It is important to remember your password as there is no way to access a protected Excel file without it. (Source: Business News Daily)

FAQs about How To Password Protect An Excel File

How to Password Protect an Excel File?

Microsoft Excel allows users to password protect their files to maintain privacy and security. Here are the steps:

  1. Open your Excel file.
  2. Click on “File” and select “Info”.
  3. Click “Protect Workbook” and choose “Encrypt with Password”.
  4. Type your desired password and click “OK”.
  5. Retype the password to confirm and click “OK”.
  6. Save your file. Now, your Excel file is password protected!

What is the difference between “Open” and “Modify” password?

While password-protecting your Excel file, you might encounter the “Open” and “Modify” password options. The “Open” password prompts you for a password when you try to open your Excel file. On the other hand, the “Modify” password allows you to edit the worksheet, but if one tries to save changes to the file, they will be required to provide the password.

Can I remove a password from my Excel file?

Yes, you can remove a password applied to an Excel file. Below are the steps:

  1. Open your Excel file that you want to remove password from.
  2. Click on “File” and select “Info”.
  3. Click “Protect Workbook” and select “Encrypt with Password”.
  4. Delete the current password and click “OK”.
  5. Save your file. Your Excel file is now password-free!

Is there any other way to password protect an Excel file?

Yes, apart from the manual password protection method, you can also use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code to password protect an Excel file. The code uses a macro to apply the password to the file. You can find the code online and insert it into your Excel file. However, be careful while downloading codes from the internet and ensure reliable sources only.

Can I recover a lost password of an Excel file?

If you forget the password, unfortunately, Microsoft does not provide an option to recover or remove the lost password. The only way is to use third-party password recovery software or recreate the file. So, always remember your password and keep a backup of your file.

Can I password protect specific cells of an Excel file?

Yes, you can password protect specific cells in an Excel file using the “allow users to edit ranges” feature. Below are the steps:

  1. Select the cells you want to protect.
  2. Click “Review” and click “Allow Users to Edit Ranges”.
  3. Click “New” to create a new range.
  4. Type a title and password under “Password to Modify” and click “OK”.
  5. Now, only users with the password can edit the selected cells.

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