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Protect an Excel file

Protect an Excel file

To prevent others from accessing data in your Excel files, protect your Excel file with a password. 

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Note: This topic covers file-level protection only, and not workbook or worksheet protection. To learn the difference between protecting your Excel file, workbook, or a worksheet, see Protection and security in Excel.

  1. Select File > Info.

  2. Select the Protect Workbook box and choose Encrypt with Password.

  3. Enter a password in the Password box, and then select OK.

  4. Confirm the password in the Reenter Password box, and then select OK.


  • Microsoft cannot retrieve forgotten passwords, so be sure that your password is especially memorable.

  • There are no restrictions on the passwords you use with regards to length, characters or numbers, but passwords are case-sensitive.

  • It’s not always secure to distribute password-protected files that contain sensitive information such as credit card numbers.

  • Be cautious when sharing files or passwords with other users. You still run the risk of passwords them falling into the hands of unintended users. Remember that locking a file with a password does not necessarily protect your file from malicious intent.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Protect a workbook

Protect a worksheet

Protection and security in Excel

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