How to Save a Workbook With a Password in Excel

by Shawn McClain

Microsoft Excel provides two separate layers of security if you need to lock down your Excel file. The first layer is a simple password that someone would have to enter to access the file. Without the password, the file is useless. The second layer allows anyone to open the file, but prevents changes to the data or layout. You can lock down an entire sheet or only restrict certain aspects of the worksheet, and if someone wants to make changes to the sheet, they have to turn this protection off, which you can password protect.

Password Protect Workbook


Double-click on the Excel document to open it up.


Click on the "File" tab at the top of the screen. Select "Info" from the menu that covers the left side of the window.


Click on the "Protect Workbook" button in the "Permissions" area of the screen. Choose "Encrypt with password" from the list of options. Enter in your desired password and click "OK." Enter the password again to confirm it, and press "OK."

Protect Document Elements


Double-click on the Excel file to open it up. Select the worksheet that you want to protect from the list of worksheets at the bottom of the Excel window.


Select the "Review" tab at the top of the screen. Locate the "Changes" area of the ribbon and select either "Protect Sheet" or "Protect Workbook." Protecting the sheet will allow you to lock down the particular worksheet you are on from any changes. Protecting the workbook will prevent anyone from making changes to the overall design of the document, like adding new worksheets or altering the name of a current worksheet.


Place check marks next to the items that you want to allow people to alter. Anything without a check mark will be locked down. If you chose "Protect Workbook," do the opposite, as a check mark will signify to lock down that aspect of the workbook.


Type in a password into the field at the top of the window. Press "OK" to continue. You will have to enter the same password again, and press "OK" again to lock down the document.


  • check You can remove the worksheet or workbook protection by clicking the "Protect" button again and entering the password. To remove the document password, select the "Protect Workbook" button under the "File" tab again and delete the password in the "Encrypt with password" box.


  • close Write down your password, or choose one you are sure to remember, as Microsoft has no way to recover lost or forgotten passwords.

About the Author

Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.