How to protect your work in excel spreadsheets


Microsoft Office is a great tool that many use in the workplace and to run their business. The program is also used in many academic settings as a way to create and submit homework. While the sharing capabilities of these programs can be helpful, there are times in which you need to make sure that your work cannot be changed. Furthermore, from time to time you may find that your work in excel needs to be protected so that only you have access to make changes. Whether you want to lock cells in excel or protect an entire spreadsheet, this article will identify how and why it is important to protect your work.

  1. The first thing you need to do is decide how protected you need your spreadsheet to be. There are several options and ways in which you can add security to your excel work. Determine if you need the entire spreadsheet locked as “read only” or if you need specific tabs or cells locked. Another option is to make the excel sheet password protected so that anyone can see the information, but only those with the password can make edits or changes.
  2. Once you have determined the level of security that you want to provide within your spreadsheet, you can move forward with your project. Here are some ways to secure your work, in simplified terms.
    • Lock cells. There may be certain cells that you want protected. To do this return to the format cells dialog box and click on the protection tab. Click and select the locked check box and click ok. In Excel, click the review tab and then click to protect the sheet. You can add a password if you want. Click ok and your cells will be locked.
    • Lock a tab. To do this, go to the worksheet tab that you want to secure. Select the cells that you want to allow others to be able to edit and right click anywhere in the sheet. Select format cells and then find your way to the protection tab and clear locked if you want to unlock it.  
    • Password protect. To apply a password to your spreadsheet, click on File and then Save As. When the file-save window pops up, name your file and then select Tools in the drop down menu. In the menu, select the general options section. This will allow you to password protect the entire worksheet. This prevents anyone else from opening the sheet or viewing it.  
  3. If you need more protection, you may want to encrypt your spreadsheet. To do so, all you need to do is click on the Microsoft Office button. Then point the cursor to prepare and click on “encrypt document.” A password box will appear where you can add a password. After you have clicked ok, you will be prompted to reenter the password in the box and click ok. Save the password somewhere safe and easily accessible. After you have done that, save the file.  
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