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Protecting Excel Sheets with a Password

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How to add a password to Excel sheets

Add passwords to Excel workbooks and control who can open and edit your data. Learn how to create a password on Excel and how to unprotect Excel sheets.

Do you wonder how to protect an Excel spreadsheet or how to unprotect it? And how to lock a single sheet with a password?

Protect your worksheet from unauthorised edits that would potentially delete all your work.

Excel is a great tool to manage finances and budget reports but we don’t want this information to end in the wrong hands. If you don’t trust your colleagues or want to protect your clients data, lock your Excel spreadsheets with a password!

Ready to learn how to do so?

Protect a specific sheet in Excel by right clicking its name and selecting Protect Sheet

Then, enter a password and select the actions you allow other users to take. Finally, click OK: your worksheet is protected!

Note that if you forget your password, Microsoft Excel can’t retrieve it. Make sure to use a memorable password when protecting your data on Excel!

In this example, we allow users to select any cells and insert new columns.

If a user tries to add a row, it’s not possible (the action is not clickable) but if they want to add a column, they can (the action is clickable)!

You will notice a lock next to a protected worksheet. To unlock a protected sheet on Excel, follow the steps below.

Excel protected sheet with a lock next to it.

To unprotect an Excel sheet, right click the sheet name and select Unprotect Sheet… Enter the password.

If you want to modify a password for a specific worksheet, right click the sheet name and select Unprotect Sheet

Enter the password and follow the same steps as shared previously to create a new password.

Sometimes, protecting specific sheets is not enough for your convenience and you may want to password protect Excel entirely.

Protect your entire Excel workbook by adding a password to open it and/or to modify it.

  • Click File.
  • Click Passwords…
  • The File Passwords window opens: choose a password to open and/or modify your workbook.

We recommend creating each password individually as Excel will ask you to confirm it. You can’t confirm 2 passwords at the time.

Make sure to use memorable passwords when protecting your data on Excel because Microsoft can’t retrieve forgotten passwords!

Now, you know how to password protect your Excel files and spreadsheets!

Join our MS Excel Spreadsheet Course and receive a Certificate to add to your LinkedIn profile.