Don’t let others mess up your spreadsheet!

There are two kinds of Excel users – administrators and simple users.

Sometimes, a spreadsheet will be a classified document that should only be shown to certain people. Sometimes, you have to put considerable effort into an Excel template with all the nice and tidy formatting and complex formulas, and you will not want others to make any changes without notifying you. In either case, a password can help with that!

Secure your spreadsheet with a password
  • While you are saving an Excel file, go to the File tab – Save as
  • Find the Tools button in the bottom and choose General Options3Untitled
  • If you want to require that others need a password to view your spreadsheet, add a password in Password to open
  • If you want to require that others need a password to edit your spreadsheet,  add a password in Password to modify
Note: If you unfortunately forget your password, there is no easy way to get your data back. You can Microsoft Excel’s official warning here.
Lock certain cells with a password
  • Right-click on the cell you want to protect and choose Format Cells
  • Under Protection tab, check the box before Locked


  • Then go to Review tab, click on Protect Sheet or Protect Workbook


  • Add a password to protect the sheet or workbook


  • After all of this, when you go back to edit the selected cell, you will see a warning like this:


  • Whenever you want to unlock the cell, just go back to Review tab, and choose Unprotect Sheet or Unprotect Workbook

As always, if  you have questions about this or other aspects of Excel, please stop by the Weigle Information Commons during my Excel office hours, and I will help to troubleshoot your problem!

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