Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. 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: Using a Single Password for Multiple Workbooks.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)
Bill has a set of multiple workbooks that he frequently uses as a suite. To prevent prying eyes from the contents of these workbooks, he has set a password for each of them. Bill uses a menu workbook as a gateway to the other workbooks in the suite. The workbook contains hyperlinks to the individual workbooks, providing him with quick access to the workbooks in his suite.
Since Excel protects, via password, each workbook on a file-level basis, whenever Bill clicks a hyperlink, he needs to enter the password for the workbook he is trying to access. He wonders if there is a way to simply enter the password once (it is the same password for all of the workbooks in his suite) and have access to all the workbooks without the necessity of repeatedly entering the password.
The short answer is that this cannot be done since Excel treats each file separately. Switch to a separate file via your hyperlink, and Excel once again asks for the password. There are only two possible ways to avoid the annoyance. The first is to combine all the separate workbooks into a single workbook. This may not be an optimal solution, for any number of reasons. (For instance, you may need to distribute individual workbooks to other users. If you combine all the workbooks into one, you remove this capability.)
The other solution is to use a macro to handle switching between workbooks, rather than using hyperlinks. There are many ways that such a macro system could be set up, but one simple way that mimics the hyperlink method is to create a new worksheet that will act as your "gateway." In the cells where you would have added hyperlinks, instead place the full path and filename of each workbook you want to link to. You should end up with a list of file specifications for your workbooks.
Now, right-click the sheet tab of this new worksheet. Excel displays a Context menu from which you should select View Code. This displays the VBA Editor, with the code pane displayed for the worksheet. Enter the following macro into the code pane:
Private Sub Worksheet_BeforeDoubleClick _ (ByVal Target As Excel.Range, Cancel As Boolean) Dim sPW As String Dim sFile As String sPW = "password" 'Change to your password sFile = Target.Value If sFile <> "" Then If Dir(sFile) <> "" Then Workbooks.Open _ FileName:=sFile, _ password:=sPW Cancel = True End If End If End Sub
The only thing you should have to change in the code is the password you want used for the workbooks you are accessing. (The code assumes that the same password is used for all of the workbooks.)
Press Alt+Q to exit the VBA Editor, and you are back at your worksheet. Save the workbook, and then double-click any of the cells containing the path and filenames. What Excel does is to then pass control to the macro which grabs the path and filename and then opens that workbook.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8109) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using a Single Password for Multiple Workbooks.
Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!
If you are afraid of messing up a workbook, consider doing your work on a clone of the workbook. Excel provides an easy ...Discover More
All good things must come to an end at some point. When you are done sharing your workbook with others, this is how you ...Discover More
Not satisfied with the way that default workbooks and worksheets look in Excel? You can easily create your own defaults ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.