Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Saving a Workbook Using Passwords.

Saving a Workbook Using Passwords

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 3, 2015)

Excel includes a feature that allows you to save a workbook using a password so that only others who have the password can access the file. This form of protection can stop others from using a workbook unless they know your password. To save a workbook using password protection, follow these steps:

  1. Press F12. Excel displays the familiar Save As dialog box.
  2. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify a file name and location, as you normally do.
  3. Click on the Tools button at the bottom of the Save As dialog box, and then choose General Options. Excel displays the General Options dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The General Options dialog box.

The General Options dialog box contains boxes where you can enter two passwords. Each password controls a different level of protection. If you fill in the first password field, you are specifying the password someone needs to know simply to open the workbook. If you fill in the second field, then someone needs to know that password to make any changes to the workbook. Understand that they can still save the open workbook under a new name, but they cannot make any changes and save them back into the same disk file.

You should set your passwords as desired, and then click on OK to dismiss the General Options dialog box. You are asked to confirm your password, and then you can continue to save your file (using the Save As dialog box) as you normally would.

As a final caveat, you should note that none of the native (built-in) password schemes in Excel are particularly robust. If you want the best protection possible, you should look to a third-party solution for encrypting and protecting your workbooks.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6119) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Saving a Workbook Using Passwords.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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