Protect Workbooks in Excel

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Not only are you able to protect worksheets, but you can protect your workbooks as well. Although this does not guard against inadvertent changes of data within cells, it does prevent people from fiddling with the structure and layout of the spreadsheets in your workbook. If you want to protect specific information within your worksheets, then you need to command Excel to protect your worksheet as well. This Excel tutorial is going to teach you exactly how to protect your workbooks from accidental sabotage.

The first step is to go to your Changes box under the Review tab of your Excel toolbar. Click on the downwards-facing arrow belonging to the Protect Workbook command icon. A drop-down menu will appear that has four options for you to use. Click on Protect Structure and Windows under the Restrict Editing heading to open the dialog box. It should look like this:

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If there is no arrow for the drop-down menu available, then you simply click on Protect Workbook to open your Protect Structure and Windows dialog box:

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If the window that appears looks like the above example, then you are in the right place. There are three options for you to use in this dialog box:

    • Structure

Excel automatically ticks the structure option. This will prevent anyone from deleting or rearranging your workbook in any way. The structure of your workbook will remain as is until you unprotect it and change it yourself. If you do not want to stop people from moving worksheets or arranging them, then uncheck this box.

    • Windows

This setting is designed to protect the layout of your Excel workbook. The windows will remain in the same size and position as you need them every time you open your workbook. If this is what you require, then add a tick next to this check box.

    • Password

The final choice is optional. You are able to create a password that must be entered in order to unprotect the workbook at a later date. Please be sure to use a password that you will not forget. Alternatively, make a clear note of it and store it safely.

Once you have considered these options and instructed Excel in your requirements, go ahead and click OK at the bottom of the dialog box. If you opted to use a password, then Excel will prompt you to confirm it. Again, click on OK:

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Now you have a protected workbook. Spreadsheets will never be changed, moved or deleted. Remember to use the Protect Sheet dialog box if you want to lock cells within your worksheets. When used in conjunction with each other, your workbooks will benefit from absolute security. If you wish to unprotect your workbook, remember to use the same password if you have chosen to use one.