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How to Password Protect Excel Files

Joshua earned an MBA from USF and writes mostly about software and technology.

While password protection creates an extra step, it also provides a layer of security that you may end up wishing you had.

While password protection creates an extra step, it also provides a layer of security that you may end up wishing you had.

I’m sure there are some Excel files on your computer that either contains sensitive personal or business data. These files should have a layer of security like a required password to keep the wrong people out of your business. Here I discuss how to set up a password to protect an Excel file.

1. Choose File

The first step to protecting your workbook is to click on the file menu button in the top left-hand corner of your workbook.

The illustration shows a Microsoft Excel worksheet with a red circle that indicates where the File tab is located.

The illustration shows a Microsoft Excel worksheet with a red circle that indicates where the File tab is located.

2. Choose Protect Workbook

You should already be in the info section of the file menu by default. If you aren't, select info from the file menu. Next, choose the first option "Protect Workbook."

Password-protecting your Excel workbook gives you more control over what changes are made to it.

Password-protecting your Excel workbook gives you more control over what changes are made to it.

3. Choose Encrypt With Password

Next, choose the option "Encrypt with Password" and be prepared to use a password.

Choose the best layer of security for your situation.

Choose the best layer of security for your situation.

4. Enter Password Twice

Now enter a password in the encrypt document window. After you click OK, enter the same password again into the new window.

Be sure to know your password because if you forget the set the password it's virtually impossible to crack the code.

Be sure to know your password because if you forget the set the password it's virtually impossible to crack the code.

Password Protected

At this point, the workbook is now password protected.

The illustration above shows the workbook in password-protected mode.

The illustration above shows the workbook in password-protected mode.

Once the Excel file is closed, the password that was previously saved will need to be entered to access the file.

Be sure that your password is not too complex as you will not be able to unlock the workbook without it.

Be sure that your password is not too complex as you will not be able to unlock the workbook without it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Joshua Crowder