How to set a workbook password – Excel 2010

How to set a password in Excel 2010

Data security should always be one of your primary concerns when using Excel to handle sensitive company data.  If you ever have to send files across unsecured networks then at the very least you should password protect your Excel 2010 workbook, large companies often use additional encryption software for sensitive data so always follow local IT security policies when it comes to sending data.

In order to password protect your Excel 2010 workbook all you need to do is follow a few simple steps.  My advice is to take a backup copy of your file before you password protect the Excel file, this will save you any embarrassment if something goes wrong like instantly forgetting a password (come on, we’ve all done it!)

With a backup copy made take your Excel file (it must be a file that is already saved) and left click on:

  1. File – found in the top left corner of the screen
  2. Info – found on the left sidebar
  3. Protect Workbook – found in the centre of the main sheet












When you have left clicked on the “Protect Workbook” icon in step 3 you will have an additional menu pop-up on screen with more options.  Select “Encrypt with Password”:








When you have selected “Encrypt with Password” another pop-up box will appear asking you to set a password:






Set your required password.  As is standard practice the recommendation is a mixture of letters, numeric, symbols and upper and lower case.  A password like “apple” should never be used for confidential information, software for password cracking is readily available these days and would crack “apple” in minutes, if you value privacy then select something more complicated.

When you have entered your password it will ask you to re-enter one more time to confirm, if you can it is always advisable to make a note of the Filename and the password, although try to be secure about it:







Re-enter your password, left click OK then YOU MUST SAVE YOUR WORKBOOK.  If you do not save the changes then your password protection will not exist – always save after setting a password.

You have now password protected your Excel 2010 workbook.  The next time someone tries to open your file they will be faced with the pop-up box asking them to enter the password:





Failure to enter a correct password means the file will not open.

Unlike other security systems you can attempt as many times as you like, i.e. if you enter a password incorrectly 3 times it does not have the ability to totally lock down the file, so that emphasizes the point on setting a complicated password if you value the privacy of the information.  However unless your file falls into the hands of someone very keen on seeing the contents and with a solid amount of technical know-how setting an Excel Workbook password should suffice your security needs.

Keep Excelling,

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  1. Pingback: How to make your Excel Workbook Read-Only | Dedicated Excel

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