Encrypting Workbooks in Excel

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For workbooks that contain sensitive information, Excel allows you to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to them. The entire workbook can be encrypted and will require a password every time it is opened, ensuring only those with the code will be given access. This Excel tutorial is going to teach you exactly how to encrypt a workbook so that it is completely protected from unauthorized entry.

Note that you should only do this if you do not want your data readily available. If your employees still need to obtain the information, then you should rather protect your workbook instead of encrypt it entirely. The first step is to locate your Encryption feature. Go to File on your Excel toolbar:

    • If you are using Excel 2013, then click on the Info tab and then on Protect Workbook and finally Encrypt with Password:

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    • If Excel 2010 and older versions are being used, then go to the Prepare option and select Encrypt Document from the drop-down menu:

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Your Encryption dialog box will open in a small window. It will ask you to enter a password. Please choose one that is easily remembered and store it safely, as Excel will not recover it for you. If you use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, as well as punctuation marks and numbers, your workbook will have better security.

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Simply type in the password you desire and click on OK at the bottom. You will immediately be sent your Confirm Password dialog box and you should enter the password again before clicking on OK.

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Now your workbook has been protected from unauthorized access. Anyone opening the workbook will be told that protection is in place and they will need to enter the password. If they type it in correctly, Excel will give access to the user.