How to Password Protect an Excel File [Step by Step Guide]

5 min readJun 8, 2022



Microsoft Excel has always remained one of the most popular spreadsheet programs since its inception. It helps users store and calculate complex data in a breeze. Usually, with no protection, anyone who has access to a document can open and edit it with no limits.

In this digital era, we may commonly encounter information leakage even without notice. If your documents contain any sensitive information, such as personal and financial data, you wouldn’t expect others to open and read them randomly. To avoid possible problems, you’d better add additional protection for your Excel documents.

In this post, we offered you a detailed guide on how to password protect an Excel file in two easy ways.

How to Password Protect an Excel File within Excel

Adding passwords to Excel files is an easy and useful way to keep outsiders from editing or stealing data in your documents. An Excel file can be protected in many ways, among which Microsoft Excel proves to be a reliable approach, together with its built-in capabilities. Let’s dive into how to password protect an Excel file:

Step 1. Open the spreadsheet that you want to add the password to with Microsoft Excel;

Step 2. Click File, then select Info in the left navigation bar;

Step 3. Select Protect Workbook and click Encrypt with Password;

Step 4. Input a password and hit OK. You need to reenter the password to complete this encryption process.

Now, your Excel document has been secured successfully. No matter who wants to open the file, he/she needs to input the preset password.

Note: You aren’t permitted to recover the file if you forget or lose the password. So, keep in mind the password, or you have to choose a trusted password manager to keep track of all the passwords you have used.

Extra Security Options in Microsoft Excel

You may have noticed that Microsoft Excel also offers six different ways to safeguard your Excel files from all aspects.

Adding an opening password to the document means you need to input a password every time you open the encrypted document. However, if you need some less strict security options, The following methods provided by MS Excel may be of huge help:

As its name suggests, if you leave this option on, your document will be opened in read-only mode by default. There is a pop-up window that asks you to choose to read or edit the spreadsheet. It’s very convenient for users who only need to check the information.

When your workbook contains more than one Excel sheets, you can add additional protection for a specific spreadsheet. When adopting this feature, viewers can only open or make changes to the unprotected sheets.

This option is designed to protect the structure of your spreadsheets. By enabling this protection, you can prevent users from changing, moving, adding, or deleting any sheet in your workbook effectively.

Restricting access to an Excel file means not allowing for certain actions, such as editing or printing. Other operations are allowed, except for those you have selected.

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature. It guarantees a signer’s identity to the highest degree and complies with the strictest legal regulations. Using a digital signature tells people you are the one who is responsible for this file, and no one else can make edits.

Marking your workbook as “final,” indicates that the file doesn’t need to be changed anymore. All typing, editing, and proofing capabilities will be disabled because the document has been “finalized.”

How to Password Protect an Excel File with System

If you’re confused about these different ways of adding passwords to your Excel sheets, there’s also a more flexible way to achieve this which is offered by your system.

Follow the steps below if you only need to restrict others from opening or editing your Excel documents.

Step 1. Open your workbook and click File > Save As;

Step 2. Choose a new category; hit Tools and select General Options…;

Step 3. Set a password to restrict access to opening or modifying your spreadsheet, then click OK to apply your settings.

This method of password-protecting an Excel file is much simpler and understandable for people who only have basic encryption needs. Anyone without a correct password won’t open or edit the file.

The Bottom Line

It’s never a hassle to add passwords to Excel files, especially when they contain some sensitive messages. Of course, the most important thing is that you need to make sure you remember all passwords correctly. After all, it’s almost impossible to access the file without the password.

In addition to protecting Excel files with passwords, you can also learn how to password protect a Word document and get the latest technology information at the SwifDoo PDF’s blog.

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I’m fascinated by the influence of evolving technologies, computer software/hardware as well as social behavioral norms.