Protecting workbooks is a method where we protect the entire workbook rather than a single sheet, protecting a workbook means protecting the whole structure of the workbook, if a workbook is protected with a password no other user can insert a new sheet or delete any sheet neither they can view the hidden sheets or even change the name of the worksheets in the workbook.
Protect Workbook in Excel
While sending a workbook through an email or transferring it to any removable media there is a risk when the data can be stolen or edited which is not required. Or we want to send a workbook to someone but want them to read-only data but cannot edit them as such. Therefore we can password protect a workbook in excel to avoid any such changes.
How to Password Protect an Excel Workbook?
Now we have learned the importance of protecting workbooks we will learn how to protect them. We can protect some specific cells or can protect the whole worksheet or the whole workbook. The protection is done by a password specified by the user.
The protecting workbook is different from protecting a worksheet. In a worksheet, if we protect a worksheet we cannot make any changes in the specific worksheet but we are able to delete worksheets or even add a new worksheet or we can rename the existing worksheets. So it is advised to protect workbook also after protecting a worksheet. When we protect a workbook in excel we can see that the sheet options are disabled by right clicking on any sheet. Below is a screenshot for an example.
We can see that in table one when the workbook is not protected the sheets options are enabled while when we protect an excel workbook the sheet options are disabled. There is also another method to check whether the given workbook is protected or not.
- Go to Files Tab and click on it.
- Once we click on File tab we can see various options. In the info section, we can see a box to protecting workbook.
It says that the structure of the workbook is locked to prevent any changes.
- If the workbook is not protected the message would be as follows:
Now there is one thing which we need to know first. In earlier versions of excel like in 2010 or before we could minimize or maximize the size of the window of an individual workbook but from excel versions from 2013 and later versions this functionality is not available. While protecting any workbook we get two options to protect an excel workbook.
- Structure: Structure means the integrity of the workbook such as the worksheets. If we protect the structure of a workbook then any other user cannot change the sheet name or delete them or insert a new sheet.
- Windows: This option is disabled by default in Excel 2013 and later versions. While protecting workbook with windows option means any other user cannot change the window size of the protected workbook.
As now excel has disabled the feature of windows from its latest versions we do now need to protect the windows of any workbook.
Earlier we were able to resize the window of any worksheet in excel 2010 and its previous versions like shown in the screenshot below,
But Now we cannot do this in Excel version 2013 or higher. We cannot resize the window of the multiple worksheets. If we minimize the window the whole workbook gets minimized.
Examples of Protecting a Workbook in Excel
Let us learn the methods of protecting excel workbook by example.
First, we will try to protect a workbook in excel as a whole so that nobody can make any change in any of the worksheets or any cells without any password. In this example, I am using excel version 2013 so I will protect the structure of the workbook and then try to change the name of the worksheet 3 which I have named as Anand but I want to change its name to Aran.
This is actually very simple.
1) In the review tab, under changes section click on Protect workbook.
2) A dialog box pops up.
3) We will enter the same password “EDUCBA” to protect our excel workbook and click on OK.
4) It asks us to Re-enter the password and when we click on ok the whole workbook is protected.
5) Now let us see what the original name of sheet 3 was earlier.
6) As we know that the workbook is protected, first try to double click on the sheet name we get the following display message.
7) We can also try to right click on sheet 3 to see if we can change the sheet name by that method.
We can see that the rename option insert delete or move and copy option has been disabled as we have protected the workbook.
8) We can also try to add a new worksheet from the plus sign beside the worksheet named ANAND but we can see that we cannot as the + sign is disabled.
After protecting the structure of the workbook any user cannot do changes in the structure of the protected workbook.
As explained earlier, there are times when we do not the other users to be able to edit the integrity or structure or windows in our workbooks so we protect our workbooks.
Protecting a workbook is different from protecting a worksheet. If we are protecting a worksheet it is necessary to protect the workbook itself too.
Things to Remember
- Protecting excel workbooks is different from protecting worksheets.
- In excel version 2013 and above we can only protect the structure of the workbook as the windows resize option Is disabled in the later versions.
- In excel version 2010 and below we can protect both structure and windows size option as resize is available in the previous versions of Excel.
- It is advised to protect an excel workbook with a password so that any other user cannot unprotect it easily and change the structure of the workbook.
- It is also advised to remember the password as once the password is lost the excel workbook cannot be unprotected again.
This has been a guide to Protect Workbook in Excel. Here we learn how to Protect Workbook in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –