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How to Encrypt or Protect an Excel File

This tutorial will show you how to encrypt an Excel file so that a password is required to be able to open it.

  1. Open a new or existing Excel workbook.
  2. Select the File tab on the top left-hand corner, and click Save As
  3. After selecting Save As click on Tools, and select General Options from the Tools drop-down
  4. In the General Options pane that will appear on the screen you can enter a password and click OK.

You can enter two different password for different types of permissions.

  • Password to Open refers to the password that can be used to access the document but in read-only mode.
  • Password to Modify refers to the password that can be used to access the document and make changes to it.

It is up to you to decide whether or not to have two different access levels for the Excel file. Note that the passwords can be the same.

Boise State Password Requirements The University requires all computer system passwords to be a minimum of 8 characters in length, expire no more than every 90 days, not contain significant portions of your account name or full name, not be one of the last 10 passwords used, and meet at least 3 of the following additional requirements:

  • Uppercase characters
  • Lowercase characters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters (non-alphanumeric) – excepting the % sign or a ‘blankspace

A password containing at least 3 out of 4 of these criteria is considered valid.

Selecting the Always Create Backup button will have Excel duplicate the file and sync it with the original file.

  1. A similar window will open up asking you to confirm your password. Reenter the password and click OK.
  2. After choosing a file name, select Save.

It is important to note that your Excel file is now encrypted and can only be accessed with a password. If you therefore lose or forget the password the file cannot be accessed.

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