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5 Tips to Keep Secure Excel Files

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Saturday, June 7th, 2014


Microsoft Excel is the most popular spreadsheet application available today. The software was initially created for Windows Operating system but it was also ported successfully to Mac OS at a later stage. Today, Microsoft Excel is the industry standard for spreadsheet applications and forms an important component of Microsoft Office suite. In this article, we will discuss Secure Excel Files tips that will help you to secure your Excel files and spreadsheets.

1. Password Protection

MS Excel makes it easy to password protect your Excel files so that they cannot be viewed or edited by others. The software relies on 128 bit AES encryption to encrypt data which provides a very high level of security to important files and spreadsheets. To password protect your entire workbook with a password, click on File -> Info -> Protect Document and then choose the “Encrypt with Password” option. Once the password window pops up, type an easy to remember password in the password box. Click on OK and then retype the password to confirm the changes. Once an Excel file has been secured with a password, it cannot be opened unless the correct password is entered. However, you also need to remember that Excel doesn’t provide a wayto unlock files if you forget your password.

Apart from password protecting your entire workbook, Excel also allows you to password protect specific worksheets and preserve the structure of the workbook. To password protect the current worksheet, click on File -> Info -> Protect Document, select the “Protect Current Sheet” option and then specify the password. You can also specify a range of editing, formatting, deleting and sorting options here so that other users are able to make changes to the sheet. To preserve the structure of the entire workbook, you can click on File -> Info -> Protect Document, choose “Protect Workbook Structure” and then specify the password. This option allows you to specify whether other users can move, delete or change important data.

2. Restrict Permission by People

As well as securing your Excel file with a password, it is also possible to restrict access to it only to certain users. Select File -> Info -> Protect Document and then click on “Restrict Permissions by people” to restrict access to the file only to authorized people. The user management part is handled by Information Rights Management plus it is also possible to use Windows IDs or Windows accounts to restrict access to the file.

3. Digital Signature

Apart from encrypting and restricting access, you can also preserve Workbook integrity by signing it with a visible or invisible digital signature. To sign an Excel workbook, just click on File -> Info -> Protect Document and then select the “Add a Digital Signature” option.

4. Mark as Final

To prevent others from making changes to an Excel file, you can make the workbook read-only. This also allows you to convey the message that the Excel file is complete and final in all respects and no changes would be made to it at a later stage. To make an Excel file read-only, choose File -> Info -> Protect Document and then click on “Mark as Final” option.

5. Use a Trusted Personal Security Solution

Excel files can also spread viruses and malwares so it is important to secure your system with a reliable anti-virus and firewall programs. Also, make sure to update your security tools on a regular basis so that you remain protected from latest security hacks and exploits.


June 7, 2014
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