How To Password Protect Excel

by Jacky Chou
Updated on

Key Takeaway:

  • Creating a password for an Excel document adds an extra layer of security to sensitive information, allowing access only to those with the password. It is important to choose a strong password that is easy to remember but difficult for others to guess.
  • Removing a password from an Excel document can be done easily by following the correct steps. It is important to note that removing a password will also remove the protection from the document, so it is advisable to keep a backup copy of the protected file.
  • Additional security measures can be taken to further protect Excel documents, such as encrypting files with a Certificate or Password or using Digital Signatures to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the document. It is important to evaluate the level of security needed for the specific document and take all necessary precautions to protect it from unauthorized access.

Protecting your confidential Excel data is essential. Do you need to secure your spreadsheets and restrict unauthorized access? This article provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to password protect your Excel documents.

How to Password Protect Excel

Password-protect Excel? No problem! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a password – this is a great way to keep unauthorized people from accessing your Excel files.
  2. When you’ve shared the document with the right people, you can remove the password. It’s easy!

How to Password Protect Excel-How to Password Protect Excel,

Image credits: chouprojects.com by Adam Duncun

Creating a Password

To set up a protective barrier for your Excel spreadsheets, you may opt to lock them with a passcode.

To do this, follow these three steps:

  1. Open the Excel worksheet you want to secure and navigate to the “File” tab.
  2. Select “Protect Workbook” and then click on “Encrypt with Password”.
  3. Input your desired combination of letters, numbers or symbols in the pop-up box and validate it by entering it a second time. Click on the “Ok” button to confirm.

It is important to note that setting passwords for workbooks only limits unauthorized users from opening files and viewing data. They cannot restrict anyone from modifying or deleting the spreadsheet content.

Remember that setting a strong password is crucial to protect confidential information and sensitive data from potential hackers.

Back in 2015, major banks and financial institutions were targeted and robbed by a group of cybercriminals who stole hundreds of millions of dollars using Microsoft Office software vulnerabilities. Such mind-boggling incidents emphasize the need for robust password protection to ensure maximum security of sensitive documents like spreadsheets.

Freeing your Excel from its password shackles? Now that’s what I call a jailbreak.

Removing a Password

To get access to your protected Excel files, you need to discover a way to bypass the password. Unlocking an encrypted worksheet is what you’d call it.

Removing a Password involves following these 6 simple steps:

  1. Open the file that should not be protected.
  2. Head over to the File tab and click on Info > Protect Workbook or Protect Sheet.
  3. Now, select Encrypt with Password option from the drop-down menu and click OK.
  4. Deselect the “Allow changes by more than one user at the same time…” checkbox if it is selected for better cautionary measures.
  5. You will be asked for a password, but instead of entering it, just leave it blank and hit OK.
  6. Resave your existing workbook/worksheets without giving any Password protection this time around.

Additionally, even though removing a password may seem pretty straightforward, keep in mind that once you remove it, anyone can view your document’s content. So please ensure that it makes sense when sharing important files.

Microsoft Office has been receiving trillions of reports and criticisms since its inception. However, Microsoft confronted numerous lawsuits between them providing new options and improvements until they finally added Password protection as one of their advanced features.

You can never be too paranoid when it comes to protecting sensitive information, so let’s add some extra layers of security.

Additional Security Measures

To boost security for sensitive data on Excel, the ‘How to Password Protect Excel‘ section offers a great guide. It has two subsections:

  1. Encrypting Excel Files
  2. Protecting Sensitive Data with Digital Signatures

These will explain the various measures that can be used to secure data & Excel files.

Additional Security Measures-How to Password Protect Excel,

Image credits: chouprojects.com by Joel Duncun

Encrypting Excel Files

To encrypt Excel files, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to encrypt.
  2. Click on ‘File’ in the top left corner.
  3. Select ‘Info’ then click on ‘Protect Workbook’ dropdown menu.
  4. Choose ‘Encrypt with Password’
  5. Type your desired password and confirm it, then click ‘OK.’ Your Excel Workbook is encrypted now.

It’s worth noting that encrypting an Excel file will affect its performance slightly, so avoid excessive use of encryption to prevent encumbered use.

Password protection is a simple yet effective way of guarding confidential information. It should be noted that longer and more complex passwords are harder for cybercriminals to break. Always remember to store passwords safely, allowing only authorized personnel access.

In fact, according to Microsoft, “Passwords with eight or more characters which contain both upper- and lower-case characters and at least one number or symbol are secure.”

Protecting Sensitive Data with Digital Signatures

Protecting crucial and sensitive information demands modern solutions. Digital signatures offer a secure method of validating the authenticity of documents, verifying their integrity, and protecting them against tampering. By using crypto techniques, digital signatures can ensure data confidentiality and non-repudiation. This cryptographic technology is highly effective in protecting sensitive data.

Digital signatures can be easily integrated into Excel spreadsheets to protect confidential information from unauthorized access or modification. They provide an additional layer of security that verifies the source and content of the spreadsheet, ensuring it has not been altered since signing. Using digital signatures to password-protect Excel spreadsheets provides data integrity guarantees for sharing information with partners or colleagues via email.

Incorporating digital signature protection into your workplace procedures can help safeguard against cybercrime in today’s increasingly sophisticated threat landscape. Digital signature technologies are widely used by banks, insurance companies, government bodies across various jurisdictions worldwide.

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets Research Private Ltd., the global market size for digital signatures was $1,013 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.0% from 2021 to reach $5,750 million by 2026.

Five Facts About How to Password Protect Excel:

  • ✅ Password protecting an Excel file can prevent unauthorized access and ensure data security. (Source: TechRepublic)
  • ✅ Excel provides multiple options for password protecting a file, including password protecting the entire workbook, individual sheets, or specific cells. (Source: Microsoft Office Support)
  • ✅ A strong password should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters and should be at least 12 characters long. (Source: Norton)
  • ✅ It is recommended to use a trustworthy and reliable antivirus software that can detect and remove any malware that may try to access password-protected Excel files. (Source: Lifewire)
  • ✅ For individuals concerned about forgetting their password, Excel provides an option to create and store a password hint, which can be useful in remembering the password. (Source: Computer Hope)

FAQs about How To Password Protect Excel

How to password protect Excel?

Protecting your Excel file with a password can help keep your data safe and secure. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to protect.
  2. Click on the “File” tab.
  3. Select “Info” from the left-hand menu.
  4. Click on the “Protect Workbook” button.
  5. Choose “Encrypt with Password”.
  6. Enter a strong password and click “OK”.

Can I password protect specific cells in Excel?

Yes, you can protect specific cells in Excel. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the cells you want to protect.
  2. Right-click and select “Format Cells”.
  3. Go to the “Protection” tab and check the box next to “Locked”.
  4. Click “OK”.
  5. Now, protect the worksheet following the steps mentioned in the previous question. Only the cells that you’ve locked will be protected.

How do I remove password protection from Excel?

To remove password protection from an Excel file, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to unprotect.
  2. Click on the “File” tab.
  3. Select “Info” from the left-hand menu.
  4. Click on the “Protect Workbook” button.
  5. Select “Encrypt with Password” and delete the existing password.
  6. Click “OK” to remove the password.

What do I do if I forget my password to unlock an Excel file?

If you forget the password of a protected Excel file, you won’t be able to access its contents unless you can remember the password. Unfortunately, there’s no way to recover or reset the password, so your only option may be to recreate the file from scratch.

Can I share a password-protected Excel file with others?

Yes, you can share a password-protected Excel file with others. However, they will need to know the password to access the contents of the file. It’s important to share the password securely and only with people you trust.

How do I add password protection in Excel for Mac?

The steps for adding password protection in Excel for Mac are similar to those for Excel on a Windows computer. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Excel file you want to protect.
  2. Click on the “File” menu.
  3. Select “Protect Workbook” from the menu.
  4. Choose “Encrypt with Password”.
  5. Enter a strong password and click “OK”.

Auther name

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of IndexsyFar & AwayLaurel & Wolf, a couple of FBA businesses, and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.comForbesOberlo, and GoDaddy.