Securing data is a tiered process with password protection at the bottom level—the file level. It’s a first step effort, but certainly not the only step you should take to protect confidential and proprietary data. Password protecting an Excel workbook at the file level controls access in two ways: It lets a user in, and it lets a user save changes.
In this article, I’ll show you more than just how to password-protect a workbook. You’ll learn what that protection does and doesn’t do for you and how to avoid some gotchas.
I’m using Office 365 Excel (desktop), but you can user earlier versions. There’s no demonstration file—you won’t need one. You can’t add a password to a file open in the browser, nor can you open it in the browser.
Security v. protection
Before we discuss Excel’s password-protection feature, let’s clarify what we mean by security. Although the terms security and protection are bantered about interchangeably, feature-wise in Excel, they aren’t the same thing. Security lets you choose who gets in and by virtue of doing so, who doesn’t. Protection limits users who are already in. Security is about access; protection is about maintaining integrity.
Assign the password.
The first step is to assign a password. You can work with any file, but for our purposes, I suggest a blank workbook instead of an important working file, just in case.
To assign a password to an Excel workbook, do the following :
- From the File menu, choose Save As. In Excel 2007, click the Office button and choose Save As.Under the name and type controls, click More options. (If you’ve suppressed the Backstage area, you’ll skip this step.)
- In the resulting Save As dialog, click the Tools dropdown (to the left of the Save button) and choose General Options.
- In the resulting dialog (Figure A) you can set two passwords: One to open the workbook and one to modify the workbook. Advanced options let you set encryption options.
- Enter one or both passwords and click OK.
- Confirm the password(s) and click OK.
- Click Save.
Three running total expressions for Excel
A running total updates with each new value within a series. We use them to balance accounts, track inventory, and so much more. Fortunately, a simple expression can handle the job, even when a business rule complicates things. In this article, I’ll show you three expressions for implementing a running total.
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I’m using Excel 2016 desktop (Office 365) on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use all three expressions in older versions. In addition, they’re applicable to Excel’s browser version. You can work with your own data or download the demonstration .xlsx and .xls files.