When we talk about protecting a file with a key or password, in most cases it means that being able to open that file and see what information it contains requires that we enter the password with which it has been blocked. However, when we talk about an Excel file we must take into account that it allows us to perform different locks.

On the one hand, it is possible to lock an Excel file so that it cannot be opened by anyone who does not have its password, but also, it is also possible lock data on one or more sheetsas well as the book structure. Therefore, it is possible to establish different passwords in each of the cases.

How to put password to an Excel

If what we want is to prevent someone we do not want from opening an Excel in which we keep certain personal or confidential information, then what we are interested in is blocking or protecting said file with a password. In this way, only those who know this key will be able to open the file in question. In other words, when we double-click on the file, a small window will open in which we must indicate the unlock password. If we know it, the file will open without problems, but if we do not know it or we entered it in the wrong way, the document will not open.

For it:

We open the file in Excel. Click on the menu option Archive. Then we select the option information. Now we unfold the tab that appears next to the option Protect book. We select the option Encrypt with password, which is the option that allows us to establish a key to open the file. We introduce the key. We press To accept. We repeat the same password. Click on To accept.

From that moment on, the Excel file will be protected by the password that we have just created. Therefore, every time we try to open this file, a small window will open asking us for the access key. Only in the case that we indicate the password correctly will the document be opened.

Protect the structure of the book with a password

Although, as we have just seen, it is possible to protect an Excel file with a password, once we open the document we may want to protect any change in the structure of the workbook. For example, we want to prevent anyone from adding new sheets or modifying existing ones. That is important to know that protecting a book does not mean that we cannot modify the cells of a sheet, since we will only be protecting its structure.

In this case, what we have to do is:

We open the Excel. Click on the menu option Check. We choose the option Protect book. We introduce the password with which we want to protect the structure of the Excel. We press To accept. We repeat again the Password. Click again on To accept to save the changes.

protect book excel

From that moment, the structure of the book will be protected with the password that we have just indicated. Therefore, although someone can open an Excel, nobody who does not have this key will be able to modify the workbook by adding or modifying the sheets in it.

How to password protect the data in an Excel sheet

Another option that the Microsoft suite tool allows us is to protect the data in an Excel sheet. That is, we can choose the sheet or sheets that we want and protect them with a password so that no one who does not know it can modify the cells or data of said sheet. In this way, the data and information stored in it can be viewed but cannot be edited or modified.

For it:

We open the Excel. We select the option from the main menu Check. We click on the option Protect Sheet. We introduce the password with which we want to protect the structure of the Excel. We press To accept. We repeat again the Password. Click again on To accept to save the changes.

protect sheet excel

Now, anyone who tries to modify any data on the sheet or sheets protected with a password will see that it is not possible unless they enter the key to unlock them.

Other options to protect an Excel

The Office tool offers other options when it comes to protecting a file to prevent someone from modifying or accessing it. In addition to those mentioned above, from the main menu option file> information we can perform the following actions:

Always open as read only: The fact of checking this option means that the Excel file will be in read mode and thus we can avoid any accidental changes by asking readers to participate in the edition.
Encrypt with password: As its name suggests, this option allows us to encrypt an Excel with a password. In this way, if we try to open the file, we will be asked to indicate the password. If we do not know it, we cannot see the information stored in it. It is the same option that we mentioned earlier.
Protect current sheet: It is also another option explained above. Therefore, from the File> Information option we can also protect the data stored in a sheet of our Excel with a password.

Protect book structure: It is another option that in addition to being able to access from the Review menu, we have it available from File> Information. As we indicated previously, this option allows protecting the structure of the Excel workbook with a key. If we do not have that password we will not be able to add new sheets, for example.
Restrict access: This option grants access to Excel to certain people but removes rights to be able to edit, copy or print.
Add a digital signature: It ensures the integrity of the Excel workbook by adding an invisible digital signature.
Mark as end: This option simply informs readers that it is a final version.