If you are using a computer, you probably have some Microsoft Excel documents on your Mac or PC that you do not want others to find and read.
After all, Excel is used by both ordinary consumers, companies, government institutions and millions of other people around the world. The best way to keep your information safe is to learn that password protects an Excel file.
Add a password
Step 1: In Excel, open the document you want to secure with a password.
Step 2: Click on "File", followed by "Info."
Step 3: Click the "Protect Workbook" button. From the drop-down menu, select "Encrypt with password".
Step 4: Excel will prompt you to enter a password. Choose one that is complicated and unique and note it in the password manager.
It's important to remember or have a copy of it in a safe place, as if you forgot it, you will lose access to the Excel file and recover it will be very difficult.
From now on, when you try to open the file, Excel will prompt you to enter your newly chosen password.
Note: : This password only protects the individual document, not all Excel documents on the computer. If you want all Excel files to have the same protection, you must password-protect each file individually or look at more advanced protection.
To see if an Excel file has password protection or not, check the Document Info tab and look at the "Protect Workbook" section. It will tell you if a password is required to open it or not.
Now that you have password protected your most important files, it may be worth considering adding additional security layers to your system. The easiest way to protect a large number of files is to encrypt them. Fortunately, encryption programs are not hard to find. There are several freeware options, and Windows 10 Professional users have a built-in encryption tool called Bitlocker.
Additional Security Options
Excel also allows you to apply more custom security options to your file if needed. It's important to know what these other options make so you can create the right security for your project. Under "Protect documents" you will have several additional features that may be useful:
Mark as last : This selects the file as done, allowing other people to know that they should not make any changes. This will not protect the file behind a password, so it really does not give you any security.
Protect Current Sheet : This protects the currently selected worksheet with a password so people can not make any changes. It's a handy option if there's only one sheet in the workbook that you want to protect, and you do not mind if people can see the information – you just do not want them to mess up with anything. You will notice that there is also an option to do this with "Workbook Structure" that protects data in the workbook from changes unless people have the password.
Restrict Access : Restrict Access is an interesting option used by organizations where IT has created security templates that essentially lock Excel files to only certain people or groups. It is useful in larger organizations where some people can access the file, but not all.
Add a digital signature : This easily verifies the file as the real version, useful when sent to other people or organizations, and when you're sure it's not changed. It also helps files from being spy when you send them digitally.
Want to learn more about it? Here's our crash course guide to encryption and another about how to get started hiding files in Windows 10.