Working with Security Options in Excel
Of course, Excel is one of the most important programs for business operations. It follows that there are a plethora of reasons why you’d want to secure your Excel workbook. Maybe you share it with other clients or colleagues and don’t want critical information deleted or modified. Or maybe you’ve heard about how hackers can use Excel macros to install malware on computers to infect them.
Regardless of why, you want to know how to protect yourself– and you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to delve into some important security options in Excel and give you tips on how to work with them to ensure your Excel workbook stays safe and secure.
Why Protect Your Excel Workbook and Files?
Excel is one of the most used programs for business operations. Securing your Excel workbook gives you peace of mind that your data and information are safe. These features can protect your files from being deleted, information from being modified, and prevent unauthorized access. It’s even more critical if you deal with sensitive customer information or company data that are essential for your business to thrive.
Understanding Excel Protection and Security
Excel comes with a host of protection and security features that will only give access to users who have the correct password and apply permissions to certain individuals or groups. It works on three different levels: file, worksheet, and workbook.
- At the file level, the entire file is password-protected so only authorized users can open it.
- At the worksheet level, the elements within the worksheet are protected which puts limits on what actions users can perform.
- At the workbook level, the workbook’s structure is protected and users can’t modify anything.
However, it’s important that you keep your password in a secure place. If the password is lost or forgotten, it can be difficult to access the file, worksheet, or workbook. Also, make sure you’re using a strong password and change them periodically to ensure the integrity of your encryption. If you have issues with your password-protected files, don’t worry! We may be able to help solve the problem for you.
Enabling Excel File Protection
File-level encryption allows you to control who can access and view your files. At this level, you can protect your Excel through two options: password protection and Read-Only. Follow these steps to enable file-level protection:
- Click on File then Info
- Select the Protect Workbook option then click Encrypt with Password
- Type in your chosen Password then click OK
- Confirm your Password and then click OK again
Now, your file is password-protected. However, Excel also provides some additional security features to secure your files.
Mark Final makes the file Read Only and prevents viewers from modifying the file. However, it won’t have password protection.
Restrict Permission allows you to give certain people or groups access to the file, which makes it ideal for larger companies with different levels of personnel that should be able to see the file and others who shouldn’t.
Finally, Add a Digital Signature provides an authentication signature that proves the file is legit.
Enabling Excel Worksheet Protection
Worksheet protection gives you security within the worksheet to control who can make changes and who can’t. You can hide formulas, lock users to specific cells, and prevent rows or columns from being deleted.
Here’s how to enable worksheet-level protections:
- First, select the Worksheet you want to protect
- Choose the cells or cell range you want to apply permissions
- Right-click the highlighted cell(s) and select Format Cells
- Click the Protection tab
- Uncheck the ‘Locked’ box and then click OK
- Now, go to the Review Tab and select Protect Sheet
- Choose permissions in the ‘Allow all users of this worksheet to’ section
- Once you’ve made your selections, click OK
Enabling Excel Workbook Protection
Workbook-level protection allows you to control permissions and access to worksheets within your workbook. This level of protection is ideal when you have multiple worksheets and multiple people/departments that work within them and want to control who can see/access what.
Here’s how to enable workbook-level protections:
- Click on the Review tab
- Select Protect Workbook
- Structure protects the data within the workbook but you can also select Windows to prevent people from modifying the window
- Enter a Password, Reenter the Password, and then select OK
Excel Macro Security
As mentioned above, macros have been used to inject malware on computers such as ransomware. Of course, you can protect yourself by not clicking or downloading Excel files from suspicious websites and emails.
However, there are security features in Excel that give you an extra layer of protection, such as only allowing macros from a trusted developer.
Here’s how to enable Excel macro protections:
- Select the Developer tab
- Look in the Code section and select Macro Security
- Here, you can select all the macro security options you want to implement
In summary, it’s important that you have the right protection to prevent unauthorized access to files and stop them from being changed. It can be catastrophic if essential data is compromised. However, we hope this overview of what Excel security options are available and how to enable them helps you make the correct decision to secure your data.
Of course, if you’re in need of more security advice, help recovering a password, or have any other Excel-related questions and problems, we at ExcelHelp are here to assist. Feel free to contact us and speak with one of our friendly professionals to get the ExcelHelp you need today!