Protecting Excel Spreadsheets with a Password

Microsoft Excel includes the ability to password protect workbooks in a couple of different ways. While the vast majority of spreadsheets usually don’t require the protection of a password, there may be cases where you want to ensure that others can’t gain access to a spreadsheet that contains sensitive information.

Excel allows you to password-protect spreadsheets in two different ways. The first is to apply a password that must be supplied in order to open a file, and the other is to apply a password that must be supplied in order to modify a file. In other words, an Excel spreadsheet can be protected with 2 passwords – the first allows the user to view the file (but not make changes to that file), while the other allows users who enter the correct password to modify the file as required.

The process by which password are applied to Excel files is simple to perform, but not particularly obvious. To begin the process, click File > Save As. In the upper-right corner of the Save As window click the Tools drop-down menu, and then select General Options. In the File Sharing section, enter a password to open the file (if necessary) along with a password to modify the file (if required). Either (or both) types of passwords can be applied, depending on your needs. When you click OK you’ll be prompted to confirm the passwords you’ve just entered. As always, don’t forget the passwords you’ve entered…

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.