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Protect Excel file with password – Step by step tutorial

Author: Xiaoyang Last Modified: 2023-11-17

When it comes to preserving the integrity and confidentiality of your Excel files, one of the most effective strategies is to protect them with a password. This means that when you open an Excel file, you will need to input a password to access. Password-protecting Excel files not only prevents unauthorized access but also ensures the privacy and security of data in shared spaces. In this tutorial, we'll guide you on how to password-protect your Excel files effectively.

doc protect excel password 1

Password protect an Excel file

Password protect multiple Excel files from opening

Password protection warning

Video: Protect Excel file with password

 Password protect an Excel file 

To prevent others from accessing data or modifying the data in your Excel file, you can set a password to protect the Excel file. Excel offers straightforward methods to encrypt an entire workbook with a password, ensuring restricted access or preventing any alterations to the file.

Password protect an Excel file from opening

Securing an Excel file with a password is a great way to keep your data private. If you'd like to set this up, just follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the Encrypt with Password option

  1. Open the workbook you want to set a password for.
  2. Then, click File > Info, and then, click Protect Workbook button, and select Encrypt with Password in the drop-down list.

Step 2: Set the password for protecting the Excel file

  1. In the popped out Encrypt Document window, enter a password in the Password box, and click OK.
  2. Retype the password in the following Confirm Password window, and click OK.

Step 3: Save the workbook

After setting the password, you should save the file for the password protection to take effect.


Now, every time the workbook is opened, the password will be required.


To remove the encryption from the workbook, you should access the workbook first, then follow the same steps as mentioned above. In the Encrypt Document window, delete the password from the Password box, click OK, and then save your workbook.

Never worry about forgetting passwords again!

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  • Store your passwords into the Password Manager securely.
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Password protect an Excel file from modifying

Suppose you want others to access your Excel file but prevent modifications, even without knowing the password. In that case, you can set your Excel workbook to read-only and protect it with a password. This allows users to view the data without altering it. Let's go through the steps to activate this protective feature.

Step 1: Select the Save As feature

Open the workbook, and then click File > Save As > Browse, see screenshot:

Step 2: Choose General Options

A Save As window will open, give a name to this Excel file into the File name box, and then click General Options from the Tools drop down. See screenshot:
doc protect excel password 6 1

Step 3: Set Password to Read Only

  1. In the General Options dialog box, type a password in the Password to modify text box, and check Read-only recommended option. Then, click OK. See screenshot:
  2. In the next Confirm Password dialog box, enter the password again. And then, click OK to close the dialog.

Step 4: Save the workbook

After clicking OK, Excel will get back to the Save As window, click Save to save this workbook. Now the Excel workbook is both read-only and password-protected.

Step 5: Result (Open Password Protected workbook as Read Only)

  1. From now on, when others open this Excel file, they needn’t type the password, just click Read Only button to access the workbook. See screenshot:
  2. When they try to make changes and save the workbook, a warning message box will appear, reminding to save the workbook with a new name or in a different location. And the original workbook will not be affected. See screenshot:
Tip: Remove Read-only Option and Password

If you want to disable the Read-only recommended option that you previously enabled for an Excel workbook as well as the password, you can follow these steps:

  1. After opening this read-only Excel file, go to File > Save As > Browse.
  2. In the Save As window, click Tools > General Options. In the General Options dialog box, uncheck the Read-only recommended option and click OK. See screenshot:
  3. Then, click Save button, the Excel file will be saved with a new name.
  4. When this newly named workbook is opened next time, a password will not be required, and it will not open as Read-only. You can make changes to the workbook and save it without any restrictions.

Password protect multiple Excel files from opening

When you have multiple Excel files to protect, setting a password for each file individually can be quite tedious and complex. Here, I will introduce you two quick methods to bulk password-protect your Excel files.

Password protect multiple Excel files with just a few clicks by Kutools for Excel

When it comes to managing and protecting multiple Excel files, Kutools for Excel can be an excellent option. Its Encrypt Workbooks feature allows you to protect numerous Excel files with a same password at once, whether they are stored locally or on your OneDrive cloud storage.

After downloading and installing Kutools for Excel, please click Kutools Plus > Encrypt Workbooks > Encrypt Workbooks to enable this feature. Then follow the below steps:

  1. Click Add button to select the Excel files that you want to password-protect. (Either from your local computer or OneDrive cloud) All selected files are added and listed into the list box;
  2. Type a password into the Use the following password textbox;
  3. Click OK to protect these Excel files.
    doc protect excel password 13 1
  1. To apply this feature, please click to download and install it first.
  2. To remove the password from these Excel files, please click Kutools Plus > Encrypt Workbooks > Decrypt Workbooks. In the Decrypt Workbooks dialog box, add the Excel files you want to remove the password, then, type the password to decrypt the workbooks.

Password protect multiple Excel files with VBA code

In the following steps, I will provide you with a VBA code that allows you to protect multiple Excel files with the same password:

Step 1:Open the VBA module editor and copy the code

  1. Hold down the ALT + F11 keys in Excel, and it opens the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.
  2. Click Insert > Module, and paste the following code in the Module Window.
    VBA code: password protect multiple Excel files
    Sub ProtectAll()
        'Update by Extendoffice
        Dim xWorkBooks As Workbook
        Dim xExitFile As String
        Dim xPassWord As Variant
        Dim xStrPath As String
        Dim xFileDialog As FileDialog
        Dim xFile As String
        On Error Resume Next
        Set xFileDialog = Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogFolderPicker)
        xFileDialog.AllowMultiSelect = False
        xFileDialog.Title = "Select a folder [Kutools for Excel]"
        If xFileDialog.Show = -1 Then
            xStrPath = xFileDialog.SelectedItems(1)
        End If
        If xStrPath = "" Then
            MsgBox "No folder selected. The process has been canceled.", vbExclamation, "Kutools for Excel"
            Exit Sub
            xStrPath = xStrPath + "\"
        End If
        ' Check if there are Excel files in the selected folder
        xFile = Dir(xStrPath & "*.xls*")
        If xFile = "" Then
            MsgBox "No Excel files found in the selected folder.", vbExclamation, "Kutools for Excel"
            Exit Sub
        End If
        xPassWord = Application.InputBox("Enter password", "Kutools for Excel", , , , , , 2)
        If (xPassWord = False) Or (xPassWord = "") Then
            MsgBox "Password cannot be blank!", vbInformation, "Kutools for Excel"
            Exit Sub
        End If
        On Error Resume Next
        Application.ScreenUpdating = False
        Do While xFile <> ""
            Set xWorkBooks = Workbooks.Open(xStrPath & xFile)
            Application.DisplayAlerts = False
            xWorkBooks.SaveAs Filename:=xWorkBooks.FullName, Password:=xPassWord
            Application.DisplayAlerts = True
            xWorkBooks.Close False
            Set xWorkBooks = Nothing
            xFile = Dir
        Application.ScreenUpdating = True
        MsgBox "Successfully protect!", vbInformation, "Kutools for Excel"
    End Sub  

Step 2: Execute the code to password protect all Excel files in a folder

  1. After pasting this code, please press F5 key to run this code. A Select a folder window will appear, select a folder which contains the workbooks that you want to protect with a password. Then, click OK. see screenshot:
  2. In the following prompt box, enter a password for protecting workbooks. And then, click OK.
  3. After finishing the protection, a prompt box will pop out to remind you all workbooks in the selected folder have been successfully protected, see screenshot:

To remove the encryption from a workbook, you should access the workbook first. And then, click File > Info > Protect Workbook > Encrypt with Password. In the Encrypt Document window, delete the password from the Password box, click OK, and then save your workbook.

Password protection warning:

  • Remember Your Password: Excel does not provide an option to recover the password if you forget it. If you forget the password you set on an Excel file, you might not be able to open the file again. Thus, remembering your password or securely storing it somewhere safe is crucial.
  • Case Sensitivity: Excel passwords are case-sensitive, so be careful when setting or inputting the password.

This is how you can protect an Excel or multiple Excel files with password. If you're interested in exploring more Excel tips and tricks, our website offers thousands of tutorials, please click here to access them. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to providing you with more helpful information in the future!

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  • Set password to protect hidden sheet
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  • Lock and protect cells in Excel
  • In Excel, it's common to protect all cells from being modified by others. Sometimes, you may only need to protect specific cells or formula cells that shouldn't be changed, while allowing other cells to be edited or modified, as shown in the screenshot below. In this tutorial, we'll introduce quick methods for tackling these tasks in Excel.
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